Debris by The Faces is the band at their loosest yet least louche. It was written by Ronnie Lane, Faces’ bass player and, as would become apparent, the one Face capable of writing a song that didn’t celebrate their shallow, rock starry approach to life. Stay With Me,Cindy Incidentally et al are magic tracks, ideal for getting dressed to go out on a Saturday night or for a drive on the motorway if you’re feeling the need to creep beyond the speed limit, but Debris will bring you right back down to earth with a swell in your heart and a tear in your eye. A real Lane changer in every sense.
It’s the saddest song in the Faces’ livin’ and lovin’ back catalogue.
The following input us from the ever-reliable Marc Wishart.
Sorry, Craig, he says, but you’ve totally misread the song….
Written by Ronnie for his much-loved Dad, Stan, it’s a song about gaining a different perspective on life as you grow older. The titular Debris was the name of the local rag market.
(Thanks to Marc Wishart for the factual input.)
Now we both know you got no money
And I wonder what you would have done
Without me hanging around
The Faces – Debris
Longer than the combined lengths of Ronnie Wood’s and Rod Stewart’s not insignificant hooters, it meanders beautifully on a bed of open-tuned, loosely-scrubbed acoustic guitar that allows Wood’s electric lead to wander all over the top at will. It’s this guitar playing that would see Ronnie confirm his transfer to the Stones where he still plays the perfect foil for Keith Richard’s five-string riffing. Indeed, with it’s early 70s, live in the studio, one-take feel, Debris could easily be a long-lost Stones classic.
It just about hangs together thanks to the glue created by Ronnie Lane and Rod Stewart’s terrifically layered twin vocal; Lane’s on lamenting lead, all effortless introspection, with Rod jumping in and out on the chorus with his perfectly-pitched gravelly harmonies. You might go so far as to say that Rod gives one of his best-ever vocal performances. The addition of his voice lifts an already-great track into a whole other level of brilliance. Of course, a decade later he’d be prancing around in leopard skin lycra and a yellow sun visor, putting ill-advised fashion and production before The Song, so you’d be best to appreciate Rod this way. If ever a vocalist betrayed his God-given talent, it’s good old Rod. I suspect you knew that already though.