Tuesday, April 1, 2014
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: RONNIE LANE AND SLIM CHANCE - OOH LA LA AN ISLAND HARVEST
Lane pulled a strange one when he gave up on The Faces, at a time when Rod Stewart's rocketing stardom was dragging that band into the forefront as well. But the long-time bass player (he was in Small Faces as well) had too many songs of his own, and little patience for Rod's solo flights. He wanted a band he could control.
On his own, Lane went in a completely different direction from the party-hardy rock and blues of The Faces. Instead, he went rural, embracing his own kind of folk music, melodic fare accentuated with fiddle, mandolin and acoustic instruments of all sorts, even tuba bass at times. It would have fit in today in fact, with your Mumfords et al. It does actually, sounding fresher now than it has since first released.
This double disc set cherry-picks cuts from his rather poor-selling 70's sets, adding some alternate takes and unreleased numbers to spice it up, plus a lengthy set recorded for the BBC with his band Slim Chance. It's lovely stuff, Lane sounding a bit like George Harrison vocally, and bringing a warm, communal vibe to all the music. Perhaps it wasn't such an odd plan after all, just not celebrated much at the time. It's well worth checking out.