Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ian McLagan: 1945-2014 :: Music :: News :: Paste

Faces Keyboardist Ian McLagan: 1945-2014 :: Music :: News :: Paste:



Damn. The Faces were, in my view, the best of the chunky, Chuck Berry influenced bands of their time, especially when Rod Stewart was their lead singer. The music was simple and cranky, effectively unslick, the highwater mark of non-virtuoso blues based rock. They were more clash than flash, more pugnacious than punky. It was a music that got you out of the seat, made you strut, move the arms and work   out the shoulder blades as if you were  bracing for either a fight or  an oversized schooner of ale. At their best, which was often, they  sounded  like they were about to fall apar, a rickety, badly assembled machine that groaned and lost bolts and t and yet still held together , if barely. It made for some of the most rousing rock and roll of the period, crankier and gruffier than Free, feistier and less bombastic than Humble Pie (which , ironically, featured original  Faces singer Steve Marriot when they still had the 'Small" qualifier at the front of their name). McLagan's keyboarding was as much responsible for the band's rakish, knockabout personality as were Ron Wood's guitar bashing and Kenny Jones' kickstarter drumwork; he was the spirit of the honkey tonk, the road house, the whore house, he was blues and gospel and soul , not a soloist but an essential , crucial element of the band's collective genius. These elements, brought into focus by Stewart's wonderfully  harsh, expressive and remarkably versatile singing, made The Faces one of those bands where each member was indispensable in making a sound that was unique, galvanizing and which remains after decades the sort of music that raises the roof and makes neighbors call the police  His piano work was the Rosetta Stone through which much of the musical styles that influenced the band collectively and individually were brought into play in very fine, shamefully under appreciated band. Hats off to Ian McLagan.

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