Thursday, March 04, 2010

Rod Stewart and the Faces - Live Coast to Coast

In the 70’s, Rod & the Faces were among my favorite bands and Ron Wood had one of the best raunchy guitar tones around – in fact in my first ever recording session, the engineer asked what I wanted my guitar to sound like and I said Ron Wood, but we failed miserably! In any case, after “Stay With Me” blasted out of the radio, I was hooked on their brand of lecherous, drunken, r’n’r revelry.

The group was notorious for their inebriated excess on stage (where they toured with an actual full bar, complete with bartender, sharing the spotlight with them) and off and for their exuberant live shows. But for someone who had grown up in the age of virtuosos and expecting every band to be note-perfect in front of their audiences, I was sometimes turned off when songs were not re-created faithfully (back in the 70;s), and the Faces were never ones to do that! Comparisons to the Stones were more than fair due to their musical styles as well as their tendency to simply dissolve at the end of a tune instead of ending all at the same time!

These days, I love this crazy edge that they teetered on, but still, this is not one of their best releases and I have seen shows (via video) that I think were, overall, better than this one. Nonetheless, this is a fun documentation of these cats, even though it was towards the end of their career (with Japanese bassist Rabbit sitting in place of Ronnie Lane).

A majority of this release is made up of covers, from their Stones-y take on “It’s All Over Now” to the Eddie Cochran cover “Cut Across Shorty” to the fine blues of “I Wish It Would Rain” and “I’d Rather Go Blind” (a couple of the highlights) to their great versions of Hendrix’s “Angel” and Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”. “Every Picture Tells a Story” is (extremely) abbreviated in a jammy-medley with “Too Bad”, “Stay With Me” is a sloppy drunk-fest and the high-energy “Borstal Boys” rocks out until it meanders for a while with Wood noodling on his slide guitar, interspersing “Amazing Grace” before concluding the song.

I don’t want to be too hard on this record, as it is cool fun – I just think it probably worked a lot better face-to-face (so to speak!) instead of transferred to vinyl. Still, it is a blast a fine rock’n’roll!