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Five Guys Walk into a Bar...

Five Guys Walk into a Bar...

5.0 3
by Faces
Brash, boozy, and always ready to bash out another tune, the Faces rank among the greatest bar bands of all time -- a characterization the surviving members obviously embrace, given the title of this rarity-packed four-disc box. Naturally, Five Guys... contains all the enduring radio staples the band churned out over its lifespan -- the wistful "Ooh La La" and


Brash, boozy, and always ready to bash out another tune, the Faces rank among the greatest bar bands of all time -- a characterization the surviving members obviously embrace, given the title of this rarity-packed four-disc box. Naturally, Five Guys... contains all the enduring radio staples the band churned out over its lifespan -- the wistful "Ooh La La" and the dissipated groupie kiss-off "Stay with Me" chief among them -- but the real draw is the dozens of live, demo, and alternate cuts strewn across the set. Rod Stewart, then just another one of the boys in the band, exudes a remarkable amount of soul on songs like a cover of Luther Ingram's soul chestnut "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" and an embryonic version of "Maggie May," while Ron Wood struts his stuff skillfully on showcases like a BBC session version of Jimi Hendrix's "Angel." Interestingly enough, the wide selection of cover tunes provides the best barometer of just how sweeping the band's talent really was. A live take on Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed," with Stewart and Ronnie Lane trading lead vocals, easily outstrips the original in terms of poignancy, while a slithery reading of Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain" evokes the crossroads with the best of the British blues busters. Often, material is left in the vaults for good reason, but the curios dusted off here are good for more than just a novelty listen; they serve to reaffirm the often-overlooked legacy of one of the '70s' greatest bands.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
There has never been a better box set than the Faces' Five Guys Walk into a Bar.... There has never been a box that captures an artist so perfectly, nor has a box set taken greater advantage of unreleased and rare material, to the point where it seems as essential and vital as the released recordings. Simply put, there's never been a box set as necessary as this, since it tells the band's entire tale and explains exactly what the fuss is all about. Unfortunately, some explanations are in order, since the Faces never made it big, resigned to cult status in America and Britain alike. Nevertheless, if you love rock & roll with an all-consuming passion, you may consider the Faces the greatest rock & roll band ever. And you'd be right. Other bands were certainly bigger and plenty wielded a stronger influence, but the Faces were something unique, an endearingly ragged quintet that played raw, big-hearted rock & roll as hard as the Rolling Stones, but with a warm, friendly vibe that would have sounded utterly foreign coming from the Stones. At the turn of the '60s, that warmth was unusual in rock & roll, since most of the big bands were larger than life; even the Kinks, the quaintest and quietest of the titans of the late '60s, had a theatrical bent that lent them a mystique. In contrast, the Faces were utterly without mystique. They were unpretentious to a fault, coming across like the lovable lads from the neighborhood who were always out for a good time, whether it was before, during, or after a gig. They were unassuming and mischievous, with their raggedness camouflaging a sweetness that flowed throughout their music; they were charming rogues, so endearing that even the infamously cranky, trendsetting British DJ John Peel had a soft spot a mile wide for them. That raggedness resulted in exhilarating music, but also made the Faces inconsistent on-stage and in the studio. At their peak, nobody could touch them, but even their greatest albums were sloppy, never maintaining their momentum. They would also throw away great songs on non-LP singles, and their live performances -- including BBC sessions for Peel -- often had a raucous energy not quite captured on their albums. All of these elements taken as a whole add up to a great band, but no single album, not even the first-rate 1999 compilation Good Boys When They're Asleep, captured each of these elements. Five Guys Walk into a Bar... does. Produced and sequenced by their keyboardist, Ian McLagan, the set throws all conventional rules of box sets out the window. It's not assembled in a chronological order. A grand 43 of its 67 tracks are non-LP cuts and rarities, including a whopping 31 previously unreleased tracks. It has all the B-sides never released on CD. Several songs are repeated in alternate live or studio versions. Such a preponderance of rarities would usually mean that a box set is only for the devoted, but that's not the case here -- these rarities are the very reason why Five Guys Walk into a Bar... succeeds in a way none of their original albums do, since they fill in the gaps left behind on their four studio albums. This does mean that it features several Rod Stewart solo cuts that worked their way into the Faces' repertoire (partially because the band backed him on his solo albums, too), but that was an important part of their history (plus, the BBC version of "You're My Girl [I Don't Want to Discuss It]" is blistering hot), and while this showcases Stewart at his best -- he never was better than he was in the early '70s, whether it was fronting the Faces or on his solo records -- he never overshadows his mates on this box. The focus is on the band as a whole, which means that the spotlight is shone on the late, perpetually underappreciated Ronnie Lane numerous times on each of the four discs, and that Ronnie Wood has his turn at the microphone on a wonderful live "Take a Look at the Guy." McLagan's song sequencing may appear to have no logic behind it, since it doesn't group recordings together by either era or scarcity, yet his seemingly haphazard approach makes musical and emotional sense, flowing like a set list yet remarkably maintaining momentum through its four lengthy discs. While it may sound like hyperbole, there's never a dull moment here, not a bad track among these 67 songs -- it's consistent in a way the Faces never were when they were together. It's a joyous, addictive listen, too. It sounds like a party, one where everybody's invited and where the music doesn't stop playing until the break of dawn. That makes a perfect tribute for a band that never got the respect they were due, and never made the great album they should have made. With Five Guys Walk into a Bar..., the Faces finally have that great album and not just that, they have a box set that's as infectious and satisfying as any classic rock & roll album and a box set that's quite possibly the greatest box set ever made. Plus, it's just one hell of a good time.

Product Details

Release Date:


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Faces   Primary Artist
Rod Stewart   Electric Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Ronnie Wood   Guitar,Harmonica,Bass Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar
Harry Beckett   Trumpet
Ian McLagan   Organ,Piano,Harmonium,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Wurlitzer,Group Member
Memphis Horns   Horn
Neemoi Acquaye   Percussion
Wayne Jackson   Trumpet
Bobby Keys   Saxophone
Ronnie Lane   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Dobro,Bass Guitar,Tambourine,Vocals,Group Member
Andrew Love   Saxophone
Tetsu Yamauchi   Bass,Trombone,Bass Guitar
Kenney Jones   Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Harry Fowler   Steel Drums

Technical Credits

Big Bill Broonzy   Composer
Willie Dixon   Composer
Solomon Burke   Composer
Faces   Producer,Audio Production
John Lennon   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Paul Rodgers   Composer
Rod Stewart   Composer
Brian Wilson   Composer
Ronnie Wood   Composer
Andy Fraser   Composer
Paul Kossoff   Composer
Mike Love   Composer
Ian McLagan   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Liner Notes
Barrett Strong   Composer
Paul Westerberg   Author
Homer Banks   Composer
Bert Berns   Composer
Martin Birch   Engineer
Mike Bobak   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Hugh Brown   Art Direction
Dick Cooper   Composer
Bill Foster   Composer
Glyn Johns   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Cornelius Grant   Composer
Carl Hampton   Composer
Keith Harwood   Engineer
Jimi Hendrix   Composer
Eddie Holland   Composer
Robert "P-Nut" Johnson   Composer
Ronnie Lane   Composer
Glen Matlock   Author
Ron Nevison   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Eddy Offord   Engineer
John Peel   Contributor
Martin Quittenton   Composer
Pete Ritzema   Producer
Don Sciarrotta   Engineer
Jeff Tweedy   Author
Wayne Walker   Composer
Jerry Wexler   Composer
Norman Whitfield   Composer
Marijohn Wilkin   Composer
Tom Wright   Writer
Tetsu Yamauchi   Composer
Gary Kellgren   Engineer
Kenney Jones   Composer
Bill Lazarus   Engineer
David Fricke   Liner Notes
Rachel Gutek   Art Direction
Patrick Milligan   Executive Producer
Bob Conduct   Engineer
Stanley Dorfman   Producer
John Griffin   Producer
Ernie Shelby   Composer
Hugh Barker   Engineer
Damien Shannon   Cover Photo
Rich Robinson   Author
Paul Williams   Producer
Gaz Coombes   Author
Roger Penzabene   Composer
Ellington Jordan   Composer
Beth Beatty   Composer

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Five Guys Walk into a Bar... 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Rock and Roll. The Highs and the Lows with everything in between. I don't think you'll find a band that had more fun than this lot. Now you'll hear why Ronnie Lane was such a treasure, and Ron Wood was so DAMN Good ! This is everything a box set should be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt this box set is a must listen on my death bed. I feel so alive when I listen to it. I appreciate my youth even more. OOH LA LA
Anonymous More than 1 year ago