Although Ronnie Lane's songs with Small Faces and Faces are accepted as landmark examples of British countercultural history, his work and life after 1973, when he parted from Faces, has been somewhat overlooked by the collected accounts of the period.
Together with Steve Marriott Lane had written the like of 'Itchycoo Park', 'All Or Nothing' as well as much of 'Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake' the latter now regarded as a keystone piece in what became the mod culture and proliferation of psychedelia. In contrast Lane's career after 1973 is much less well-known, despite his spectacular attempts to think outside the common constraints of the standard rock 'n' roll band, and collaborations with the like of Ron Wood and Pete Townshend.
"For me the music here brings a joyful tear. How wonderful to get a sense of the entire arc of Ronnie’s work, rough and smooth, lost and found."
- Pete Townshend
Lane left the music industry behind in a way, moving to a farm on the Welsh/English border and even attending agricultural college to learn the ropes. He formed a new band, Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance but instead of touring clubs and venues, he created The Passing Show, a circus tent roadshow that also included clowns, acrobats and comedians and even boasted Viv Stanshall, from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band as its ringmaster for a while.
Likewise, instead of heading to Abbey Road or the like for recording sessions, he built The Lane Mobile Studio, allowing him to make new music on the go.
Due to his obligation to record another album to fulfil his contract, Lane teamed up with Pete Townshend to make 'Rough Mix'. The LP was produced by Glyn Johns who had previously worked with The Who and Faces. Though lauded by critics, the label chose not to promote the album, and the resulting sales were poor, despite the record's all-star cast and its innovative minimalist recording methods.
"Here, in these songs, collected with such love and care, he is found again. Probably at the height of his rebellious and chaotic powers, where music had to be immediate and uplifting, or else heart-breaking – but always real."
A new 6 disc box set titled, Ronnie Lane - Just For A Moment: Music 1973-1997 will set out to celebrate Lane's under-appreciated work recorded between his departure from Faces and his death in 1997.
The set includes all four of Ronnie Lane's solo albums as well as material from Rough Mix, his LP with fellow Faces member Ron Wood and previously unreleased recordings from concerts and BBC sessions. The accompanying book and sleevenotes include accounts from members of Slim Chance and Pete Townshend.
Ronnie Lane - Just For A Moment: Music 1973-1997 will be released by Universal Music Catalogue on 17th May 2019.