Small Faces, "Tin Soldier"
Ian McLagan, the keyboardist for the Small Faces, died last week. The Small Faces/Faces were one of those bands that regularly put out quality music on the pop/blues/rock spectrum, and managed to do so for a long time. All their early singles are at least good; Ogden's Nut Gone Flake better than average for a psychedelic album; they were the secret weapon on Rod Stewart's early, good albums. All of them enjoyed pretty good or well-respected careers, or both: Steve Marriott went on to front Humble Pie; Ronnie Lane is on the short list of every music fan's underappreciated musicians ("One for the Road"); Kenney Jones was Keith Moon's replacement in The Who. The two guys who joined when the band became The Faces--Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart--went on to do all right for themselves. McLagan didn't quite have any of these careers, but he seems to have steadily worked with a wide variety of people, which is something.
While I like a lot of the British Invasion music, I love "Tin Soldier." The best bands did their best work by establishing a sonic texture and executing it well--the samba of "Sympathy for the Devil" or the editing work on "Tomorrow Never Knows," for example. This song, by contrast, does four or five different rhythms and tempos, and that allows the tension to build throughout to the rising-chord crescendo at the end. Nothing tapers off or resolves, it is just transferred to the next section.