Just For A Moment
6 CD Box Set/Single CD/Double Vinyl /DL
Just For A Moment is a divinely compiled box set of Ronnie Lane’s solo work released on Universal Music Catalogue. Long time collaborator Charlie Hart has put his heart and soul into compiling for the first time all of Ronnie’s majestic solo work from 1973 – 1997 including unreleased tracks into one bulk release. Matt Mead reviews for Louder Than War.
To speak of Ronnie ‘Plonk’ Lane is a hallowed topic. Widely regarded as the diminutive figure that stood 10 feet tall amongst his peers, a gently spoken genius of his generation, penning all-time classic anthems including Tin Soldier, Debris and All Or Nothing. Whilst his song writing and bass playing with The Small Faces / The Faces is widely lauded by millions, his solo work hasn’t received the sort of plaudits it so richly deserves. With this heavyweight box set, that is all set to change.
Amongst the liner notes are memories from many of those that knew, associated and worked with Plonk. Famed writers Paolo Hewitt, Kris Needs and Kent Benjamin tell separate tales of Ronnie the musician, the songwriter, the collaborator. The Who’s Pete Townshend is found to say in his foreword “Here, in these songs, collected with such love and care, he is found again. Probably at the height of his rebellious and chaotic powers, where music had to be immediate and uplifting, or else heart-breaking – but always real.” Eric Clapton, Ocean Colour Scene, Paul Weller, Ronnie Wood all cite Plonk as a major influence on their own work.
There are some wonderfully eclectic pictures on display here. We see some on the road shots with the Passing Show. The ramshackle touring circus, Plonk looking like the kid who had just been scrumping for apples, finding the best batch, an image of blissful mad hatted contentedness. Stunning eye catching studio shots also feature. Plonk looking classy yet casual wearing a scarf that hangs loosely down past his slim midriff, sweatshirt, jeans and monkey boots. A separate lyric booklet and poster also feature.
Onto the music. Plonk created a charming, wistful, even playful sound that is uniquely his own. Leaning on folk, country and early black R’n’B, his distinctive softly spoken Bob Dylan-esque soulful vocal captures the heart of the listener. Music with the same devotion has not been heard since.
4 solo albums all feature in full on discs 1-4: Anymore For Anymore (released in 1974), Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance (1975), One For The Road (1976) and See Me (1979). With singles, B sides, BBC sessions and alternate versions to boot. The Poacher, Kuschty Rye and How Come all have that familiar feel to those who know Plonks work. What will be unfamiliar is the crispness and clarity afforded to the music here. Original studio tapes have been sourced to deliver the sort of dynamic sound only found in the studio at the time of the recordings.
Disc 5 mixes a bunch of live material plucked from live recordings including Rockoplast 1980 (only available in Germany previously), demos and outtakes from 1976 – 1981. Disc 6 focuses on material Ronnie recorded after his move to Texas. Of the multitude of music of show here there some interesting bits that haven’t crossed by path before.
Freshly plucked from the vaults are cover versions of The Wanderer, Rocket ’69 and The Joint Is Jumpin’. A 1976 John Peel session included a rare version of the Small Faces no.1 All Or Nothing, this was whilst a reissue of Itchycoo Park was riding high in the charts. Of the live tracks a recording taken from Maidenhead’s Thames Hotel stands out. Almost on a Give Peace A Chance vibe well known tracks Last Orders Please and Flags and Banners with a violin to warm the cockles are given a dusting down with hearty cheer.
As Ronnie at the time of these recordings stepped away from the limelight of The Faces and world stardom, this collection evokes the same well sung hymn sheet of the likes of The Band, Neil Young and Robert Johnson world famous, well known bodies of work. Ronnie should never ever be forgotten for his contributions to the world of music, making this compilation an absolute must purchase to any wise music fan.
Just For A Moment can be purchased from Ronnie’s website.
All words by Matt Mead. Further articles by Matt can be found via the Louder Than War author archive pages.