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Small Faces - From the Beginning LP
4 Men With Beards Records
and, in retaliation, Decca and Arden rounded up the remaining recordings the group made for the label and released them as From the Beginning. Appearing just months before their Immediate debut -- entitled The Small Faces, just like their first album for Decca -- From the Beginning includes early version of "My Way of Giving" and "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me," and it reprises songs that were on the 1966 Decca LP ("Sha La La La Lee," "What'cha Gonna Do About It"), moves that muddy an already confusing situation. And From the Beginning really doesn't play as a cohesive album by any stretch of the imagination, as it opens with a burst of burgeoning psychedelia then doubles back to the group's early R&B, flaws that matter less as years pass by because, on a track by track basis, there is a lot of wondrous material here. Like many of their peers, The Small Faces began to dabble in LSD in 1967 and their sonic horizons broadened considerably, something that is evident on "My Mind's Eye," "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," and "That Man," swirling songs that hint at the band's developing pop inclinations without abandoning their hard R&B underpinning. Other songs -- "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me," "All or Nothing,"" "My Way of Giving"-- arrive at the midway point between the psych-pop and Mod R&B, just as the Immediate Small Faces LP would just a few weeks later, and these are nervy, energetic gems that find a nice counterpart with the pure soul songs bunched at the end. It's an odds and ends record to be sure but From the Beginning offers too much top-notch material to be dismissed; in fact, in many ways, it's a flawed gem from the swinging '60s