When you look back at an album like Face’s A Nod Is As Good As A Wink… To A Blind Horse, you wonder how they managed to get off with an album title like that. That is beyond ridiculous and a real pain in the ass to type when you’re reviewing the album. It doesn’t detract from the fact that this is another classic album from a great band. An album from 1971 that much like its predecessor does not get the praise that it deserves.
An album like this makes me wonder why Status Quo of all people got labelled as three chord wonders. Those fellows have always provided impressive use of the five chord structured and have always had a fairly varied back catalogue. Whilst Faces proved over their four albums that they were even more worthy of that title with some fairly basic song structures that leaned heavily on the simple side. A Nod Is As Good As A Wink… To A Blind Horse has a lot of similarities with the previously release albums First Step and Long Player as the band churn out the same heavy blues rock that scored them two winning albums whilst perfecting that down to earth sound that they were well known for.
This album is widely known for holding the classic rock song, Stay With Me. This is a superb good humoured song that features some excellent riffs, a well placed time change and one of the greatest rock choruses in history. The way the song starts off as an up tempo rocker and quickly degenerates into a mid tempo stomper is just brilliant. You never see someone (except Def Leppard) citing this song as one of the greatest ever but there is something about the energy and sense of fun in Stay With Me that makes it a timeless classic.
With that said, it is not the only brilliant tune on this album. From the opening numbers Miss Judy’s Farm and You’re So Rude to the closing That’s All You Need, Faces found their sound and blast these songs with intense amounts of confidence. The cover of the Chuck Berry classic Memphis Tennessee is one of the best I have heard. They take the song and make it their own by completely changing the tempo and rhythm. Those who adore the original will love what the band have done with it. There is some excellent slide guitar work from Ronnie Wood. This is the point in his career where I would say without a doubt his playing hit its peak. You will also find some great drums and bass from Kenney Jones and Ronnie Lane. They provide a sloppy but technically pleasing rhythm that really defines the band’s sound. Slapped these together with Ian McLagan’s keyboard work and you’ve got a winning combination.
A Nod Is As Good As A Wink… To A Blind Horse is only thirty six minutes long but in that thirty six minutes you get everything that makes ’70s rock and roll so great. The album has an overall enthusiasm that makes it a very easy record to listen to. It was also blessed with some great production that really captures the bands down to earth raw style. There is nothing quite like dropping the needle on your record player and hearing those opening chords blast out.
This may not the be the coolest or most technically challenging band of the ’70s. But what they lack in technical precision they make up with by having a great sense of fun and so much energy that you’ll be bouncing from start to finish. A worthy edition to any rock collection, an under praised classic if you will.
Where to buy :
Track Listing :
- Miss Judy's Farm
- You're So Rude
- Love Lives Here
- Last Orders Please
- Stay With Me
- Memphis, Tennessee (cover)
- Too Bad
- That's All You Need