How the heck are you?
Have you been smart and got your flu shot?
Did you drop enough hints, to the right ears, to kinda nudge ’em toward finally gifting you with something you’d maybe take to a dogfight?
And, have you done your Christmas shopping?
Or, are you like me, and like to get out there and tussle and roll with the other last minute shoppers?
However you’re playing it, I sure hope you’re feeling good, and enjoying your special brand of amusements.
It’s another beautiful, sunny, but coolish day here in Panama City, Florida. Only expected to get up around 65 degrees. That’s just about average for this part of Florida.
Considering the long, dark, and freezing Michigan winters, I endured while working at GM, I’ll take 65 degrees in December. Thank You Very Much…
A Nod To Recently Departed Ian McLagan
Of course, the previous phrase was in reference to the name of a fondly remembered record album recorded by Ian McLagan’s band, Faces, back in the early 1970’s, and no disrespect meant to his memory.
The full name of the album was A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse, and the great, and as of last Wednesday, the late Ian McLagan, played keyboards brilliantly on all the cuts.
Although it’s been nearly 30 years since I’ve put the spin on it, I still have my copy.
The album was released under the band name, ‘Small Faces’ in America, (released under the name ‘Faces’ in Europe). That album contains the band’s biggest U.S. hit, Stay with Me, written and sung by then band member, Rod Stewart.
Uh oh, just checked that and Ron Wood is also listed as co-writer for the song. (Also checked Ebay and the going rate for a copy of the album is $23.50)
Wouldn’t sell mine for 10 times that. Seeing as I’ve not played it since Ronald Reagan was president, that’s sorta illogical, isn’t it?
I was lucky enough to have a row 20 seat for one of the original band, The Small Faces’s live shows during the time before Stewart and Ron Wood.
Those days I pretty much caught all the ‘great’ bands of that era. Bands like the Rolling Stones, the Doors, James Brown, and so on…
And, I witnessed what music critics would call legendary performances.
Yet, the greatest live show I’ve ever seen was the Small Faces show I mentioned earlier. Although they were then labeled as a ‘pop’ band (teeny-bopping ‘Itchycoo Park’ was their biggest U.S. hit), their British working mans blues leanings showed up during live shows.
That night in Detroit, from the start their music was edgy, raw and much too aggressive for ‘pop’.
And, I sensed the band members were loose and really enjoying themselves. That feeling may have been influenced by their heavy, on-stage drinking.
Throughout the night they were knocking them down pretty darn regular.
As the night wore on, their playing steadily became sloppier and innovative.
Which is a polite way of saying some of them were too soused to remember the songs, and were making it up as they went along.
Eventually a couple of the guy’s decided they needed to discuss their differences in front of a live audience.
Which is also a polite way of saying they had ‘fist-fight’. (I can’t remember which 2 guys, but I ‘think’ it was Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott)
Probably wasn’t uncommon antics, as the rest of the band played on during the brief flurry of punches and a few off-balance kicks.
Great fun and loved how awful they finally got.
The next time I saw them, Marriott had quit and formed Humble Pie.
Rod Stewart had replaced him as vocalist and Ron Wood was brought in to replace Marriott’s guitar. The band had been renamed to ‘Faces’ and they had grown up some. They were a better group musicians, and their sound was more bluesy than pop.
After Rod Stewart got too popular for a group act, the Faces broke up around 1975.
I did see Stewart and Wood play together a couple more times and still like them both today.
BTW, also saw Stewart and his then girlfriend, Rachel Hunter, when Treasa, Walker and I were out shopping (mostly walking around), on Worth Ave. in West Palm Beach back in 1995, or so.
Dude, he’s as short as me, and next to him, Rachel looked like a big old farm girl. A pretty one, Treasa said…
But, back to one of my favorite keyboard players of all time, Ian McLagan…
He had a stroke last Tuesday night in his home outside of Austin, Texas. He died on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, while in the hospital.
Ian and I were about the same age, and I feel like we kinda grew up together. Him in the U.K. loving American blues and finding the music hard to find. Me in the U.S. loving the same music, and also having trouble finding a reliable source for the music cuts I liked.
Almost makes a guy wanna stop and think about his mortality…
Anyway, ‘Small Faces’ and ‘Faces’, Ian McLagen eventually played and toured with the Stones.
He also played gigs or recorded, with the likes of Chuck Berry, Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Westerberg, Izzy Stradlin, Frank Black, Nikki Sudden, John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Scalzo, Carla Olson and Mick Taylor. And, he was a sometime member of Billy Bragg’s band ‘The Blokes’.
Before you start thinking he was just anybody’s music bit*h, he wouldn’t play, or tour, with The Grateful Dead, because he thought (as I’ve always) their music was boringly pointless.
Ian had spent his last years playing and touring with the Bump Band, a band he’d co-founded. The band’s up-coming tour dates were canceled, and spokespeople haven’t announced any future intentions.
So Long Old Friend, we were once the young ones…
My favorite Faces song seems an appropriate ending for this, be sure to notice Ian’s jerky, but clear piano… classic McLagan:
The original version with the full band:
Ronnie Lane and friends version. Ian’s not on the keyboards, but I still like it:
Goodbye Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park…
30-year veteran of British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department of Great Britain’s Home Office. Served as a Magistrate and Governor to the BBC. Author of 19 books, both fiction and non-fiction…”
Phyllis Dorothy James, or P D James, was born August 3, 1920 and passed on November 27, 2014. For my money, she was one of the best ‘pure’ mystery and crime writers of her time.
And, I don’t even care for her most popular book series main character, police commander and poet, Adam Dalgliesh.
But, she overcame his lameness with her sly British wit and her wonderfully epic sentence structures that sometimes remind me of my favorite fiction writer, P G Wodehouse.
The girl could flat-out write.
Her books tended on the long side with a full cast of characters to keep tract of.
Because she was a master at developing those characters, I usually had an inkling who the murderees and the murderer was, before she got around to offing someone.
Not that she was predictable. Far from it. Her characters were so vivid that I could predict their behavior. That’s a real gift for a writer.
For example, in honor of her life as a writer, I just finished reading her book, The Murder Room.
In this book, she was so busy bringing the characters to life, that there wasn’t an actual murder until page 115. By then, I’d already decided whom the most likely candidate was. I’d also sleuthed out the perpetrator, as well.
I was right about the victim. And, because I missed a clue, laid out so innocently in chapter one, I was Way wrong about the killer…
Loved the book, loved her. And, I’ll miss her…
Ideas for me, your aging related story, or comments are very damn welcome…