Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Faces 3: A Nod Is As Good As A Wink

While Every Picture Tells A Story rocks with acoustic instruments, anyone who longed to hear Rod Stewart with some voltage beneath him needed only wait a few months before another Faces album. From its live cover shot and cheeky title, A Nod Is As Good As A Wink... To A Blind Horse, positively crackles.
Yet while Rod swaggers his way through “Miss Judy’s Farm”—just one of the tracks here that refuses to stick to an ABAB rhyme scheme—over those terrific Ian McLagan electric piano licks, Ronnie Lane gets his share of the spotlight too. “You’re So Rude” is a randy slice of afternoon delight, with blasts of organ and sound effects pushing the story along. Lest one think it’s all silly, “Love Lives Here” brings on the heartbreak, and while Mick Jagger would never admit to stealing the mood for “Fool To Cry”, he was wise not to borrow the harpsichord. Ronnie returns for the aftermath of the relationship—in a pub, naturally—on “Last Orders Please”, and whatever sadness Rod had two songs earlier is well gone by the groupie abuse in “Stay With Me”.
Side two begins, out of character, with the melancholy “Debris”. Sung by Ronnie, with Rod helping out on the choruses, what sounds like another sad love song turns out to be memories of his dad. It’s very sweet, but unfortunately followed by a rather tepid rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis” that eventually picks up, but the lead guitar stays stuck in the Leslie speaker. The fun returns on “Too Bad”, another funny tale of Life on the Road that could have taken place earlier in their careers or that week. And fun as “That’s All You Need”, it too doesn’t make sense, from going about remembering an estranged brother, to the guy showing up mid-track for “a cup of coke” and steel drums taking the album to the spindle.
But we don’t listen to Faces albums for deep thoughts, and that’s why A Nod Is As Good As A Wink is just plain fun. Besides, it’s always nice to hear Ronnie Lane break up the monotony, isn’t it?

Faces A Nod Is As Good As A Wink… To A Blind Horse (1971)—

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