BLUES matters issue 87



Valve Analogue Recordings

This is the second album in Des Horsfall’s trilogy celebrating the life and music of Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance following on from The Good Gentleman’s Tonic a few years back. Horsfall discovered Lane in 2008 – some 11 years after Lane’s death from MS – and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t more highly celebrated. In fact the three Slim Chance albums were unavailable other than as second hand. Personally I understand exactly what Horsfall saw in Lane’s music, having been a fan for many years and lucky enough to meet him a number of times, the gentle and melodic demi-Americana as well as his folky material but most importantly his emotion and his way of drawing you into his music without shouting or bragging. This album is a celebration of Lane’s music but includes a number of songs written by Horsfall that are completely in line with the music that epitomizes Ronnie Lane. The album is split into three sections – Morning, Afternoon and Evening – the first featuring Chameleon which was written by Pete Townshend (who plays guitar and adds vocal) and Kate Lane, Ronnie’s wife and muse and six other numbers written by Horsfall, Richmond Green is delightful with some sterling accordion from Charlie Hart and Whisky On Your Breath (a song to a drunken wife asking her to stop) which is pure country and avoids mawkishness – just. Afternoon is a conversation with Kate Lane interspersed between tracks and you definitely get a sense of the closeness between her and Ronnie. Great version of Pete Townshend’s Going Mobile leads into very personal tales of their time together including Ronnie’s reaction to being diagnosed with MS. The final piece is Evening, a single track Goodnight Ronnie Lane, based on Goodnight Irene and featuring chicken clucks as well as resonator guitar, harmonies between Horsfall and Kate Lane and a great sense of the bonhomie that always came across in Ronnie Lane’s playing. A superb album, very true to the memory of Ronnie Lane and guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of anyone who knew him or his music.

Alan Pearce