As a substantial advance on what had gone before it’s interesting enough in itself. In mid-1965 Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane had pinched the riff from Solomon Burke’s Everybody Needs Somebody to Love but needed someone to supply the words for what subsequently became Whatcha Gonna Do About It, and about twelve months later they’ve got that first Small Faces album. Run things on another twelve months and you’re looking at a much more experimental approach rather than a continued mining of the R&B vein.

Looking at it from a twenty-first century perspective, there’s probably not that much that’s really remarkable here. Fourteen fairly short tracks, half an hour’s playing time. If someone whacked this out at full price in 2012 you’d certainly feel you were being short changed. As far as the actual contents go, most of it works pretty well, which is what you’d expect given a lead vocalist like Steve Marriott.

Actually, that’s the point, isn’t it? There weren’t too many vocalists like Marriott, so the project gets a substantial head start in the vocal department.

Not everything works as well as it might have done, of course. The opening track, (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me is a bit overwrought lyrically. It’s one of those I know your face, but I can’t place it, so do you recognise me? situations that comes across a little clumsily (like that explanation). The work, for mine, of someone finding his lyrical feet.

Much of the rest, Something I Want To Tell You (no surprises as to the contents of the desired message), Things Are Going To Get Better (Really? Who’d have thought?), Become Like YouGet Yourself Together and Talk To You are pretty much as per the track title, but scattered through the contents there are a couple of little gems.

My Way Of Giving (It’s all part of my way of giving and I’m giving it all to you) mightn’t be the greatest lyrical theme you’ve encountered, but it works a bit better than (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me did, and Green Circles runs around in a pleasantly psychedelic manner.

The first of the album’s real gems comes in the quite lovely All Our Yesterdays (though your mileage may vary as far as the Cockney intro from Mr Marriott is concerned, I reckon it gets old fairly quickly). Wonderful little Ronnie Lane vocal, quite charming.

Better still is Ian McLagan’s Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire, which is where things veer off into psychedelia again, even if they are (at least this is the way I’m inclined to interpret things) climbing the stairs so the protagonist can retire for the night.

Finally, as far as the original content is concerned, the calypso tinged Eddie's Dreaming

(Eddie being trumpeter Eddie “Tan Tan” Thornton, who toured with the band as well as working with the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Georgie Fame and Jimi Hendrix), not quite psychedelia, but definitely working into the sphere of herbal enhancement, brings things to a pleasant conclusion.

From that twenty-first century perspective, of course, an album where nothing runs over three minutes and several don’t make it to two suggests the buyer’s being shortchanged. The buyer could, perhaps point to Elvis Costello’s Get Happy! with a See? Twenty tracks! It can be done, but that was a decade later and a numeric generosity that raised quite a few eyebrows at the time.

Padding things out, of course, explains the repetition and the bonus tracks thrown in, but if you’re going to make an objective assessment and fit into the milieu operating at the time, you’d probably say it’s an interesting exercise with hints of the greatness to come on Ogdens.

At the price I paid (a tad under twelve dollars just over a year ago) close to a no brainer. Currently unavailable through Fishpond, $14.99 from Amazon and $19.99 for a slightly different package at iTunes, and I’d probably have shelled that out if the el cheapo Fishpond option hadn’t been there...

File under: Signs of things to come.

© Ian Hughes 2012