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Five Guys Walk Into A Bar... (4CD) Box set, Original recording remastered, Best of
|Price:||CDN$ 60.84 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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From 1969 to 1975 the Faces - Rod Stewart, Ian McLagan, Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, and Kenney Jones - played their loose and joyful blues and soul-inflected rock 'n' roll with reckless abandon, consummate skill, and immeasurable charm. For those few years they were arguably the greatest band on the planet, and their influence has resonated ever since through the music of countless acts, from the Sex Pistols to The Replacements to The Black Crowes, and on and on. After the Faces dissolved in 1975, Stewart went on to solo superstardom, Wood to the Stones, Jones to The Who, McLagan to world - class session work and his own recordings, and Lane to acclaimed solo projects before he succumbed to multiple sclerosis in 1997. Greater than the sum of its parts, the Faces made now - immortal music for which there will never, ever be a last call.
England's Faces (1970-1975) wound up playing stadiums, but they always had a compact, pub-band feel. They were proud boozers, tuning up wasn't a major obsession, and Rod Stewart (in pre-disco prime) always sounded like he'd sung himself hoarse the night before. They kept the mood light, but ensemble work was deceptively tight, thanks to drummer Kenney Jones (later Keith Moon's replacement in the Who) and guitarist Ron Wood (post-Jeff Beck, pre-Stones), who'd switch between raunchy lead and raunchy rhythm roles between beats. Wood's blues-drenched slide work snuffed most of his rock competition, and helped define the band's wiry sound. But Faces offered more than teapot blues. Tuneful bassist Ronnie Lane's sweet voice and countryish melodies--think "Ooh La La," revived as the movie Rushmore's closing theme--both lightened and deepened the texture. Keyboardist Ian McLagan picked and sequenced 67 tracks, programming them out of chronological order, to flow like concert sets. Included are abundant rarities--out-takes, b-sides, rehearsals, BBC-broadcast excerpts--including live takes of songs Faces recorded under Stewart's name, like "Gasoline Alley" and "Maggie May." (A few tunes are heard in live and studio versions.) It's a very good selection of music that wears remarkably well. --Kevin Whitehead
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Top Customer Reviews
To the music...one word describes it Awesome. The bulk of this set is unreleased material with some live performances thrown in for good measure. The remastering is generaly superb (there are a couple of tracks that were recorded on cassette). If you like the Stones, Black Crowes and good bluesy/rock this is for you. This band has been overlooked for years and they are now shown as to how wonderful they were. The guitar work of Ron Wood and vocals of Rod Stewart are exceptional. The Rod Stewart you hear is not the "disco" or the "Perry Como" Rod, but Rod the "MOD" who had one of the best voices in rock at the time. If you are familiar with his first three solo albums you will know of what I speak. Hugely recommended!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This set does not follow the standard chronological order of many box sets and does not fall prey to the expanded greatest hits package either. The tracklist was put together by Ian McLagan himself. Although the song order may seem a bit disjointed at first; it really keeps the listener interested and the music flowing quite well. No need to go into details about the band itself, because chances are if you're reading this you are already a Faces fan. A fan who wishes there was more Faces music out there for consumption. A fan who wishes Rod Stewart would "rock" again. A fan who hopes Ronnie Wood would quit posing and crank out the guitar again.
Well this set answers at least one of those wishes in a big way.
Don't let the price scare you off, you can not take the $$$$$$$ with you anyway. So add it to your cart and don't look back. you will not regret it!
One last thing...for a Faces "newcomer", you're best bet is to purchase the single disc album, "The Best Of Faces: Good Boys When They're Asleep". If after a few listens of that disc, you want more, then opt for this box. Some of the studio jams and very raw rehearsal tracks (borderline bootleg quality) on this four disc set might be a little much for the casual Faces listener. All in all the best box I've purchased all summer!
Because of Rod Stewart's great success as a solo artist, the Faces always seemed like the other place to go to hear his music, and not the main event. But this box set puts it all in perspective. This was not Rod Stewart's band at all. It was Ron Wood's.
Hearing all this music in one place, you are overwhelmed with his unbelievably great guitar playing--perhaps the most creative guitar in rock. He does it all: Riffs, rhythm, solos, bottleneck, and on a few cuts playing completely by himself for stretches of intense expressiveness, like a dog howling at the moon. When he's called upon to be tender (like on many of Ronnie Lane's excellent songs like "Richmond" and "Debris"), Wood is like a painter. But he's also the driving force in hard rocking songs like "Miss Judy's Farm" and "Stay With Me." He never wastes a note!
Where is this Ron Wood now? He has been absorbed into the Rolling Stones, but I cannot think of one lick in any of the Stones' songs from the Ron Wood era where this amazing creative force gets a chance to breathe free. The Stones are Keith's show, and Wood does...what? Play a nondescript solo here and there, or play second rhythm guitar behind Keith's riffing. Don't get me wrong, Keith is great, too. But Ron Wood's talent is going to waste. After nearly 30 years, I wonder if he could even do this anymore.
The image of the Faces as a sloppy band is also put to rest when you hear all the live cuts. I know, I know, the Replacements and other punk-era bands call the Faces their model. Sorry, you guys. You couldn't keep up with this band for five minutes. The musicianship across the board is just too high.
All told, this is a glorious testament to one of the best bands of the early seventies. Produced and compiled by Faces' keyboardist Ian McLagan and dedicated to bassist Ronnie Lane, this is a labor of love from start to finish. While Rod Stewart was the focal point of the band, it was Lane who was the band's heart and soul. Lane wrote or co-wrote a third of the tracks, including classics like "Debris," "Last Orders Please," "You're So Rude" and perhaps my favorite Faces' song, "Ooh La La."
In addition to the terrific music, the 64-page booklet is packed with photos, track-by-track info, a complete discography, an essay by David Fricke, and testamonials by artists as diverse as the Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock, Slash and Rich Robinson, whose band The Black Crowes was greatly influenced by the Faces. There is also a touching tribute to Lane written by McLagan.
This box set serves as a reminder of just how great a rock 'n' roll band the Faces were. Even if you already own their four studio albums, this is a must-have purchase. [Running time: Disc 1 - 77:43, Disc 2 - 79:12, Disc 3 - 74:26, Disc 4 - 76:30] VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
The packaging is top-notch. Great reading material, some of it penned by Face Ian McLagen. The track presentation is wonderful - the discs are not segregated by material, but instead the tracks are mixed so that newly-available tracks are interspersed among the songs we know and love...the over-all feel is like a concert; you never know what is coming next, but you know it will be great. The box-set credits include "Box Set Produced by Ian McLagen" and I believe that this box-set could only come from the hand of an insider. Left to their own, record-company execs would probably have produced a slick yet soulless greatest hits package...this, on the other hand, is an inside job put together in part by a man who knows his music, his band, and his fans.
I frequently hear the word "sloppy" as a descriptor of the Faces. "Sloppy," to some, carries connotations of laziness, lack of ability, shoddy workmanship. What I hear in the Faces is camaraderie, looseness, a true feel for the music and the fans...fueled in part by booze, perhaps, and a healthy dose of "bugger-off" to the stodgy and up-tight, but never lacking in ability, sincerity, and fun.
By the way, the music survived and survives the Faces untimely demise. Check out McLagen's recent "Rise and Shine" and "Best of British," Ronnie Wood's "Not for Beginners," "Slide on This," and "Slide on Live," and all of the late Ronnie Lane's albums. Better yet, come to Austin and join Mac and the Bump Band live or catch them on tour.
I was lucky enough to see Faces a couple of months after "Maggie May" was first released (Boston Common 8/71) and have never forgotten what an incredible live band they were. If you were around at that time, lucky you, you caught one of the greatest working bands ever; if not, grab a copy of this set to catch up on what you missed.
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