Ronnie Lane - One For the Road

Posted by Miss Ess, June 18, 2008 05:27pm | Post a Comment
Ronnie Lane is one of those musicians who never really got recognized for the great talent he was.

He was mostly know for being in the Small Faces and the Faces, where he played bass and wrote songs, but was largely overshadowed by front men Steve Marriott and Rod Stewart, respectively. 

His later work both as a solo artist and with his band Slim Chances is what I have really been enjoying lately. He left the Faces in '72 and chose a quieter life on a large farm in Wales.  At one point he arranged a tour that was literally a circus-- they traveled as a caravan across England and set up tents, had animal attractions, etc. It was Ronnie's dream and it turned out to be a financial failure he never really recovered from.

Some of his songs for his first solo album, Anymore for Anymore, were recorded by the band outdoors in the hills of his property, surrounded by sheep and children playing.That era of the early to mid 70s seems to have been the most idyllic of his life.

And here's a performance of the lead track from that album, "How Come":

Lane's music fits into the classic rock idiom in some ways, the Americana idiom in others, but it has a buoyancy and a sparky energy that make it special and idiosyncratic. Ronnie's essence is truly captured in his songs.

I recently watched a documentary about him, The Passing Show, which contains awesome live footage and interviews with friends and family. Although one interview with Ronnie is contained in the film, his voice is noticeably and sadly largely missing from the 2006 movie; Ronnie Lane died of complications due to multiple sclerosis in 1997.Throughout his illness, his medical bills had kindly been paid by friends such as Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart.

Unfortunately it's difficult to find many of his recordings, either on vinyl or cd. Used copies float through Amoeba from time to time, and there are also some compilations that include much of his fantastic work, including the one I have, Just For A Moment.

I love this performance of "You Never Can Tell" from the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1974. 

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Ronnie Lane (2), The Passing Show (1), Slim Chances (1)