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Ronnie Lane - Just For A Moment (Music 1973-1997)

  by Keith How

published: 14 / 5 / 2019

Ronnie Lane - Just For A Moment (Music 1973-1997)
Label: UMC
Format: CD Box


Incredible Ronnie Lane six CD box set which includes rare, unreleased live tracks and outtakes and proves essential for all fans

I‘m sitting in my favourite chair with some freshly brewed coffee (Columbian) watching a pair of blackbirds industriously feeding newly hatched chicks hidden away in our ivy. I‘m working through Ronnie Lane's fantastic six CD retrospective collection, and his no-nonsense, bucolic songs highlight this natural activity outside and give a wonderful sense of time travel back to a time when everything was new and a little simpler, and Ronnie Lane had gone native. This is not really the place for a history lesson. The lovely book that accompanies this all encompassing collection does that in detail. Briefly, however, Ronnie 'Plonk' Lane was, of course, bass player and co-songwriter with the wonderful Mod darlings the Small Faces, who dissolved in 1968 when Steve Marriott, disenchanted with pop music, joined Peter Frampton in Humble Pie. The remaining band members eventually joined forces with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart, who were with the Jeff Beck Group. Renaming themselves the Faces, this new group became a good time rock and roll band, headed up by frontman Rod Stewart‘s flamboyant stage presence and the band‘s seemingly devil may care attitude. 'First Step' (1970) was a breath of fresh air. My first encounter was seeing them perform 'Flying' on 'Top of the Pops'. They were just fantastic and became a firm favourite of both myself and John Peel. The Faces were a heady brew of rock and roll, blues and a hint of progressive music that was simply intoxicating. Lane played bass and vocals and was heavily involved in the songwriting. His song 'Debris' on their 1971 third album 'A Nod's as Good as a Wink...to a Blind Horse' was an indication of his powerful songwriting ability. Lane‘s time with the Faces came to an end in 1973 after their fourth album 'Ooh La La' received poor reviews, and Rod Stewart put full focus on his blossoming solo career. Upping stick, Lane headed to a farm in Wales and formed Slim Chance. 'For Just a Moment (Music 1973-1997)' takes on the task of documenting Ronnie Lane's solo career. The presentation is superb and, as mentioned, the book is as comprehensive as you like. Made up of six discs, this is a completist's heaven. Disc 1 delves into 1974's 'Anymore For Anymore'. The singles 'How Come' (no. 11) and 'The Poacher'(no. 36) brought some early success for Lane‘s blend of folk rock and country music. Assisted by Gallagher and Lyle, this rootsy album recorded at his farm has a wonderful carefree feel of a man just doing his own thing. The twenty-one tracks here include unreleased live tracks and alternate takes of the singles. Disc 2 revolves around late 1974's 'Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance'. It is a delightful album that is totally unasuming and gentle. Made up of both original compositions and covers, it reflects a sense of rurality and artistic freedom. The cover has a sepia portrait of Lane looking like a travelling man (which he would become while touring his ambitious 'The Passing Show' carnival show). Here Lane captures a sense of the countryside with the ease of a man happy with himself. His rendition of 'I'm Just a Country Boy' is just perfect. 1976‘‘s 'One for the Road', complete with outtakes, live versions and collaborations and with his buddy Pete Townshend on board, make up the twenty-two tracks on disc 3. The cover shows his band, a bunch of raggle taggle gypsies who were plying their wonderful homespun English folk and country vibe around the country seemingly at odds with current musical trends and far removed from the almost glam rock of the Faces at the end of their time. 'Burnin‘ Summer' and 'Harvest Home' are fine examples of Lane at his most lyrical and rural. After working with Pete Townshend and friends on 'Rough Mix' (1977), an overlooked classic album (several tracks are included here), Lane returned with a fine album, 'See Me' (1979) with some stand out performances (Disc 4). Lane collaborated with Eric Clapton on it and took on a nomadiclifestyle touring in ramshackle old vehicles. Sadly around this period Ronnie was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Disc 5 captures eighteen live tracks and demos from the early 1980s and are a joy to listen to. "Tight but loose“ might be a phrase to describe the sense of good time bar room music. 'Lads Got No Money' is wonderful while 'Rats Tales' is just great fun and capture the magic of his live performances, particularly Rockpalast in 1980. In 1994 Lane relocated in the United States, ending up in Austin, Texas hopeful that the climate would be beneficial to his health. Here, surrounded by like minded musicians, he formed the American version of Slim Chance and thankfully some of these performances are found on disc 6 along with radio sessions and outtakes. Totalling nineteen tracks, these gems are a real delight to encounter and include a great version of 'Ooh La La' and the legendary 'Spiritual Babe'. Lane finally succumbed to Multiple Sclerosis on June 4th 1997 aged 51. Pete Townshend recounted that Ronnie Lane left for America to find healing and never returned. Townshend, Rod Stewart and Jimmy Page paid for his health care, and numerous tribute albums and concerts have paid tributes to a true musical nomadic spirit. 'Just for a Moment (Music 1973-1997)' is a fitting memorial.

Track Listing:-

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