FOLK AND ROOTS
If I didn’t know different, I’d have taken this record for a lost Ronnie Lane album, so striking is the similarity in vibe and sound on the opening track, a rollin’-rockin’, laid-back cover of Careless Love that strides an endearing and efficacious good-time way through the old chestnut and gives due breathing space for some tasty soloing along the way in time-honoured fashion. And as it turns out, my gut feelings weren’t at all misplaced, for Yorkshire roots-rocker Des has fully intended the album as a deliberate tribute to the late great Faces bassist. Not only does he closely observe Ronnie’s own arrangement of Careless Love here, but he’s also even recruited three of the musicians from Ronnie’s Slim Chance band (Benny Gallagher, Charlie Hart and Steve Simpson), and they sure deliver the goods here.
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Right from the off it is apparent that the making of The Good Gentleman’s Tonic has been a labour of love; every aspect, from the liner notes to the super-deluxe packaging, exhibits an almost obsessive attention to detail. The aim? To be inspired by (but steer clear of aping) Ronnie Lane’s 1970s output with Slim Chance. This Andy Bell-produced release takes in folk, country, blues and rock and is intended as the first in a trilogy of Kuschty Rye releases to mirror the albums put out by Slim Chance.
Judging this album as a release in its own right and divorcing it from the story of its conception is a difficult task. That said, it stands up well, is superbly produced and has moments that are truly engaging. ‘Tonic’ kicks off with “Careless Love,” a good time number that sounds like it’s played by a raggle-taggle band of gypsies. “Nothing New” is an extremely memorable accordion-driven number with great harmonies.
This is a sumptuous package put together by country-roots rocker Des Horsfall to honour the late great Ronnie Lane. Des set out to make an album that would create a similar sound and feel to Ronnie’s post faces band Slim Chance. He called in some of Ronnie’s contemporaries to evoke the feeling of a travelling show that Slim Chance was known for, thus there are guest appearances by original Slim Chance members Benny Gallagher, Charlie Hart and Steve Simpson.
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MAVERICK five star review!!!
The good folk at Maverick are raving about the album in the July 2011 issue (issue 108).
‘totally gob-smacked – it was fantastic’
‘The whole CD package is top class’
‘What a great tribute to one of music’s best loved stars’.
Maverick is subscription only. You can buy the July issue now for £2 at http://www.maverickcountry.com
WHISPERIN’ AND HOLLERIN’
Journeyman musician DES HORSFALL has been around the block many times without ever bothering Rock’n’Roll’s chart scorers. Having slogged it out as part of Hard Rock outfits like Raw Deal and Turbo over the last few decades to little avail, he eventually retreated back to his native Yorkshire convinced he’d never hit the big time.
If we’re to believe the romance of what happened next, chance encounters with gypsies and tea leaves then befell Des and – with a lot of help from his inherent love of late Small Face Ronnie Lane’ back catalogue – it offered him an unlikely direction. And a tangible future to boot….read more
Des Horsfall is a serious addict – an addict of Ronnie Lane, Small Faces and, as is mentioned often throughout this package, Yorkshire Gold Tea – you even get a free tea-bag of the stuff, presented in a gold envelope glued to the impressive and informative CD package. But write this off as aimless pastiche, at your peril – Horsfall has crafted a decent album of rootsy rock and pop that sounds like it arrived via Doctor Who’s tardis from the ’70s, but so what, when it’s this good?…read more
Honouring the legend of the late great Ronnie Lane, in the only way he knew how, roots-rocker Des Horsfall and his band Kuschty Rye embarked on a journey. It was a journey which resulted in the superbly packaged album you have in your hands today, entitled THE GOOD GENTLEMAN’S TONIC.
Recorded at Valve Studios with producer Andy Bell at the helm, the release takes in folk, country, blues, rock and pop influences, reminiscent of Ronnie Lane’s own post Faces work with the legendary Slim Chance. To create a truly fitting tribute to the legend, Des enlisted the help of many of Ronnie’s contemporaries to fully evoke the feel of the Travelling Show that Slim Chance was famously known for.
When I heard the first track on”The Good Gentleman’s Tonic, I thought this was going to be a novelty, particularly as it comes with a teabag, but after a while I realised that 10/11ths of Des Horsfall’s Kuschty Rye album are beautiful flights of shrewed observation and whimsy…..
A veteran roots-rocker singer-songwriter, Horsfall’s a bit of a fan of the late Ronnie Lane, the former Small Faces bassist who went on to form Slim Chance. Indeed, his band (which features Andy McKerlie and Katriona Gilmore) is named after Lane’s 1979 single and signature tune while he says the title of the album is a rough translation from the Romany. In a way it does. Rye derives from the word for a lord while a Romany Rye, the title of George Borrow’s autobiographical 19th century novel, means someone of standing who associates with gypsies, or, to put it another way, a Gypsy Gentleman. So, Kuschty is a variation of Kushty from the old English Romany word for ‘happiness’ that could easily be a tonic. There, that’s your lesson in word origins for today….read more
Kuschty Rye: Des Horsfall claims it means A Good Gentleman but he’s lifted it from Ronnie Lane and I can’t find any corroboration on that. Maybe Ronnie invented it, and if he did then that’s just fine. This album is Des’s tribute to Slim Chance era Ronnie Lane and he’s gone overboard on the whole concept; Slim Chance band members Charlie Hart and Steve Simpson have been recruited, the late Professor Stanley Unwin’s son, John Unwin, narrates a tale of the album’s making in a nod to his father’s appearance on Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, there’s a cover of Ronnie’s own cover of Careless Love, which appeared on Anymore For Anymore, and there’s an extraordinarily lush package for the cd, complete with a complementary teabag of Yorkshire Tea, as featured in John Unwin’s tale….read more
In this homage to the late Ronnie Lane, Des Horsfall presents a beautifully packaged album inspired by the Small Faces/Faces legend, with ten roots rockers including the traditional Careless Love, a song familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in the music of Ronnie Lane, the song that opened Lane’s classic debut solo album in 1974. With Horsfall’s three-piece band, Kuschty Rye, named after one of Lane’s songs, Andy McKerlie and Katriona Gilmore contribute some multi-instrumental support, along with a handful of ‘glorious guests’ including Charlie Hart on fiddle and accordion, Steve Simpson also on fiddle, Slim Chance stalwart Benny Gallagher on vocals and harmonica….read more