Guide to British Music of the 1960s

August 2006

DVD Review

Ronnie Lane - The Passing Show

When this documentary was shown on BBC television earlier in 2006, it received a very positive reaction. Now available in extended form on DVD, The Passing Show documents the life of the former member of The Small Faces and The Faces and founder of, as he himself described, the “aptly-named” Slim Chance.

Born and brought up in the East End of London, he formed his first band, The Outcasts, with Kenney Jones. Steve Marriott joined the band on stage one night, causing general havoc that meant the Outcasts never played together again. However, The Small Faces were born. A string of hit singles followed with the band making the transition from Mods playing hard-hitting R&B to a more thoughtful and experimental sound on the edge of the English psychedelic movement. At this time, the band produced the superb Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake¸ one of the first concept albums. The group played the whole of the concept side as well as other tracks on the BBC’s Colour Me Pop and some of these are included here.

However, Marriott wanted to change the band’s direction but instead left to form Humble Pie with Peter Frampton. The other Small Faces recruited Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, both of whom failed the height test, and the band was renamed The Faces. The Faces must have been one of the hardest-drinking bands around and a superb live act, some of which is shown on the DVD. Many have said that Ronnie Lane was the heart and soul of the group and he wrote many of the songs. His lead vocals though were restricted to the first verse of McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed and songs like Richmond. He became more and more frustrated, especially when Rod Stewart’s solo career was starting to divert attention from the group. Maggie May, for example, was a Faces song that was billed as Rod Stewart solo. Lane decided to leave and do his own thing.

Ronnie Lane was quite different to the other members of the Faces and Small Faces. He was a bit of a maverick and he opted to make his own way with little regard for the fashions of the time. He formed Slim Chance and started to develop a folk-country sound. There were hits with How Come and The Poacher. A clip of How Come comes from BBC’s Nationwide of all places.

The producers have interviewed many from Ronnie’s life including the surviving Small Faces Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones, brother Stan Lane, Glyn Johns, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend. The BBC archive was essential as it provided clips of Slim Chance, the Faces

Bonus scenes included on the DVD are a version of Kuschty Rye by Henry McCulloch.

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