It’s become easy in recent years to damn Steve Marriott with faint praise, or to overlook him altogether. Small Faces fans and Humble Pie heads will demur, but his one-time fame has evaporated. Sad, because these four final shows – at the Half Moon, London; Logo in Hamburg; Dieselstrasse in Esslingen; and Sinkkasten, Frankfurt – taped three months before his death in a house fire in Essex, indicate that if he wasn’t doing anything new, then at least the old template wasn’t broken.
His familiar rasp and classy guitar work grace sets that duplicate each other but still thrill once favourites like Itchycoo Park, Watcha Gonna Do About It and the immortal All Or Nothing barge in, raising a smile and triggering happy memories.
All the CDs kick off with an instrumental version of Memphis, Tennessee and sign off with the Pie’s Natural Born Bugie, so cherry picking is in order.
Marriott’s R&B chops are best heard on his soulful Mr. Pitiful, since his knowledge of that genre was impeccable. Some of the rest is too knockabout, though, meaning this little packet of four is one for the diehards only.
Shortly after these shows, Marriott hooked up with Peter Frampton, but their reunion was doomed. That’s the story of Steve Marriott’s life.