Friday, June 14, 2019

Faces 5: Coast To Coast

With Rod Stewart getting more and more attention, Ronnie Lane followed his gypsy heart and left the Faces. But they had gigs, so Tetsu Yamauchi, most recently featured in a Free offshoot, took over on bass (and presumably, his share of the bar tab). And that’s when they decided to release a live album. Coast To Coast: Overture And Beginners was billed to the Rod Stewart/Faces combination, and leaned more on Rod’s solo work than Faces material proper. In the US, Mercury distributed the album, while Warner Bros. got the tape and 8-track rights.
A pleasant stomp through “It’s All Over Now” kicks things off, followed by a driving, electric “Cut Across Shorty”. “Too Bad” is hitched up to “Every Picture Tells A Story” without much excitement or reason despite a similar tempo and Rod knowing the words. “Angel” is looser than it should be, but the crowd goes nuts for “Stay With Me”.
A cover of the Temptations’ “I Wish It Would Rain” has promise, but feels like it slows down halfway through. (Another live version with a horn section had snuck out earlier as a B-side.) The energy continues to flag on “I’d Rather Go Blind”, making “Borstal Boys” a nice change of pace, but it too stops to let Ron Wood noodle on slide for a couple minutes by himself. The band eventually stumbles back in, and somehow they find their way into “Amazing Grace”. Finally, their exposure of solo Beatles material surfaces for a stab at John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”, Ian McLagan nicely comping Nicky Hopkins’ parts.
Coast To Coast isn’t a bad album, but it doesn’t quite capture the good time for which the band was legendary. Critics hated it, mostly because Ronnie Lane was gone, and the band must not have rated it much, because while it did sneak out on CD, it’s out of print today, and isn’t even available for (legal) streaming.

Rod Stewart/Faces Coast To Coast: Overture And Beginners (1974)—3
Current CD availability: none

4 comments:

  1. So...um...how do you have it?
    (asking for a friend...)
    :)

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  2. I know nowadays, record labels mean very little although back in the day if you named a label, you had a pretty good idea what genre of music was their focus. That's why this jumped out at me:

    >>>>>In the US, Mercury distributed the album, while Warner Bros. got the tape and 8-track rights.

    Was this a pretty common thing back in the day, when there were several music storage formats duking it out?

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    Replies
    1. In this case, the distribution split was due to Rod Stewart being signed to Mercury for his solo work, and the Faces on Warner. A similar deal was struck a few years earlier for the Concert For Bangla Desh album; Columbia demanded a piece of it, since Bob Dylan appeared on it, and ended up distributing the cassette version (in 1972 and again in 1991).

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