5. Tin Soldier - The Small Faces

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tin Soldier

One of the developments that influenced the music that was played and heard over the past fifty or so years was the change away from a music industry where the direction that music took was largely determined by professionals to one where the consumers (the people) were driving decisions about what was heard and played.

That’s the key point in the keynote essay in a book by Ian MacDonald called The People’s Music

The late Ian MacDonald, journalist, songwriter and record producer, produced some of the most literate discussions of twentieth-century music I’ve read. The People’s Music collects articles from a variety of sources, discussing artists as diverse as John Fahey, the Beatles, Cream and the Supremes. The final chapter Exiled From Heaven: The Unheard Message of Nick Drake is particularly noteworthy. Although Paul McCartney takes issue with a number of MacDonald’s assertions in Revolution In The Head: The Beatles Records and the Sixties the book is essential reading for anyone who wants to delve into the minutiae of the Beatles’ catalogue.  MacDonald is also the author of The New Shostakovich, a work on which I am completely unqualified to comment.

Nit-pickers won’t necessarily agree with some of the points MacDonald makes there, and an initial look at the title of the book would lead one to suspect that what is being discussed is some form of folk music, probably written by someone with a leaning towards the political Left.

The next couple of themes/tracks tie into this development in some way, so it’s possibly worth looking at MacDonald’s article in some depth so that we’ve got a framework to see how these tracks fit into a broader flow of ideas and music. 

First, we’re looking at the emergence of small groups that were, reasonably, self contained. There are any number of other bands I could choose as the example apart from The Small Faces, but Tin Soldier in my mind, being one of the classics of blue-eyed soul, links back to the previous article and other bands who could be slotted in here will get a guernsey further down the track as other matters come under consideration.


B© Ian Hughes 2012