London Trip, Part 4
Two days after the interview with Kenney, Rupert and I drove to Wales,
near Shropshire. We picked up Luke and Ruben Lane, Ronnie's two sons, who showed us
the backroads and took us to the Fishpool, where Ronnie and family moved in late 1973.
This is where most of the Slim Chance material was written, rehearsed, and
recorded. The Fishpool is featured on the cover and record sleeve of One for the
Road. It's also where Clapton, Townshend, and many others would go to escape the
oppression of stardom. Clapton, in particular, spent a lot of time there, getting
back into music after kicking smack in the early 70s. He played with Ronnie and Slim
Chance quite a bit in those years, doing impromptu jams at several local pubs. He
also recorded the demo for "Wonderful Tonight" at the Fishpool, outside in the
yard, sitting in a wheelbarrow. And we need not forget that Clapton wrote and
recorded with Lane, particularly on Rough Mix and See Me. Slim Chance
also opened for Clapton on a late 70s tour.
After showing us around the Fishpool, Ruben and Luke took us to the pub closest to their
old home, where we hid a few pints. We then drove back to their current home,
several miles away, where they live with their mother (Ronnie's second wife), Kate.
We were treated to the old Lane hospitality (thanks for the excellent curry,
Kate!), and several hours of discussion over tea. Kate pulled out a fantastic
scrapbook full of stuff (see the original lyric for "Tell Everyone" in Ronnie's
own hand (r)).
They refused to let us leave, and once it was dark we realized we wouldn't know how to
anyway. Instead, we all jammed ourselves into the car and went back towards the
Fishpool, and did a pub-crawl of all of Ronnie's old haunts. A Yank is a pretty rare thing
in that area, so tons of folks that knew Ronnie sussed why I was there, surrounded by his
family, and introduced themselves to me. After several pints, we made our way back to the
Lane's, where Rupert and I spent the night curled up on two couches in front of the fire.
Thanks to all those who were were so kind and helpful during my trip, particularly to
Rupert, Luke, and Molly; and, of course, the Lanes.