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From the Beginning (Remastered)

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Album Review

The Small Faces split from manager Don Arden to sign with Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label and, in retaliation, Decca and Arden rounded up the remaining recordings the group made for the label and released them as From the Beginning. Appearing just months before their Immediate debut — entitled The Small Faces, just like their first album for Decca — From the Beginning includes early version of "My Way of Giving" and "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me," and it reprises songs that were on the 1966 Decca LP ("Sha La La La Lee," "What'cha Gonna Do About It"), moves that muddy an already confusing situation. And From the Beginning really doesn't play as a cohesive album by any stretch of the imagination, as it opens with a burst of burgeoning psychedelia then doubles back to the group's early R&B, flaws that matter less as years pass by because, on a track by track basis, there is a lot of wondrous material here. Like many of their peers, the Small Faces began to dabble in LSD in 1967, and their sonic horizons broadened considerably, something that is evident on "My Mind's Eye," "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," and "That Man," swirling songs that hint at the band's developing pop inclinations without abandoning their hard R&B underpinning. Other songs — "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me," "All or Nothing,"" "My Way of Giving" — arrive at the midway point between the psych-pop and Mod R&B, just as the Immediate Small Faces LP would just a few weeks later, and these are nervy, energetic gems that find a nice counterpart with the pure soul songs bunched at the end. It's an odds-and-ends record to be sure, but From the Beginning offers too much top-notch material to be dismissed; in fact, in many ways, it's a flawed gem from the swinging '60s. [Universal's double-disc 2012 deluxe edition of From the Beginning contains the mono mix of From the Beginning and adds the B-sides "Almost Grown," "Understanding," and "I Can't Dance with You," plus the "I Can't Make It"/"Just Passing" single to the first disc, while the second disc rounds up 16 alternate takes, stereo mixes (including some electronically processed stereo mixes), and backing tracks.]


Formed: 1965 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Small Faces were the best English band never to hit it big in America. Outside Europe, all anybody remembers them for is their sole hit, "Itchycoo Park," which was hardly representative of their psychedelic sound, much less their full musical range -- but in England, Small Faces were one of the most extraordinary and successful bands of the mid-'60s, serious competitors to the Who and potential rivals to the Rolling Stones. Lead singer/guitarist Steve Marriott's formal background was on the stage;...
Full Bio