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RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:53 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Finally there seems to be some interest in Ronnie Lane amongst the wider world of music fans - Mojo is carrying a 2 part feature on the man and the Guardian recently carried this blog http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicb ... songwriter

It seems the interest comes about because of the Slim Chance dbl CD compilation that comes out in March (it features Ronnie's 2nd and 3rd solo albums and some live trax and demos - 2 versions of Ohh La La etc). First time I've heard these (I've not heard much of his debut album - deleted still i think) and I like them a lot. They're ramshackle but have a lovely feel and the best songs are very nice indeed. Tho i think Debris might be his finest moment as a vocalist (did he ever sing any Smalls tunes?).

Also, there's a massive push of Small Faces reissues coming out. There's a huge box set and a new Greatest Hits - I must warn you these feature only the Immediate recordings and nothing from their Decca era which means they feel rather incomplete (especially if you think their only No 1 All Or Nothing might have been their best single - as I sometimes do). Still, nice to see Plonk getting the attention rather than the focus being on Marriott or Stewart. I've loved the Smalls since I was a kid and the Faces for about the same time without having much idea of their oeuvre beyond the Rod hits until more recently.

So: what are your favourite Ronnie songs? Have you ever listened to Rough Chance the lp he cut with Pete Townsend? And do you rate it? What about the records he made with Pete to celebrate Meher Baba in the early 70s - are these any good? Were the Small fAces reunion lps any good (I know, he's not on them but i do wonder) and did he do much else that I should hear? He lived in Austin, Texas, for a long time and used to play out a lot - Alejandro escovedo told me when he first arrived in Austin in the early 80s he was amazed to find Ronnie playing bars and joined one of his bands. Nice to think of Ronnie tutoring Alejandro!

Also: I might be chatting with Pete T on Ronnie - what would you like me to ask him?

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:14 pm
by john poole
Garth Cartwright wrote:did he ever sing any Smalls tunes?
Yes, he sang lead on album tracks, especially on the first Immediate LP where he had almost as many leads as Steve Marriott
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw6VpqeUXgQ

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:35 pm
by Adam Blake
Looks like the Faces essay I wrote about ten years ago is about to become relevant. C'est la vie. In it, I expressed the opinion that Ronnie Lane was the most talented member of the band. This was not something with which Garth was inclined to agree, as I recall.

Too many favourites to list but I will say that the Faces ensemble performance of Lane's "Tell Everyone" (second track off second album "Long Player") is one of the most soulful and beautiful things in British music. Lane did sing it it himself with Slim Chance but a love song as exquisite as that needs a singer as good as Rod. It also features Ronnie Wood's finest recorded guitar playing.

"Stone" (off the first Faces album) is a miraculous song too. It seems to be a traditional children's folk song but it's not.

"Debris" is probably his masterpiece, but all votes for "The Poacher" will be counted.

I saw the Small Faces re-union at The Rainbow in '78. It was sad. I never listened to the re-union albums.

The "Rough Mix" album with Pete Townshend has got at least one beautiful song on it - "Annie".

The Small Faces Immediate years is only the second half of the story. The first half of the story, the Decca years, is more exciting.

Also, not to be overlooked: Lane's completely unique bass style - which he took with him when he died.

The 2006 film "The Passing Show: The Life & Music Of Ronnie Lane" is essential viewing and is still available.

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:50 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Thanks for info'. Yes Adam I'd still stand by my previous claim that Rod was the most talented Face - a truly remarkable singer: Ronnie's good but could he have interpreted First Cut, Reason To Believe, Losing You etc with the feeling and power of Rod? I doubt it. Both great songwriters but the Slim Chance CDs aren't brimming with great songs so, again, Rod tips it. But what is amazing is that the Faces were so brimming with talent - every member playing to their very best! Ron Wood is so good with the Faces - why is he so undistinguished with The Stones? Why did Kenny Jones flail with The Who? Why has Mac done little of note post-Faces? Some amazing chemistry there. I recall the Ronnie doc on BBC4 - he got a little lost doing the rustic rock star thing and spunked his fortune (or some of it) on touring the UK with a Gypsy caravan and circus tent. The follies of the wealthy! Still, quite a remarkable talent and an interesting man. Spotify has the 1980 album he cut with Marriott which, on a cursory listen, is not bad at all. Funny how Marriott did so little of interest post-Smalls - Humble Pie being pretty dull at the best of times. Anyone ever see him play solo? I recall him playing pubs in London when i first arrived here with Packet of Three. Then he died in a fire before i got to see him. Anyway, any Ronnie thoughts, questions, tunes welcome here.

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:54 pm
by AndyM
It's a travesty if the new compilation doesn't have stuff from the first Slim Chance album, as that was the best by miles. 'The Poacher', as Adam said, is peerless, and Ronnie's version of the old country standard 'Roll On Babe' can make a grown man cry. Well, this grown man anyway. Presumably copyright politics are to blame.

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:51 pm
by Adam Blake
AndyM wrote:Ronnie's version of the old country standard 'Roll On Babe' can make a grown man cry. Well, this grown man anyway.


And this one.

Garth: Rod's talent is mostly interpretive. Ronnie's was mostly creative. I am not placing these different abilities in a pecking order but while there were other fine soul inflected singers in the early 70s - perhaps not as impeccable as Rod but still credible - no-one else was writing songs like Ronnie Lane. I would also like, once again, to mention his bass playing.

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:06 pm
by AndyM
What's striking about Ronnie Lane's best songs is that they show an emotional sensitivity without ever becoming drippy or fey (not that d + f can't be wonderful at times in the right hands). He couldn't have lasted in the Faces if he couldn't cut it as a boozy lad, but somehow there is also a real masculine tenderness which is remarkably rare. He might have called me an old poof for talking like that, but that's OK because I am.

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:12 pm
by Adam Blake
You bin reading my essay, Andy? (It's just I took considerably longer to make the same points!)

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:22 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Andy, there is an alternative take of The Poacher on the reissues but no Roll On, Babe. His first solo album was on a different label to Island so it's not available to join the 2 Island albums on reissue here. A shame.

Adam, yes different artists but Rod was also an amazing writer in his time. I don't honestly think they were very different individuals - lads who loved flash gear, ladies, cars, booze etc - but Ronnie had a spiritual questing (Meher Baba) and a vulnerability (via the shadow of ms) that Rod never possessed. And I do hear this in his music.

Rob Hall burned me some RL after the BBC4 programme that featured Kushtie Rye and other tunes. It's pleasant but in no way great. Kind of an attempt to create folksy. sing along English country music. What album is that? I will now go and try and find Roll On, Babe.

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:04 am
by AndyM
Adam Blake wrote:You bin reading my essay, Andy? (It's just I took considerably longer to make the same points!)


I read and enjoyed it when you first posted it here, Adam, but deny that I nicked your ideas!

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:22 am
by Rob Hall
Garth Cartwright wrote:Rob Hall burned me some RL after the BBC4 programme that featured Kushtie Rye and other tunes. It's pleasant but in no way great. Kind of an attempt to create folksy. sing along English country music. What album is that? I will now go and try and find Roll On, Babe.


Garth, the only RL albums that I have are 'Anymore for Anymore', 'How Come' (a compilation) and 'Rough Mix', the album he did with Pete Townshend. Anything I burned for you would have come from those 3. I don't think I would have put anything on there from 'Rough Mix' apart from 'Annie' which, as Adam has already said, is a thing of considerable beauty.

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:06 pm
by MartinOwen
Charlie Hart, who played fiddle with SlimChance played with Roger Daltry a fewtimes last year - including some sessions for Bob Harris. Charlie was a Blockhead before joining Ronnie.

Quite a considerable performer in his own right....
http://www.charliehart.com/subpages/grooves.htm

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:23 am
by David Flower
Charlie has been the main mover behind Slim Chance gigging again. This th week after next:

The Amazing
PENNY FOR THE WORKHOUSE
From Clapham via New Orleans
DIZ ‘HONEYBEAR’ WATSON &
TONY UTER
Miraculously Reborn!
SLIM CHANCE
WITH GERAINT WATKINS
Phenomenal Circus Skills from
CAELI STICK MEN
The Mighty
FISHPOOL SOUND SYSTEM
The Compere without Compare
JOHNNY ATKINSON
PLUS
SURPRISE SPECIAL GUESTS


Celebrating the release of the fantastic new 2CD
Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance ‘ Ooh La La: The Island Years’

DINGWALLS, 11 MIDDLE YARD, CAMDEN LOCK, NW1 8AB
7.30 pm . Wednesday March 12th

TICKETS: £15 advance from
www.dingwalls.com
Or on the door on the night.

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:55 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Well, I've done the q&a with Pete Townsend - after feature is published I will put them up here. No fool, PT. Sadly, Ronnie was something of a fool - reading about his hippy dippy gypsy caravan tour of 74 it really was a rich man's folly. Lost him a chunk of his fortune.

Rob, the compilation you copied for me draws almost entirely from RL's 4th and last (and weakest) solo album from 1979. Only 2 tunes from his earlier efforts. Which explains why it did not convert me when first heard.

Help me with this one - I'm trying to use the analogy of Lane's solo work being rediscovered being a bit like Nick Drake being discovered after his death. Who else in British music other than Nick has been celebrated many years after their recordings were first released? Vashti Bunyan comes to mind but I'm not too keen on her stuff.

Re: RONNIE LANE

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:04 pm
by AndyM
Not sure that parallel will hold fully. RL had hits & some residual fame from The Faces (and Small Faces), whereas Nick Drake meant very little outside of a small group of 'cognoscenti'.