Want to take a tilt at immortality? Then write a great song. It will live on long after you are gone. Proof positive here on New Cross Road, the third album without him from the late Ronnie (Small Faces) Lane’s band, Slim Chance. At the risk of sounding like a “Friends” Episode list, there’s the one he wrote for his debut solo album, ‘Chicken Wired’; there’s the one he wrote with (his wife) Kate Lambert and Eric Clapton, ‘Annie’; the one he wrote for the Faces’ Nod’s As Good As A Wink… album, ‘Debris’, and the little known one he wrote for Live In Austen, ‘Spritual Babe’.
And as each one plays you can see and feel Lane’s backstory looming large in the rear-view mirror. Each song has a twinkle in its eye.His poetic look at life and death on ‘Annie’ and his profound, haunting ode to his father, ‘Debris’, are perhaps the ones with stamina – durable, memorable.
That’s not to say this talented band haven’t written some pretty decent material here themselves. The three originals…Steve Bingham, Charlie Hart, Steve Simpson, remain present and politically incorrect, thankfully, boosted to a six piece by the regular input of legendary guitarist/vocalist Billy Nicholls (search out his Would You Believe solo album), ex Rory Gallagher drummer, Brendan O’Neill and keyboard, piano and accordion player, Geraint Watkins.
The whole album is shot through with their bracingly down to earth rock songs. The Watkins/Bingham opener, ‘Let’s Go Home’ – a Fats Domino-esque romp through a quick blast of good time Zydeco, and Hart’s deceptively mellow closing track ‘Roll The Dice’ are both foot tappingly enjoyable slices of earthy, man-in-the-street rock’n’roll.
Even Bingham’s interminably rambling ‘Flossie Lane’ and Watkin’s shuffling ‘Mr Jones’, both fleshed out by flourishes of bluesy guitarwork and honkytonk piano, settle quickly into a comfortable groove.
Clearly, Lane is large in their memory still. No waiting for tomorrow for these guys.
- Lets Go Home
- Flossie Lane
- Chicken Wired
- Mr Jones
- Spiritual Babe
- Roll The Dice