The only thing missing from Faces box set is a big honkin’ bottle of JD



By Steve Newton

Believe it or not, Rod Stewart used to rock. You wouldn’t know it from those snoozy Great American Song Book volumes he’s released in the last few years, but at one point the gravelly-voiced crooner fronted the world’s greatest party band: the Faces. That group was only together for six years, but its raggedy boogie noise left a huge impression. In the early ’90s, a raucous bar band called the London Quireboys hit the charts with what was basically a Faces tribute (“Seven O’Clock”). And I’ll bet the Black Crowes wouldn’t be sitting so comfortably in their luxury homes if it weren’t for the Faces, either.

Stewart was joined in the hard-drinking British band by guitarist Ronnie Wood, keyboardist Ian McLagan, bassist Ronnie Lane, and drummer Kenny Jones. Wood and Jones would later become long-time members, respectively, of the Stones and the Who, and while the Faces have never been ranked in the same league as those two, there was a time when they probably should have been.

That was 1971, when the boozy, fun-loving hooligans released A Nod Is as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse. With rowdy tracks like “Too Bad”, “Stay With Me”, and “Miss Judy’s Farm”, that disc set the standard for genuine, kick-ass boogie-blues.

The four-disc Five Guys Walk Into a Bar… borrows generously from Nod–as well as it’s 1972 follow-up, Ooh La La–but also includes 31 previously unreleased tracks, with live BBC performances, album outtakes, single B-sides, and rehearsal demos.

The neatly designed, compact set sports a 60-page booklet that features McLagan’s heartfelt tribute to “slippery bugger” Lane–who died in ’97 after two decades of living with multiple sclerosis–and an informative essay by Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke.

About the only thing missing here is a big honkin’ bottle of JD, but I’m sure you know where to find that.

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