5 Stars *****
After the first song, ‘Miss Judy’s Farm’, a great fat slab of Rock ‘n’
Roll from the combined pen of Stewart/Wood, giving the band a chance to stretch
their wings, next up is one of Ronnie Lane’s most amusing and rascally songs,
‘You’re So Rude’, basically just a cleverly played twelve bar stomper, but
for this dog it is the lyrics that steal the day, opening up with...
“My Mum She likes you, she thinks your swell,
Got the makin’s of a Dance Hall Girl,
Your low-cut frock and your Bird’s nest Hair,
Stiletto heels and the way that you swear,
She says to take you back to see my folks again on Sunday,
Why it looks as though there’s nobody in,
They’ve all gone out to see my Auntie Renee.”
I say be fair. Does that not bring a smile to the old
laughing gear? Beautifully the band follows this with an emotional ballad
‘Love Lives Here’. The haunting organ chords from Ian McLagen prove that he
knows exactly when to stick to the piano or when to bring out the Hammond Organ.
About knocking down old homes and the memories that go with them, Rod Stewart
has never sung better.
‘Last Orders’ by Ronnie Lane is a cruising, bluesing pub
song about the misunderstanding between the sexes.
Then it is ‘Stay With Me’ time. The hit single from the
album is about as Faces as you can get. One of the best lads songs ever written.
The entire band plays their collective hearts out, with everybody being given
solo space as the song is brought to a thunderous conclusion at the end of its
four and a half minute run. The sort of thing head banging was invented for. But
still it is the lyrics that add wit and soul to the proceedings. Just before the
band goes wild, Rod sings out...
“So, in the mornin’, please don’t say you love me,
‘Cause you know I’ll only kick you out the door,
Yeah, I’ll pay your cab fare home,
You can even use my best cologne,
Just don’t be here in the mornin’ when I wake up.”
Pace-wise, the foot is taken off the peddle for four and a
half minutes for Ronnie Lane to sing his classic homage to growing up and
becoming famous while leaving others behind, and to the duties that come with
But from here on out it is pure barnstorming Faces style good
time music. A romp through Chuck’s ‘Memphis’ with some truly magnificent
slide from Woody, the delights of being evicted from your own party ‘Too
Bad’, and the perfect closer in ‘That’s All You Need’. The latter two
Stewart/Wood compositions bring it all round in a circle in the style of ‘Miss
Of course it couldn’t last. After one more chart topping
album (‘Ohh La La’ April 1975) Ronnie Lane left. Although he was replaced,
it was never the same. As Rod Stewart gained more and more of the spotlight,
tension mounted, but it was the other Ronnie who left first. He joined ‘The
Rolling Stones’ as Mick Taylor’s replacement, and eventually took Ian
McLagan with him. Kenny Jones went on to the unenviable position of replacing
Keith Moon in ‘The Who’, and, of course, Rod Stewart went onto solo
superstardom. However, to these old ears none of them ever reached this peak
As they say ‘A Nod’s As Good As A Wink To A Blind
Horse’. And if that is not enough for you, you could try their greatest hits
album, which was released in 2001 ‘Good Boys Whilst We Are Asleep’. It
collects the best from all four albums plus assorted hit singles, but
fortunately nothing from their dreadful live album ‘Coast to Coast’, which
was recorded on their last tour of America, and did not find the Band on a good
night. A dreadful shame really, as the period that this album comes from they
were one of the best live Rock ‘n’ Roll band in the world.