The Nerd is back, the Nerd is back! Sorry about my extended absence but writer’s block is one hell of a problem! After a little boat trip down in Virginia, I feel refreshed and ready to write about more cool, obscure sounds so let’s get to it.
When I got back from my little boat ride, I was excited to find in my mailbox a package from the fine folks at Gott Records (look them up at gottrecords.com) featuring a great reissue CD of Faces keyboardist and all around great guy Ian McLagan’s two solo albums from the late ’70’s and early ’80’s.
Originally a member of the Small Faces when they were a psychedelic rock act fronted by Steve Marriot and turning out masterpieces like Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, McLagan remained with the band when they metamorphised (did I just make up a word?) into simply Faces after Marriot quit and Rod Stewart and Ron Wood joined.
As the band turned their psychedelic leanings into more of a good-time boogie-rock band, McLagan’s fine organ and piano work came even further into the fore as a perfect complement to Wood’s slide guitar skronk and bassist Ronnie Lane’s genius bass playing.
All good things must come to an end, though, and when Stewart and Wood each found their side careers going in different directions (Stewart’s as a solo star and Wood as a member of The Rolling Stones) the Faces broke up, leaving several great albums in their wake, the best of which is undoubtedly A Nod Is As Good As A Wink, though Ohh La La is great as well.
It didn’t take McLagan long after the Faces split in 1975 to get his own solo career going. With help from Ron Wood, Keith Richards, Ringo Starr and a host of other British rock vets, the ex-Face recorded the aptly named Troublemaker album in 1977. Though no hit singles were forthcoming, the album should not be penalized for that and is actually one of the best pseudo-pub rock/party rock records ever produced. If only more rockers would drop the airs and just let loose in the studio the world would be a better place. It’s like no one would start rocking if there was any gin left in the building. Fabulous.
McLagan followed up Troublemaker with Bump In The Night in 1981. Again, Wood was on board for some hellacious slide guitar playing but this time McLagan ditched some of his guest stars in favor of his touring band. While not as bombastic as his first solo album, Bump In The Night is far more cohesive with more emphasis placed on the songs instead of the atmosphere. Again, no hit singles resulted and McLagan eventually turned his career into that of a well-known and much-respected session player and touring sideman.
He has played with the best because he is one of the best, leaving a ton of fine recordings both solo and with the Faces incarnations in his wake. Fortunately, the new millenium brought a return to solo recording for McLagan, who has put out the fine album Best Of British on the Gadfly label as well as a few other discs including a new live one available at his website ianmclagan.com
Sadly, a few weeks ago his wife (the former Kim Moon) passed away in a car wreck. I only have best wishes for him as he and his music have brought a ton of joy into my life, I hope he is able to overcome this adversity and continue to make great music.
Please pick up any of McLagan’s solo work or his work with Small Faces and regular Faces. Even his session work will make you smile. Anyone who wants to take the piss out of rock and rool and just have one hell of a rocking time is sure to love anything he has done.
Would you like some Mac?
The Music Nerd knows………..