In March 1970 Faces, three former members of Small Faces joined by guitarist Ron Wood & singer Rod Stewart from the Jeff Beck Group, released “First Step”, their debut album. Just three months later “Gasoline Alley”, Rod’s second solo album, with significant contributions from all of his new group, hit the shops, a more confident, more fully realised record than “First Step” which, according for the North American market had Small Faces on the cover! This, Faces still finding their feet in the studio & growing recognition of their singer complicated things. On the 15th of September 1970 they were at the BBC Maida Vale studio to record three tracks for the John Peel radio show, showing that live, onstage, they knew what they were all about & were the most exciting new band in the UK.
The words on the top of the page are the first impression of John Peel, the most influential British DJ for generations of listeners. He soon changed his mind about Faces, they were certainly rowdy, certainly not dreadful & in 1971, when Rod was at #1 with “Maggie May” he was there on Top of the Pops as an honorary Face, wondering what to do with the mandolin in his hands. This was the second session the band recorded for him this year. “Around The Plynth” is the rockingest, rawest track on “First Step”, Ron Wood, a bass player with Beck, playing a filthy slide guitar, Mac, as good a keyboard player as there was in Britain, Kenney Jones, the man to replace Keith Moon in the Who & Ronnie Lane, the nicest guy around. Then there’s the singer, Rod at the top of his game, his “Gasoline Alley” bringing melodicism to the toughest Blues-Rock. “Never knew what it was to be loved – bam, bam, bam” Oh my!
Ah go on, here’s moving pictures from 1971 of Faces performing “Plynth” in Paris. As John Peel said, “ the Faces for me recaptured the kind of feelings I’d had when I first heard Little Richard and people like that and Jerry Lee Lewis, in the same way as the Undertones were a few years later”. By 1971, with the group’s essential “A Nod’s As Good As A Wink…To A Blind Horse” album & Rod’s damn near perfect “Every Picture Tells A Story”, Faces were setting the standard for British Rock.