Rough Mix – Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane

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Another duo record coincidentally perhaps. Collaborations can so often be less than the sum of their parts, becoming a sort of grey-goo (Ⓒ Price Charles) homogenised blandness – but here the two protagonists maintain their individuality on most tracks, so its more of two mini solo albums combined. This might sound like a bad thing, but some of the boys strongest work is here. Ronnie Lane offers the shambling Nowhere to Run, romantic Annie and thumping Catmelody, all of which could have had pride of place on any of his Slim Chance albums (little gems – especially Anymore for Anymore, which has really grown in my estimation over the years). PT on the other hand is in light hearted mode for much of the time, with the dynamic opener, My Baby Gives it Away, and tongue in cheek Misunderstood )”just want to be misunderstood. I want to be feared in my neighbourhood”) with an accompaniment of percussive gulping sounds (credited to Bijou Drains). In more earnest mode on Heart to Hang on To and Keep Me Turning, Townshend’s real triumph on the album is the mini opera Street In The City, powered by some of his finest acoustic playing on record. A delightful orchestral arrangement by Edwin Astley (father-in-law I believe, and father of of Virginia Astley- herself surely subject of a future post) complements Pete’s witty lyric in which he stands and observes the people around him speculating on their lives and motivations. This track is worth the price of admission alone.

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A groovy little jamming title track featuring Eric Clapton, and a Don Williams(!!) cover for a closer rounds off a satisfyingly understated album by this pair. Pete was obvously to go on to work more with The Who, but tragically Ronnie Lane was already showing signs of the MS which was ultimately to kill him.This album however is part of his joyous legacy. Celebrate his life, and give it (and his others) a listen.

The Boys




(isn’t YouTube brilliant!)

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