This week’s selection is something a little bit different to the normal sound we bring you here on Gazfunk, sadly this is due to the passing of a true legend last week – Ian “Mac” McLagan. For those of you unaware of Mac, he was the organ player in 60s mod icons the Small Faces. With influences including James Brown, Ray Charles, Bobby Bland and Booker T & The Mg’s, the Small Faces sound proved to be hugely popular among the mid 60s mod scene in the U.K. With their hammond driven grooves backed up by the powerful vocals of Steve Marriott, they were an exciting live act as well as a commercially successful one.
While the U.S. had hammond organ icons in the shape of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff & Jack McDuff, the U.K. had it’s own trio of experts – Brian Auger, Alan Hawkshaw & Ian McLagan. As the late 60s sound was progressing away from the swinging 60s sound to a more hippy, psychedelic groove, the Small Faces were one of the first bands to embrace this new vibe with their psychedelic masterpiece “Ogdens Nut Gone Flake”. McLagan’s sound is all over this album with driving hammond and swirling wurlitzer being an integral part of the sound being laid down.
Upon the breakup of the Small Faces, McLagan stayed around and became part of the new group (joined by Rod Stewart & Ronnie Wood, themselves mid 60s mod heroes due to their work in Steampacket & The Birds respectively). A simple name change to “The Faces” saw the new band score huge hits with the likes of “Stay With Me” & “Cindy Incidentally”. However, unlike the Small Faces, The Faces were to find success in the U.S. and went on to become one of the biggest rock bands of the 70s. Upon the breakup of The Faces, McLagan was to join with another huge rock band – The Rolling Stones. Recent years saw him team up with British folk singer Billy Bragg as well as touring under his own name during which he released a number of albums the most recent of which (United States) was released earlier in the year.
I was lucky enough to meet the man a few years ago as he was playing a gig in a bar literally 50 metres from my house! We had a brief chat about music, health and all things mod and I have to say he was an absolute gentleman who made time to talk to as many people as he could as well as signing records and posing for photographs with many of his fans. You can check out a picture of us below.
The track I feature today was the b-side of the Small Faces’ 4th single “Hey Girl” which reached number 10 in the U.K. charts. The previous single “Sha La La La Lee” had scored the band a top 3 hit but was much maligned among fans as some saw it as a teeny-bopper track, something that was also levelled at “Hey Girl”. But it was the b-sides of both singles that were to prove to be popular among the more discerning fans with the heavy Booker T & The MG’s vibe. Sadly, there are but only one Small Face left so let’s raise a toast to the one and only Mr Ian McLagan. Cheers sir!!