Rinaldi Sings — Features
Mod Aid 20 » July 2005
Some 20 years ago Steve Marriott, PP Arnold, Chris Farlowe and an assortment of new mod talent released a cover version of the Small Faces' 'All Or Nothing' to raise money for the Band Aid charity. Two decades later, Mod Aid 20 set out to repeat the feat.
'Wat'cha Gonna Do About It' was the song of choice this time around, with the stella line-up including Ronnie Wood and Steve Craddock, while PP Arnold, Chris Farlowe and Chords drummer Buddy Ascot reprised their original Mod Aid roles. This time the faces also included Reg Presley of The Troggs, Mark Joseph, Andy Ellison of John’s Children, Billy Nichols, plus a supporting cast from 40 years of mod history, including members of The Action, the Purple Hearts, Makin' Time, Small World – and of course Rinaldi Sings, with Steve Rinaldi playing trombone and contributing backing vocals. Rinaldi Sings trumpet player Tim Pannell also featured on the recording, as did original Small Faces keyboard player Jimmy Winston, who had played on the hit version 40 years earlier.
For Ron Wood, who turned up at the East London session with his brother Art, it was a cause he couldn't turn down. “I was a 'rodder' myself,” he laughed, recalling his days with The Birds and The Creation. “Half of my first band were mods and half were rockers, and I was somewhere in the middle.” With the big name singers wheeled quickly into the studio through the parka–clad crowd outside, it was left to Chris Farlowe to remind us of the one man who couldn't be here this time – the late Steve Marriott. “I'm just going to do my own thing,” he said as he stepped to the mic. “I’m sure Stevie would have approved.” The biggest surprise of the session came when Molly Marriott turned up on what would have been her father's 58th birthday to lay down a lead vocal on b-side cut 'Afterglow', encouraged through every note by PP Arnold, for whom the song was originally written.
With just two days to nail the tracks, producer Ian Page had his work cut out, but everyone was prepared to put the time in to make sure that the Band Aid charity and the Tsunami Appeal will be benefiting thanks to parka power. “Even if it wasn’t a mod event this would be a good thing to do,” said Steve Craddock. “I don’t think enough can be done.”
Mod Aid 20: In Their Own Words
Steve Rinaldi: “I'd originally got involved with Mod Aid 20 when Ed Ball was producing the single. Ed wanted a Dexy's style trombone part in the middle of the song and he'd asked me to write a brass part and come down and do a bit of singing too. After he dropped out of the project, the new producer was Ian Page – and as I play in Ian's band from time to time, I remained involved and was asked to help with some of the vocal arrangements too. That gave me the opportunity to watch a lot of great musicians and singers at work up close.”
Mark Joseph: “I got involved when someone from Mod Aid 20 heard my last single 'Bringing Back Those Memories' and really liked what they heard. To be honest, as soon as I heard the causes they wanted to raise money for and the fact that it had happened 20 years previously, I was really up for doing it. And I was doubly up for doing it when I heard it was two Small Faces tunes. I'm a big Small Faces fan, especially of those two songs. Interesting choices as well, steering slightly clear of the hugely well-known songs. Then I learnt that Steve Craddock was going to be playing on it, as well as Ronnie Wood – quite simply two big guitar heroes of mine.”
Buddy Ascott: “As per usual, being the inept timekeeper that I am, the pressure on me to get the backing tracks finished was fairly intense. The so-called 'house band' of Mark le Gallez, Simon Stebbing, Fay Hallam, Mike Evans from the Action and Chris Philpott were incredibly patient – I kept losing my place in the song as the arrangement had just been modified. “We finally got a take of 'What'cha Gonna Do About It?' when the door flew open and Ronnie Wood walked in, followed by an entourage the size of a small infantry division: photographers, reporters and, seemingly, acrobats, stilt-walkers and fire-eaters. In reality he turned up with his brother but so many people followed him in that I took one look at a terrified Simon Stebbing and quietly suggested, 'Well, if you think you were sweating before'. At this point Fay Hallam sidled over and whispered, 'I know I should know this, but who is that?' I think it was the sweetest thing I've heard this year.
“We had one chance to nail the second track, 'Afterglow', and we hopefully just about did it justice, as Mr Wood peered through the window of the control room. I was able to control my shaking nerves long enough to ask for a photo and was as relieved as fuck to be finished and outta there.”
Chris Farlowe: “It was really nice to see some of the old boys at the recording, like Ronnie Wood. Back in the day, of course, he had a band called The Thunderbirds. He came down to the Flamingo one night to see us – everyone used to come and see Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds when we used to play because we were the 'in' band – and he realized that they couldn't keep the name Thunderbirds anymore because we were the top band at the time. So he changed it to The Birds.”
Ron Wood: “It was nice to see Chris Farlowe and it will be nice to see Pat [PP Arnold], as I haven't seen her for years. I used to share a flat with her and Jimi Hendrix in Holland Park. So that will be good to jog some memories.”
PP Arnold: “He said we shared a flat? No, Ron Wood lived in MY house. I had a house and Ron and his girlfriend Chrissie stayed with me and my kids for a while in '67.”
Steve Rinaldi: “After Ron had laid down his guitar part, the studio door opened and dozens of people who been kept outside for the recording managed to get in. I think Ron was a bit freaked out by the number of people in the studio. He was whisked to the pub by his brother, Art Wood. Apparently some workmen in the pub kept calling him 'Keef'.”
Buddy Ascott: “Ronnie Wood was a gentleman with everyone at the session – he had time for every snap, autograph and star-struck chat. What a genuinely pleasant chap he was. I was also lucky enough to stay and see him lay down the guitar solos needed and it was a privilege to watch him work - different class.”
PP Arnold: “I wish he'd stayed around and waited for me – I was really looking forward to seeing him. These days I'm so disconnected with my mates. We were all mates - this was before everyone became superstars and celebrities.”
Chris Farlowe: “Pat Arnold is lovely. I first met her when I was doing my album The Art Of Chris Farlowe. She came in with Tina Turner And The Ikettes, because she was one of the original Ikettes. That's how we started to know each other. And then she went around with Stevie Marriot – Stevie always said that I was his favourite rhythm and blues singer – and then we became friends all the time.”
Mark Joseph: “I felt very privileged to be amongst such great singers. PP Arnold, obviously, but it was very cool to meet Chris Farlowe. And with Ronnie Wood playing guitar, and Steve Craddock, it's just really cool to be on the same record as people like that.”
Chris Farlowe: “The record sounds really good. The guitarists are good and there are some good names on it. It sounds great – a rocking track.”
Steve Craddock: “It was good to be involved with the record. It was a pleasure to do it. It was nice to hear Ron Wood play. He's pretty good isn't he? And it was good to see Pat Arnold.”
Steve Rinaldi: “PP Arnold and Steve Craddock obviously knew each other pretty well – she'd toured with Ocean Colour Scene and they'd had a hit together – but it was obvious they hadn't seen each other for a while. She arrived just as Steve was finishing playing and he was really keen to take her outside to meet his child who was being looked after away from the mayhem of the studio. The session was kind of turning into a very friendly get together with a lot of old friends who hadn't seen each other for a while. Jimmy Winston had brought his daughter as well, and she was going to do a bit of singing on one of the songs. Ian Page had the idea that he wanted to get the women to sing on “Afterglow'.”
Mark Joseph: “I can't pretend to talk you through b-sides and rarities of the Small Faces, but when it comes to those big tunes like 'Afterglow', well that's one hell of a tune and one hell of a voice. I'm pleased we're recording that too.”
Steve Rinaldi: “Steve Marriott had originally intended PP Arnold to sing 'Afterglow' when he wrote it but legend has it that after seeing her reaction to the song, he decided to keep it for the Small Faces and gave her '(If You Think You're) Groovy' instead.”
PP Arnold: “It was Steve's song, you know what I mean – and 'Groovy' was cool, I was into 'Groovy'. Hey, when you're dealing with someone else's song that was okay and Steve and I were mates, we were really good mates so I didn't mind.”
Steve Rinaldi: “Another really nice moment happened on the Sunday. PP Arnold mentioned in passing that she'd had a dream about her old friend Steve Marriott the night before. The experience of recording the track had obviously triggered some memories.”
PP Arnold: “In the dream Stevie and I were writing a song together – when I woke up, I sat down and finished the song by myself.”
Dave Cairns: “It was a real privilege to see PP Arnold singing at the session. Back in the early '70s there were two compilations that were put out by CBS and they featured mainly American acts but one of the tracks was PP Arnold singing the Beach Boys song 'God Only Knows'. I loved the original but PP Arnold's version was beautiful and haunting and it always stuck with me because it was one of the best cover versions I'd ever heard. So I was really intrigued when I heard she would be at the Mod Aid recording and I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time talking to her about the song and telling her what it had meant to me.”
Steve Rinaldi: “One of the most amazing things about the recording session was having that genuine connection with the Small Faces. PP Arnold had been a close friend of the band, as had Chris Farlowe. And obviously, Jimmy Winston was at the recording – as the original Small Faces keyboard player he had been on 'Wat'cha Gonna Do About It?' the first time around.
“Then, on the second day of recording, Steve Marriott's daughter Molly turned up. I think she was just expecting to do some backing vocals, but PP Arnold stepped aside and encouraged her to have a go at a lead vocal on 'Afterglow'. On what would have been Steve Marriot's 58 birthday, his daughter ended up singing 'Afterglow' while staring through to the control room at the woman who her father originally wrote the song for. It was an amazing experience to witness.”
Molly Marriott: “It felt very strange with it being his birthday. I don't usually sing my dad's songs to avoid being compared to him, so that was one of the things I was worrying about today – people thinking 'she's Steve Marriot's daughter – is she going to sound like him', which obviously I don't, but hopefully I've done him proud.”
Steve Rinaldi: “Molly seemed very nervous when she started and she had one go at singing it with Jimmy Winston's daughter, but they couldn't quite get it to gel together. Then she tried it again by herself and it was fantastic. PP Arnold was encouraging her through every line – and at one point Pat rushed into the recording room to talk Molly through the lyrics, really getting to the core of the song's meaning, explaining the real sentiments behind the song. That was quite a special moment.”
Molly Marriott: “It was very nerve-wracking. I felt like I was in a goldfish with everyone looking through while I was singing. It was great though because I had PP Arnold as a vocal coach – who's complaining there. Lots of people would pay lots of money to have her as a vocal coach and I get it for free. I'm so glad she was there because she's really helped me and made me feel comfortable with it and given me guidance, so it was good.”
Steve Rinaldi: “I think the whole record worked really well and there are some great performances on it. I was lucky enough to do my little trombone part and join in with the backing vocals on the song. But the most important thing is that people all gave their time to try and make a difference.”