Adam Faith: Three Classic Albums Plus

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Three classic albums, three EPs, 16 singles and a couple of bonus tracks from the movie Beat Girl all packaged in a double-CD release, showcase the vocal stylings of Adam Faith. It adds up to 64 songs and neatly encapsulates an important but short-lived era in British pop. It’s not jazz but the chances are a few jazzmen were on the studio sessions, and it does include “Summertime” and some blues.

Faith went on to be an actor (most notably in Budgie) and something of a financial guru (before things went awry and he was declared bankrupt), but first and foremost he was part of the first generation of British rock and rollers, scoring number one hits with “What Do You Want?” in late 1959 and “Poor Me” in early 1960. This collection includes both of those hits and plenty more, from Christmas novelty (“Lonely Pup (In a Christmas Shop)”) to songbook standards including a creditable stab at “Summertime”. 

Faith had talent – not the most powerful voice in the world but expressive and capable of delivering even the most banal lyric with the appearance of sincerity. The problem with this collection isn’t Faith, but the syrupy, string-laden arrangements that overwhelm his early hits and the first two of his albums, Adam and Adam Faith. The arrangements, by the great John Barry, were innovative at the time but sound dated today, especially the pizzicato strings that dominate many of the songs including “What Do You Want?”. Even when Faith tries to break lose on the bluesy “I’m a Man”, the strings keep control. Johnny Keating’s arrangements on From Adam With Love are more sympathetic to Faith’s voice. Many of the tracks on this album have a country feel (it sounds like Keating’s been listening to Nashville pianist Floyd Cramer) and instruments such as harmonica, piano, drums and guitar provide much of the backing.

Faith and his collaborators understood brevity – only three tracks are longer than three minutes and plenty don’t even make it to the two-minute mark. It’s a lesson worth learning by many current performers. As for his contribution to music, he’s by no means a front-rank personality but this collection is fun and demonstrates that Faith is worth his place in British pop history.

Discography
CD1: [Adam] Wonderful Time; Diamond Ring; Summertime; Greenfinger; Piper of Love; A Girl Like You; Turn Me Loose; So Many Ways; Singin’ in the Rain; Fare Thee Well My Pretty Maid; I’m a Man; Hit the Road to Dreamland [Adam’s Hit Parade Vol. 1] What Do You Want?; Poor Me; Someone Else’s Baby; Johnny Comes Marching Home [Adam Faith] Watch Your Step; I’ve Just Fallen in Love; I’m Coming Home; All These Things; It’s All Over Now; Come to Me; If I Had a Hammer (If I Had a Dollar); A Help-Each-Other Romance; Sho’ Know a Lot About Love; Second Time; I’m Gonna Love You Too; Little Yellow Roses; As Long as You Keep Loving Me; You and Me and the Gang [Adam’s Hit Parade Vol. 2] How About That; Easy Going Me; Who Am I; Lonely Pup (In a Christmas Shop) (77.09)
CD2: [From Adam With Love] I Ran All The Way Home; While I’m Away; Ballad of a Broken Heart; I’m Knocking on Wood; Going Up; I Got a Woman; Swimming in Tears; The King’s Highway; Butter Wouldn’t Melt in Your Mouth; Learning to Forget; You ‘N’ Me; Goin’ Home [Adam’s Hit Parade Vol. 3] As You Like It; Lonesome; Face to Face; Don’t You Know It? [Beat Girl Soundtrack] I Did What You Told Me; Made You [Singles] (Got A) Heartsick Feeling; Brother Heartache and Sister Tears; High School Confidential; Country Music Holiday; Ah, Poor Little Baby!; Runk Bunk; From Now Until Forever; The Reason; Big Time; With Open Arms; This Is It; Wonderin’; The Time Has Come; Don’t That Beat All; Mix Me a Person; Baby Take a Bow (71.40)
Faith (v) with uncredited musicians. No dates or places of recording given.
Avid Pop AMSC 1323