Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Classic Album Review - Faces - A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse


Often forgotten as one of the bands that shaped rock n roll as we know it, the Faces 1971 album ‘A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...To a Blind Horse’ was one of the most un-erring records released in the 70s.

The Faces were known as one of the ‘most shambolic bands in the history of rock n roll’ and were heavily influenced by early R&B routes and Motown. They trashed motels, stage sets, made woodchip of instruments deemed unworthy and were famed for their drinking habits and party-time attitude.

It was a time when Stewart’s solo career was beginning to take off in a big way and when his third album ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ was released in October of 1971 he became the first person to hold all four number one spots in the UK and America.

‘A Nod Is As Good As a Wink...To a Blind Horse’ was released in the December of the same year and reached number 2 in the UK chart. It marked a time when Faces were almost battling with Stewart’s growing stardom which didn’t cause friction in the band itself but was the cause of constant rumours that the band was about to be left by its leading member.

The album is beautifully pieced together funky blues rock that produced one of the bands biggest hits, ‘Stay With Me’ (“In the morning, please don’t say you love me cause’ I’ll only kick you out of the door.”)

The album was written predominantly by Stewart and Wood (Ronnie – the one from the Stones) allied by Ronnie Lane’s more country-tinged sparkly blues approach with classics such as ‘Debris’, ‘Last Orders Please’ and ‘Love Lives Here’ all appearing on A Nod Is As Good As A Wink.

The whole album has got a lazy rock feel that so wonderfully encapsulates the era and its warm, fuzzy, ramshackle feel that Glyn Johns produced feels not only self-effacing but exciting at the same time.

Opener ‘Miss Judy’s Farm’ talks about a moody woman who owns a proper sized poodle that needs a good shoeing before the band look to Chuck Berry’s classic ‘Memphis Tennessee’ and turn it into their own dirty brand of blues.

In the end it wasn’t to be Stewart’s success that broke the band, although it undoubtedly played a part it. Ronnie Wood was lured to the Rolling Stones after Mick Taylor made his departure from the line-up and in December 1975 the Faces went their separate ways.

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