5 1/2 reasons why The Faces are the best band ever.
1. Faces – Stay With Me (1972)
“Stay With Me” is in the Kool-Aid Man Hall of Fame and a fail-safe asshole test. Play this song for anyone between the ages of 25-65 and at least two beers in their system. If they’re appropriately socialized, they’ll be cannonballing into the hot tub at “red lips, hair, and fingernails.” If they remain unmoved, as if The Faces were mere soundtrack music to their private drama … asshole. Keep stepping.
2. Rod Stewart – Gasoline Alley (1970)
Welcome to Rod Stewart 40 years ago. He’s not preening, not showboating, just gutting out the lyrics like a British David Ruffin. Within four years, he’ll be an unwatchable aerobics instructor and a multi-millionaire. What do I know?
3. Faces – Dust My Broom/Twistin’ The Night Away (1974)
The upside here is formidable. The band, including Keith Richards on smokin’ lead guitar, sounds great and Rod has rarely sounded better. Plus, anytime you can get Ian MacLagan playing boogie-woogie piano, you’re in good hands. On the downside, the video quality is poor (sorry about that) and Ronnie Lane isn’t on bass (he quit in 1973). So, it’s as much a Rod Stewart solo gig as it is a Faces gig, and after too much exposure to Rod’s ass and nipples, I’m now blind after scooping my eyes out with a trident. Eh, I had a good run with vision. Think Rod’s Jagger-esque “notice me” histrionics and Lane’s departure were unrelated events? Yeah, me either.
4. Faces – Maybe I’m Amazed (1971)
This Paul McCartney cover is probably the best showcase of The Faces as a band. Kenney Jones, Ronnie Lane, and Ian McLagan don’t get the pub of other rhythm sections from the rock heyday of 1967-74 … and Ronnie Wood was as much as rhythm guitar player as he was lead … but how many would you rather see live in their heyday? That’s gotta be a short list.
5. Faces – Richmond (1971)
If Rod Stewart gave The Faces soul, Ronnie Lane gave them heart. Current discussions of a “Faces reunion” conveniently dismiss this fact. Stewart and Wood can sing all the Faces songs they want, but unless we exhume Ronnie Lane and give him creative input, it ain’t The Faces. It’s “Rod and Ron sing Faces songs.” Which is fine, just call it that.
The contrast between Stewart’s gutbucket soul and Lane’s country cool is evident in this video, a swaying blues that’s a real rarity. There’s not much video footage of Lane leading his own band, but here he sings and doubles on bottleneck slide, with Wood on dobro, and Stewart on standup bass. Word.
6. Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance – Ooh La La (1974)
God bless Ronnie Lane and every damn word of this song, which is so true it borders on journalism. Yeah, I know Ron Wood is the co-writer, but Lane’s remorseful fingerprints are all over it. Interestingly, Ronnie lived in Austin, TX, from 1984-94 and this Slim Chance version is a virtual template for The Gourds, with accordion, mandolin, and funky Texas heartbreak.