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Down memory Lane with reformed rockers
I was tidying our garage with my wife the other day, filthy dirty and covered in cobwebs (but she’s good with the kids) when I came across an old box of singles.
In amongst the Jive Bunnys and the Bananaramas (hers, I hasten to add) was an ancient, battered, ex-juke box copy of one of the greatest 45s ever released (in my opinion, anyway): Afterglow of Your Love/Wham Bam by the Small Faces.
Written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, it was the band’s final release in early 1969 and flopped, barely bothering the charts thanks to total non-promotion by the Immediate label following Marriott’s decision to quit the band during a New Year’s Eve gig a few weeks before.
Ronnie and the remaining members, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan, thought big and dropped the small to form The Faces with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart.
Four years of huge international success followed before Lane quit in 1973 over disappointing reviews for the band’s fourth album Ooh La La and Stewart’s growing solo career.
He went on to form Slim Chance, while Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart were never heard of again.
Ronnie’s new band have gone down in rock folklore with their incredible Passing Show, a circus troupe with dancing girls which travelled the country in a huge train of caravans.
Ronnie sadly died in 1997 from the MS which plagued him in his latter years.
A hugely popular man, there were many memorial and tribute concerts, most notably at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004, with appearances from many musicians, including Paul Weller and Pete Townshend.
Slim Chance bassist Steve Bingham, who played on Ronnie’s first album and was part of the Passing Show tour, tells me: “We enjoyed the Albert Hall gig so much that we said we must reform.
“It’s taken eight years but here we are!”
You can see the reformed Slim Chance tomorrow night, Saturday, March 17, from 8pm at Evershot Village Hall. Admission is £10 on the door. Details from www.band-on.co.uk And as a bonus, the band’s new album The Show Goes On, which contains 10 fabulous Ronnie Lane songs, will be available to buy. It’s quite a coup as the CD isn’t officially released until May 28.
Now then, why is it that American blues singers have such great names?
Howlin’ Wolf, Big Time Sarah, (I think I went out with her), Houston Stackhouse, Professor Longhair, to name but a few.
Apparently, there’s a website which can generate your own blues name.
I put in a few details and here’s what I got back: Ironing Chubby Doofus. Can’t really see a successful career ahead of me, can you?
However, blues fans are eagerly awaiting the return of the splendidly-monickered Watermelon Slim to the latest Bluesnight at Dorchester Arts Centre, next Saturday, March 24.
Slim last played in the county town 10 years ago, when he was still a truck driver. Since then his career has been like an out-of-control juggernaut. If you like Seasick Steve, you’ll love Travel Sickness Slim!
Tickets are £12 in advance from 01305 266926. Concessions available.
Finally, it’s good luck and congratulations to the Lazy Lizard, one of Weymouth’s most popular live music venues.
They’re opening the new-look downstairs bar tonight, Friday, March 16, with two great bands playing.
First up downstairs, if you see what I mean, are the excellent Amy Mayes Band from 10pm to around midnight. Then going down a storm upstairs will be the Whiskey Rebellion till the wee large hours. ’Till next time...