Small Faces – Live 1966, Historic Recording Officially Available For First Time
by Geoff Ford
Here comes the Nice! Kenney Jones, legendary drummer with the Small Faces, Faces and The Who has announced the launch of his own brand new independent record label, Nice Records, through which he plans to issue previously unreleased rare and exclusive recordings spanning his music career.
First up for the new label is the release of an historic Small Faces live recording taken directly from Kenney’s own archive. Small Faces – Live 1966 is available to stream or download now across all major UK and EU digital platforms. CD and 180g heavyweight coloured vinyl 2LP formats, plus a 1000-copy website exclusive coloured vinyl 2LP with alternate cover artwork print signed by Kenney Jones, are available to pre-order now via the official Small Faces website www.thesmallfaces.com
“I am so pleased there is a record of us performing at this time,” says Kenney of Small Faces – Live 1966. “We were a great live act then and even though we started to have hits, our live act was never the same again. This gig is really what the Small Faces were all about.”
Following recent exciting vault discoveries unearthed in various countries across the globe, together with unreleased material found tucked away in Kenney’s attic archive, a series of further new album releases are already in the advanced planning stages and being put together right now by Kenney and his Nice Records team. These will feature unreleased and rare Small Faces material plus much sought-after music from a variety of associated acts.
Small Faces – Live 1966 is taken direct from Kenney’s own archive and features the very earliest known live concert recording of this iconic English band at the height of their powers, playing two blistering live sets at the Twenty Club in Mouscron, Belgium on 9th January 1966. Whilst a number of these live tracks have previously circulated in lesser quality amongst collectors in recent years as an unauthorised CD recording, included with a book on the band, this is the first time that fans will be able to hear both the band’s full matinee and evening shows as recorded on the night by the Twenty Club. Along with as familiar favourites, the album also includes tracks never recorded by the band in the studio. The recordings are all now fully restored by Tosh Flood and newly mastered by Nick Robbins who have worked on all previous acclaimed Small Faces remasters projects for Immediate and Decca Records.
Following the EU’s ruling on music copyright for previously unreleased recordings (commonly referred to in the industry as the ‘use it or lose it’ rule) Kenney Jones is seizing the initiative, taking steps to release this and future Nice Records albums in order to safeguard his body of work spanning his entire career. He is on a mission to ‘beat the bootleggers’ in one of the first examples of its kind in the modern 21st Century music industry, as well as ensuring band members and their dependents receive the royalties to which they are rightfully due.
“It’s great to launch Nice Records and to be able to take back control of the Small Faces products and recordings. I have assembled a first class team who understand the importance of the Small Faces legacy,” Kenney Jones said.
“Kenney has set up Nice Records to ensure the artists – and their dependents – get paid for their recordings as opposed to the many companies that have sprung up recently to exploit the ‘use it or lose it’ EU ruling for previously unreleased material over 50 years that is now deemed to be in the public domain,” added Small Faces archivist and reissue producer Rob Caiger.
“He is following Frank Zappa’s brilliant initiative, taken on by bands such as the Stones, to beat the bootleggers and give control back to the musicians. In this case, we think Kenney is the first artist to exploit the current EU ruling for the benefit of the artists.
“We want to do this properly. There is still previously unreleased material locked away in archives because record companies can’t, or won’t, release it, as well as material that labels lost or never got from the artist in the first place. In Kenney’s case, he has been diligently looking after session and live tapes he has played on from the Small Faces onwards. As some will know, as well as his work with the Small Faces, Faces and The Who, Kenney played on countless sessions by other artists, particularly during his time recording at Olympic Studios in London. Kenney usually got a copy of the tape and in many cases, he was the source for the only surviving copy of the masters, as he was when we put together the Small Faces remaster series.
“We were a great live act. This gig is what the Small Faces were all about.” Kenney Jones
“When I started breaking open his old Faces flight-cases in 2007, I found all these unbelievable treasures, a goldmine of unreleased and live material spread across dozens of sessions, multitrack and master reels by artists with whom he played and not just confined to the Immediate Records stable. There is a great tradition of drummers being the member of the band that just archives everything and Kenney has done that tradition proud!
“The two performances featured on this new Small Faces – Live 1966 album are different to the releases that exploit the so-called loophole around things like radio broadcasts of live gigs and sessions. Both shows were properly recorded by the venue, using on-stage microphones, except they never told the band or got permission. When we listened to the recording in Kenney’s archive, it was obvious there were issues with things like pitch and speed which needed correcting. So, we did that and restored two 55-year-old live gigs to the best quality they could possibly be. It really is the only way you’ll hear how incredible the Small Faces were at this early stage of their career.
“All we then had to do was move quickly and release digitally across all online platforms in order to establish copyright, with physical versions following soon after.”
“It’s very important to me that the royalties received go to the right people, “Jones adds. “My bandmates are sadly no longer with us and I feel a duty to make sure the recordings are treated with the upmost respect and that their families are not forgotten.”
Small Faces formed in East London in 1965 and, by January 1966, their line-up was Steve Marriott (vocals/guitar), Ronnie Lane (bass), Kenney Jones (drums) and Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan, who had replaced Jimmy Winston on keyboards. Together, they shared a passion for US R&B music and enjoyed great chart success with eight UK Top 10 singles, including their classic 1966 No.1 hit All Or Nothing and spent six weeks at No.1 in the album chart with their ground-breaking 1968 psychedelic rock masterpiece LP Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake.
Whist the Small Faces were influential on both mod and punk scenes alike, with Paul Weller, John Lydon and David Bowie amongst many to have pledged their allegiance, Small Faces – Live 1966 also demonstrates just how much they influenced the fledgling rock scene in general.
The young Robert Plant was known to be a fan and attended several Small Faces gigs. These live recordings include the Small Faces version of Willie Dixon’s You Need Loving. Some three years later and Plant was now vocalist with Led Zeppelin who would take the world by storm with Whole Lotta Love, based on Dixon’s song and subsequently recognised as such in an out-of-court settlement.
Plant has previously agreed that his vocal was a rip-off of Steve Marriott’s and there is further evidence, notably on the medley Plum Nellie, just how much Plant’s vocal style was influenced by the Small Faces. Thus, the Small Faces had influenced, what would become, the most influential rock band in the world through the seventies.
Despite the considerable efforts of the Nice Records team, there are still a couple of rough edges to these recordings but they add to the authentic charm of the set. Overall sound is very good for a live recording from 1966. They capture the energy of a band who were clearly ahead of their time and would play such an important part in music to follow.
The band were awarded the prestigious Ivor Novello Outstanding Contribution To British Music in 1996, also later inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (in 2012).
Whilst the single CD format is set for release on 3rd September 2021, the Small Faces Shop will ship all pre-orders of the signed coloured vinyl 2LP edition in October 2021, ahead of release of the standard coloured vinyl 2LP format on 5th November 2021. Each coloured vinyl 2LP format of Small Faces – Live 1966 is strictly limited in number and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Both vinyl & CD formats include previously unseen archive band images from the period by photographer Tony Gale, plus in-depth sleeve notes by Martin Payne, including a new interview with Kenney Jones.
SIDE ONE (early show)
Ooh Poo Pah Doo
You Need Loving
Plum Nellie (Medley: Baby Please Don’t Go; Parchman Farm Blues; Land Of 1,000 Dances)
SIDE TWO (early show)
What’Cha Gonna Do About It
Comin’ Home Baby
E Too D
SIDE THREE (late show)
Come On Children
Grow Your Own
Please, Please, Please
SIDE FOUR (late show)
You Need Loving
Comin’ Home Baby
E Too D
What’Cha Gonna Do About It