Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners - 1974
Though the band lost its spiritual core when bassist and founding member Ronnie Lane left in 1973 to form his own group, Slim Chance, the Faces remained one of the few bands in town able to challenge the Rolling Stones' title of World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band up until they disintegrated in 1975. With four magnificent studio LPs under their belt, the band only released one official album that showcased where their bread was buttered, Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners, a live LP recorded at a pair of Los Angeles dates in 1973. The band is ragged and the tunes have a slower, almost molasses-thick drive to them, but all of these reckless elements are what coalesced to make this band the endearing and enduring live act that it always was. At this point in their evolution, not having Lane to share the mic and spotlight with brought Rod Stewart to full bloom, for better or for worse. The fact that so few high-quality live recordings exist of a band who staked their claim on the stage, makes this one all the better. The CD version of this classic is long out of print, but hopefully this means that a deluxe reissue is just around the corner. Best enjoyed with a bottle of Blue Nun, Rod's favorite.