Here Comes The Nice Edited by Paul Weller and John HellierWritten by Matteo Sedazzari
There is a strong argument that the best way for the guitarist to learn their favourite song is to play along to the record. However having a useful reference book nearby can only improve their chances.
For the guitarist of yesteryear, the play along songbooks were similar to school textbooks. Bland, dreary and uninspiring. If, by chance, the songbook featured their favourite band. There might be the occasional ‘never before seen’ photos and the odd footnote by the artist.
The songs were presented in a sheet music format, not in guitar tablature. More often than not, the chords for the guitar shown in the songbook did not even sound the same as the ones on the record.
In recent years the songbook has improved a great deal. Many now come with accompanying CDs plus detailed and accurate guitar tab in the text. Enabling the guitarist to reproduce their favourite song note for note.
One such book that has found its way back to the music stands, is The Small Faces: Here Comes The Nice (Helter Skelter books), edited by two lifelong Small Faces fans Paul Weller and John Hellier.
John Hellier is the editor of the outstanding Small Faces’ fanzine The Darlings Of Wapping Wharf Launderette and organiser of the ever popular Small Faces convention. Paul Weller, former Jam and Style Council front man and now highly successful solo artist, has always been open and passionate about the Small Faces influence on his music.
Like the Small Faces, the book is loud, proud, and an inspiration to the musician. The book features 15 hit songs by the band, handpicked by Weller. Including the uplifting Get Yourself Together, the summer of love anthem Itchycoo Park, the drug inspired title of the book, Here Comes The Nice, and the mother of all pop intros Tin Soldier.
Each song in the book is presented with diagrams of the chords. Sheet music layout, perfect guitar tab and a full set of lyrics at the end. If you are familiar with the great works by The Small Faces and you know the basic workings of a guitar. With a little bit of application and a shed load of enthusiasm, you'll be rocking along to After Glow before you can say Wham Bam Thank You Mam.
For added pleasure, there is a bundle of brilliant bonus material. Including a potted history of The Small Faces, interviews with Paul Weller, John Hellier, and the forgotten Small Face, Jimmy Winston. In addition there are loads of photographs of The Small Faces. A full discography of The Small Faces UK releases and a pop art poem by Lisa Czerny.
My personal highlights however is an insight into why Weller chooses these particular songs for Here Comes The Nice and The Small Faces trivia section. Which includes, amongst many others, such gems as Spike Milligan being the first choice to narrate Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. Songbooks are so much more fun these days. Nice
©Matteo Sedazzari/ ZANI
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