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Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance - One For The Road
by Staffan Solding in the Swedish LARM #2,  May 1976

If you hadn't heard and seen Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance before, you wouldn't believe it's true, what you heard on "One For The Road" as their new is named. Because among forever riffing guitarists and stone pillars as musicians, the bruising, swaying and joyful musical creation that Slim Chance express, seem like lunacy.

"Anymore For Anymore" and "Ronnie Lane's Slime Chance" have given us a premonition of what would be coming, but deep within we were a bit afraid and insecure if Slim Chance now give it all.

Ronnie's place in the English sixties rock scene were as know as bass player in Small Faces. This together with the differences with Ruan O'Lochlainn (Which lead to him leaving the group) would very well leave deep negative traces in the music of Slim Chance. Apparently it wasn't so. The experiences from the time with Faces have lead to a new attitude musically and ideology with Ronnie. This, and at the same time the resolving of differences within Slim Chance, and the music reached a qualitively higher level.

Are we seeing this form of music that Slim Chance express as a reaction against the strongly promoted mastodon-rock or is it a natural development in the English music tradition? With no doubt there is much English in Slim Chance, but at the same time they aren't just reaction as form of music, but also as a music distribution, a form of life. A reaction against the gigantic tours, against falsehood, against carrying apart the musicians from the listeners - both in a musically and a sensitive way.

From this point of view it isn't hard see how Ronnie have worked together Slim Chance with material and musicians. Charlie Hart with his small ingenious piano-playing and swaying fiddle accompaniment. Steve Simpson with his sensitive powerful mandolin, guitar and fiddle. Colin Davey and Brian Belshaw with their heavy, steady in beat rhythm-markings. There probably still is a little craziness, but on "One For The Road" it's organized. Where have we ever before heard a string-section as on "Don't Try 'n' Change My Mind"? Instead of calling for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Charlie Hart and Steve Simpson jump their worn-out fiddles and scraping frenetically.

Where have they ever used a more wonderful chorus then in "32 Street"? It isn't a soft cold disco-choir, no. It's sounds like Charlie, Colin, Steve and Brian were locked out and with a last effort managed to enter the studio and in wild disorder throws themself over the microphones.

Where have we ever heard a more soft irritating mandolin as on "One For The Road", put together by Steve Simpson?

Where have we ever heard bass and drums that in a rumbling, noisy and sensitive way keeping spirit and pace? Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance still dreaming of a comercial success, but it's hard finding, traveling about the English countryside with a tent-show and not entering those big concert halls and without that enormous commercial-machinery a' la Bruce Springsteen, but then there is a hell of a big difference musically too.

by Staffan Solding May 1976

 


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