The Barfly London
7th February 2015
Yorkshire based country-rocker and record producer comes down to London with his Kuschty Rye project mixing songs from his solo albums with tunes from one of Ronnie Lane’s greatest LP’s. Louder Than War’s Craig Chaligne reviews.
Following his guest appearance at Slim Chance’s gig at The Half Moon last November, Des Horsfall made his return to London with his own project Kuschty Rye. Des has been a professional musician since the late 70’s and after almost “grabbing the trophy” (his words) in the mid nineties where a record deal fell through at the last minute, he started producing and engineering records from his own Valve Studio in Hebden Bridge. Des is a long time Ronnie Lane fan and listening to the songs from his first post Faces LP : Anymore For Anymore give him the impetus and inspiration to start recording an album of new material after almost a decade spent recording other people’s music. The result The Good Gentleman’s Tonic was published in 2011 to great acclaim (Pete Townshend called it “a killer record”).The setlist mixed tracks from Anymore For Anymore and The Good Gentleman’s Tonic with a few songs from Des’s back catalogue. The camaraderie between the band members was evident and it was particularly funny to see guitar player Andy McKerlie spoiling drummers James Newsome’s success with the ladies in the audience by making an announcement he was soon getting married… The band has obviously been playing together for several years and even the fact that their regular keyboard player has to step down at the last minute because of illness didn’t affect the performance. Des played some older tunes including the fantastic Whistle To Blow, the song that almost broke him into the mainstream in the 1990’s. Displaying an american classic rock vibe quite similar to Tom Petty’s nineteen nineties recordings, these are well crafted songs with memorable melodies. A few extarcts from The Bastard’s Tin the forthcoming album in a trilogy of 3 LP’s inspired by Ronnie Lane’s music were aired that night too. Des was joined by singer songwriter Dan Raza on a excellent version of Ronnie Lane’s How Come and the band closed the evening with a cover of The McGuiness Flint classic When I’m Dead And Gone.
All words by Craig Chaligne.
Half Moon, Putney
8th Nov 2014
Slim Chance make their way back to their spiritual home then proceed to play a storming set to a capacity crowd. Louder Than War’s Craig Chaligne was there.
After leaving The Faces in 1973, Ronnie lane formed his own band Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance. The band went through several incarnations until 1980 when Lane’s health started deteriorating due to Multiple Sclerosis. In 2004 the Ronnie Lane memorial concert took place at The Royal Albert Hall and saw a reformed Slim Chance participating in the evening’s proceedings. The man behind that evening’s line-up of Slim Chance was multi- instrumentalist Charlie Hart who after that one-off event put together a permanent line-up of Slim Chance in 2010. The band consists of Hart himself on keyboard, fiddle and accordion, Steve Simpson on guitar and mandolin and fiddle, Alun Davies on guitar, Steve Bingham on bass and Colin Davey on drums. The band are often joined by honorary Slim Chancer Geraint Watkins on keys. They have recorded a tribute to Ronnie Lane entitled The Show Goes On that came out in 2013.
The line-up at The Half Moon was slightly different as both Davies and Watkins were both touring with their main gigs (respectively Yusuf Islam and Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings). Colin Davey has departed but his replacement John Lingwood is a perfect fit. The task of covering for the two absentees fell to Yorkshire based musician Des Horsfall, a long time Ronnie Lane fan who’s backing band is actually named after of of Lane’s songs : Kuschtye Rye.
I had seen Slim Chance previously at the Elgiva Theatre in Chesham and although the gig was really good, it was nothing compared to their performance at The Half Moon. The venue was packed and Ronnie Lane’s brother Stan was in attendance as was Small Faces and Mod authority John Hellier. The particularity of Slim Chance is that every member of the band sings lead vocals at one point of the set. Charlie Hart sung lead on Kuschty Rye and Lads Got Money from Lane’s 1979 See Me album. Steve Bingham quipping that he always got the obscure songs to sing took the lead on Silly Little Man, a track first aired on Rough Mix, a collaboration album between Lane and Pete Townshend and on a spirited version of You’re so Rude. From Lane’s days in The Faces we were treated to excellent versions of Oh La La and Debris sung by Steve Simpson (the later featuring an an excellent guitar solo by Simpson ). The highlights of the gig were an excellent version of Done This One Before sung by Des Horsfall (sounding as good as Ronnie Lane on the original version) and the double whammy of Anniversary and The Poacher with Hart and Simpson dueling on fiddles. The gig finished with covers of You Never Can Tell and Goodnight Irene (songs that Lane often used to finish his gigs with) after which Stan Lane took the stage to thank the band and the audience and then looking at the ceiling and asking his late brother for his impression on the gig
Now Des is back with the second instalment of his Kuschty Rye Trilogy.
It’s called ‘The Bastard’s Tin’ and he’s brought along a couple more of Ronnie Lane’s compadres
for the ride.
Pete Townshend wrote the music, plays guitar and sings a joint vocal with Des on the album’s
leading track, ‘Chameleon’. Kate Lane (Ronnie’s second wife and also his muse) had given Des her
lyrics for the song after hearing ‘The Good Gentleman’s Tonic’, ‘Chameleon’ is a devotional love
letter from Kate to Ronnie. It was written following their separation, after he was diagnosed with
the early symptoms of MS. An intimate insight into the life they spent together can be found on
her commentary which introduces the songs in the second half of the album.
‘The Bastard’s Tin’ charts the course of a single day. It starts at dawn with an excerpt of Ronnie
and Kate singing ‘Single Saddle’ from the second Slim Chance LP. This leads into ‘Chameleon’ after
which Horsfall proceeds through the rest of the morning part of the record performing 6 of his
These songs reflect on life’s realities in a number of ways: From the value of friendships on ‘I Know
A Little Bit, to disappointment on ‘Richmond Green’ and ‘That’s Not On’. Then the heartbreak
of having to deal with a loved one’s addictions on the tracks; ‘Anyway’ and ‘Whisky On Your
Breath’. The album reaches its mid-day point with the realisation that time is marching on with
the touching and sensitive, ‘Further Down The Line’. Afternoon is heralded by the singing of a
skylark and the short instrumental, ‘Katie’s Jig’. Then Kate Lane takes up the story by introducing
the next sequence of songs. Her anecdotes relate to a period of time, often referred to as Ronnie
and Kate’s “Gypsy Years”. These events surrounded Ronnie’s decision to leave his band, The Faces
when their singer Rod Stewart, was starting his rise to fame and fortune.
The sequence commences with a Ronnified version of Townshend’s song, ‘Going Mobile’ (from the
classic Who album, ‘Who’s Next’) which is followed by Horsfall’s ‘Whistle To Blow’. A couple
of songs (‘Stone’ and ‘Debris’) follow from Ronnie Lane’s time with The Faces. Kate’s song, ‘Tin
& Tambourine’ is next and the album’s day ends with a rousing version of Ronnie’s swansong for
The Faces, ‘Ooh La La’. In the evening, everyone gathers around the kitchen table to sing Ronnie
and Kate’s favourite Leadbelly tune, ‘Goodnight Irene’.
Then up the Wooden Hill To Bedfordshire.
It’s the end of a perfect day.
All contained in ‘The Bastard’s Tin’.
For more information contact Graham Haigh, Creative Consortum
on 0161 877 2356 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A long time ago Ronnie Lane was a Face
Dreaming of pulling his horse from the race.
He discovered his Muse in a woman named Kate.
Then their own Passing Show held the Key to their fate.
“THE BASTARD’S TIN”
Part 2 of a trilogy of albums dedicated to Ronnie Lane and the band Slim Chance.
NEW RELEASE DUE IN 2015.
LIMITED EDITION NUMBERED AND SIGNED PROMOTIONAL COPIES AVAILABLE ONLY AT LIVE SHOWS FROM 1 JUNE 2015 WHILE STOCKS LAST.
Features the song ‘CHAMELEON’ with lyrics written by KATE LANE and music composed and performed by PETE TOWNSHEND, accompanied by THE FISHPOOL PHILHARMONIC.
‘The Bastard’s Tin’, which is album number two in the trilogy…is complete.
Sounding, and looking FABULOUS…….. featuring Pete Townshend!!
A limited, signed and numbered collectors edition is now available from Live Shows or Exclusively from
Muse Music, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
My musical & spiritual compadres
Been very busy lately in the Legendary Valve Analogue Recording Studio.
The new KUSCHTY RYE album is sounding fab…it’s the dogs danglers!
Wonderful contributions from Andy Wells on Hammond, Wurlitzer , backing vocals and percussion; along
with some very tasteful accordion from Mancunian Squeezer, Eamonn Dinan.
Just you wait….
Owned and operated by highly experienced acoustic instrument builder and top chap John Stafford.
Get one ordered right now!
Fresh, new and Eclectic music agency in Hebden Bridge owned and operated by highly experienced bookers and fixers, Dave & Viv Boardman. Doddnaze Artists is the booking agent for Des Horsfall’s KUSCHTY RYE and Slim Chance with Des Horsfall.