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Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane "Rough Mix" (1977) ATCO
by Jon Matsumoto
The Los Angeles Times ; Los Angeles, Calif.; Jul 22, 1993

There are no hits or even near- hits on this album. But it's doubtful that peddling lots of records was much of a concern when these two charter members of the British mod movement decided to merge their talents.

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.

 


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