It’s Time To Enshrine The Faces!

So nice to see that Madonna is now a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum – now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to some serious business.  Like placing the great Faces in the Hall of Fame.

The Faces rocked the late 1960s and early 1970s like no one else, including the Rolling Stones.  First known as the Small Faces, the core group of keyboardist Ian McLagan, bassist Ronnie Lane and drummer Kenney Jones found themselves at a crossroads when lead singer Steve Marriott left the group.

Salvation came in the form of two new members: guitarist Ron Wood and singer Rod Stewart.  So in 1970 the Small Faces became simply the Faces, and they came on like a bunch of rowdy boozers who just happened to be great musicians.  With Lane (and sometimes McLagan) the group already had strong songwriting, but Stewart and Wood contributed some great numbers too, like the classic “Stay With Me.”

The trouble was Stewart also had a concurrent solo career going, and although the Faces played on some of his solo songs Rod’s fame soon eclipsed the Faces.  The band itself wasn’t nearly as successful, and the ensuing hard feelings eventually caused a breakup.

Just take a listen to any Faces – you can start with their best album, A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse.  Just about any place you jump in, there’s a party goin’.  You can argue, too, that this was truly Rod Stewart’s greatest period.  So why ain’t these boys in the Hall of Fame?

If you are in or around the Austin area, you can still get a healthy dose of prime Faces by catching a performance of Ian McLagan’s Bump Band.  “Mac” still plays free happy hours (at the Lucky Lounge, next door to Antone’s) and will happily take requests for Faces songs, although don’t ask him to perform any by “Big Nose” (guess who).  McLagan keeps alive the spirit and songs of Ronnie Lane, who died in 1997.  “Spiritual Babe” is from a recent Bump Band CD dedicated to Lane and his music, Spiritual Boy.

McLagan – who has also played with the Stones, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen among many others – has a crack band including ace guitarist Scrappy Jud Newcomb and bassist Mark Andes, who should also be in the Hall of Fame (he’s a former member of JoJo Gunne, Heart, Firefall and ‘60s psychedelic masters Spirit).  They also tour the country occasionally; catch them if you can because they’re great.  The Bumpsters have a new album out, Never Say Never – if you order it off McLagan’s website he’ll even autograph it for you. 

In 2005 the Bump Band played Houston’s Continental Club the same night the Rolling Stones were in town, and guess who showed up: Ron Wood, who brought along everybody in the Stones not named Mick, Keith or Charlie.  At one point the Bump Band had onstage Wood with singers Blondie Chaplin (Beach Boys) and Bernard Fowler, while Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers) and Ivan Neville (Neville Brothers) stood close by.  Man, that’s a lot of rock history in one place.  Kind of like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – where the Faces ought to be.

MP3: Miss Judy’s Farm (live)

MP3: Maybe I’m Amazed (live)

MP3: Stay With Me (live)

MP3: You’re So Rude (live) by Ian McLagan & the Bump Band

MP3: Spiritual Babe (live) by Ian McLagan & the Bump Band

Ian McLagan official website

Mac’s Pages

One Response to “It’s Time To Enshrine The Faces!”

  1. ameripol Says:

    I agree completely, totally and a bit more. I’ve written my congressman. (but he said quote?) Sometime last year, NPR did an interview with some of the Faces that was great, had me laughing, reliving songs and wondering why they aren’t all dead. I hope it’s still up in their archives. Look it up. RnR Hall of Fame, are you there?

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