Home | Small Faces Story | Tour of London | Discography | Features | Members | Books | Links | A-Z | Contact

What's New

Review from Goldmine, 13 February 1998

Ronnie Lane With Slim Chance

You Never Can Tell

(New Millenium Communications Pilot 11)

Kuschty Rye - The Singles

(New Millenium Communications Pilot 19)

Anymore For Anymore

(New Millenium Communications Pilot 15)

British label New Millenium Communications, in conjunction with the Lane family, has released three excellent new Ronnie Lane releases in 1997. The BBC live disc You Never Can Tell was planned for release prior to Lane's death in June, 1997. It's a two-disc compilation of sessions done for BBC radio between 1973 and 1976 that serves as a very fitting memorial to a great songwriter and charming performer. The release was primarily made possible by Lane's brother Stan, and has one of the loveliest packages of any CD I've seen lately, with lots of great photos, posters, an essay, and a brief interview with Lana, who was Lane's step-daughter during the Slim Chance years, and attended the events put on by Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance's Passing Show.

Disc One comprises all three Peel Sessions shows, beginning with the fall 1973 set half a year after Lane left the Faces, and continuing through 1974 and 1976, which means that most of the different line-ups of Slim Chance are included though sadly not credited individually on this CD). Disc two contains over 70 minutes with two complete lengthy sets taken from BBC's In Concert series, in 1974 and 1976. The sound quality is really excellent overall, although the longer of the two shows on disc two has Lane's lead vocals a bit too low in the mix. Many of Lane's best solo originals are included: One For the Road, Don't Try 'n' Change My Mind, Steppin' & Reelin' (The Wedding Song), Chicken Wired, and How Come, along with Lane's renditions of Faces classics like You're So Rude, Ooh La La, Flags & Banners, and Last Orders, and a great version of the Small Faces' biggest hit, All Or Nothing. There are also some great covers: two versions of the Chuck Berry title song and a great cover of the Stones' Sweet Virginia (with clean lyrics, a wonderfully appropriate cover for Lane to do.

Ronnie Lane was at his best on these boozy, primarily acoustic English folk/music hall numbers. Touring with Slim Chance as essentially a gypsy caravan/travelling circus was an expensive, risky, and whole-heartedly non-commercial proposition, since Lane's love for mandolins and whimsical acoustic numbers was hardly mainstream fodder in the heyday of progressive rock and the beginning of the mega-platinum arena tour years. Few got to see Slim Chance play live, but for years those shows were remembered as charmingly adventurous and eccentric. Now the experience can be shared by fans everywhere.

Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance was cheeky, romantic, love-lorn, wistful, and sometimes even a bit sarcastic. If you've ever wanted to hear Lane at his best in the post-Faces days, You Never Can Tell is probably the ideal place to start. On a par with excellent BBC collections by The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, this is a near-perfect collection of hits, misses, and should-have-beens. Recommended.

Almost equally good is Kuschty Rye - The Singles 1973-1980, which is a collection of all of Lane's solo singles and b-sides, in chronological order, with lovely packaging, and two bonus tracks recorded live at the Victoria Palace in 1975: Stone (aka Evolution), the Lane original found on The Faces' First Step album and on Pete Townshend's Who Came First, and another fine version of the Stones' Sweet Virginia, this time with uncensored lyrics. Most of Lane's best solo tunes were released on singles or b-sides, so this one is also highly recommended, with great sound and superlative packaging.

Finally, there's the best ever reissue of Lane's first and finest solo album, 1974's Anymore For Anymore, with yet another first-rate package, liner notes from Lane biographer Wayne Pernu (the bio should be out in 1998), and 7 bonus tracks. Five of the bonus tracks are alternate takes or remixes of tracks included on the album, but the other two are particularly worthy. First is an acoustic outtake of Lane's first single and biggest hit, How Come, which is Lane at his most charming. And closing out the album is a number from a Faces rehearsal in 1972, with the band running through a backing track for what would become Anymore For Anymore, with Lane merely humming to indicate where the vocals would be; while it's certainly not a significant track, it's fascinating to imagine what the song would have sounded like had it been included on the final Faces album. Anymore For Anymore is song for song easily the strongest of the four Ronnie Lane solo albums, and with this reissue, they've really done the job right.

Now, if we could just see a US release of a Best of Ronnie Lane that would include all the A-sides, five album tracks from Anymore For Anymore (Don't You Cry For Me, (Bye & Bye) Gonna See the King, Tell Everyone, Chicken Wired, and the title song), Barcelona from his final album See Me, and a selection of live BBC tracks from You Never Can Tell, perhaps with a pair of live radio tracks from his days in Austin, Texas, Ronnie Lane's recorded solo legacy will be complete.

Kent H. Benjamin

Privacy policy

Making Time 1995-2008