Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ian McLagan: Rock and Roll Royalty

The name McLagan doesn't have the star power of  a Jagger, Lennon, Townsend etc but Mr. McLagan has been at the forefront of the British rock scene since 1965. Ian will be making a  rare local appearance at the Narrows on Wednesday June 15. He has toured or recorded with the likes of:The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Taj Mahal, John Hiatt, David Lindley, Paul Westerberg, Billy Bragg and Patty Griffin.

It all started in 1966, when he joined a scruffy group from East London called The Small Faces. The Small Faces consisted of Steve Marriot on Guitar and Vocals, Kenny Jones(Keith Moon's replacement in The Who) on Drums, Ronnie Lane on Bass and  Vocals and Ian McLagan Keyboards and Vocals. The group was heavily influenced by American R&B but fused psychedelia into the mix creating their own unique sound. They hit it big in "67" with "Itchycoo Park". Here's a classic clip of that tune The real tour de force for the group was the concept album Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. It was distinctively packaged in a round tin mimicking a brand of tobacco sold in Liverpool. With a heavy psychedelic element, I am sure the group was suggesting more than tobacco be housed in the tin. Here's a clip from a French TV show Surprise Partie circa 1969. It's great to see how in in just 2 years, the group transformed into this really heavy band. If you don't own this record, go out and get it. It is a must for any serious fan of rock and roll.

The group's leader Steve Marriot quit on New Year's Eve 69 after a gig. The remaining members then joined forces with former Jeff Beck group members Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood. They became The Faces and were one of the all time great British Rock bands. Ian was a co-writer on such classics as Cindy Incidentally, You're So Rude and Three Button Hand Me Down. Here's a great clip form the Dutch Television Pop Gala 73

The group disbanded in 1975 and McLagan went on to played on a slew of great records. His trademark B-3 playing can be heard on Rod Stewart's Maggie May. He played keys on the Stones classic Miss You as well as touring with the band. He toured with Dylan and played on our old friend Tom Russell's Borderland. In 1994, he moved to Austin and formed The Bump Band.  In December of 2007, McLagan and Glyn Johns, his old pal from Small Faces and Faces days, met at Sphere Studios in London to mix and master Ian McLagan's beautiful and emotionally raw CD, Never Say Never. Here's a clip from the David Letterman show with Patti Griffin on Backing vocals This clip shows that Ian is still on top of  his game.

So while Ian McLagan might not be a household name,  he is true rock and roll royalty. At his upcoming show at the Narrows on June 15 expect a healty dose of Small Faces, Faces, solo stuff and a few surprises

1 comment:

  1. I feel bad that there wasn't much of a crowd for Ian. I guess that a Stanley Cup final for the Bruins will do that. Like the true professional he is though, Ian presented a wonderfully intimate, personal show. I'd seen him with a band in the past, but this is the first time I saw him in a solo show. I should also mention that contribution of Jon Notarthomas who helped out ably on bass. They were both gracious after the show and stayed to speak with everyone who was there. A terrific evening.