Indeed, the severely underappreciated "Rough Mix"
appears to have been a true labor of love. Jettisoning the combustive grandeur
of Townshend's vaunted band, the Who, and the smart R&B-rock stylings of
Lane's old outfit, the Small Faces, these longtime friends opted for a no-frills
brand of rock and folk that is often exuberant and always heartfelt. The duo
received plenty of able assistance from old coleagues. Crack Rolling Stones'
drummer Charlie Watts climbs on board for several numbers, including Townshend's
stripped-down rocker "My Baby Gives It Away." Eric Clapton is featured
on a handful of songs and is the driving force behind the high-stepping
all-instrumental title track.
But the album's most memorable moments occur during its more
melancholy passages. Townshend's cinematic-sounding "Street in the
City" is a haunting, innovative slice of orchestral-pop magic, and Lane's
accordion-accented "Annie," a lovely, old-fashioned folk song, would
have made near-perfect campfire music back in the Old West.