New Cross Road
A Twinkle in the Eye and Songs From The Heart.
This little disc of musical gems arrived at RMHQ in late October with a release date of mid-January 2019; and keeping it a secret from you all has been a bloody nightmare!
Relative to the Star Quality of the inhabitants of Slim Chance I guess that 99% of the RMHQ regular readers will never have heard of this ‘Supergroup’ yes/no?
So; a smidgen of background is due I suppose.
a) Everyone here are stalwarts of the original Pub Rock scene and have gone on to play with and on records by just about every household name in the British Roots and Blues scene over the years.
b) Slim Chance were Ronnie Lane’s original band when he left the Faces.
That’s all you’re getting; because the music is too damn hot to leave on the hob any longer.
A sizzling slice of Southern Swamp-Boogie called Let’s Go Home gets the party started; and if there really are Alligators in Balham, South London they will be up on their hind legs dancing their tails off when they hear this!
I first saw Ronnie Lane nearly 50 years with The Faces on Disco Two on our brand new Colour TV no less, and for some reason I couldn’t take my eyes off him; perhaps it was because he was having a ball and couldn’t stop smiling as scuttled around the stage. So it’s with more pleasure than I can enunciate that I can tell you three of his songs are included here; the funky Country Blues of Chicken Wired, a magnificently slow and haunting rendition of Debris (tears will well up in your eyes btw) and one I didn’t recognise, Spiritual Babe; but it’s a song that set the hair on the back of my neck right up on end the first time I heard it. Played out to a waltz like tune with Charlie Hart stealing the show with some delightfully windswept accordion fills.
If ever you’ve seen this motley crew play live you will know what an eclectic mix of Rootsy music they derive their set from; and this album is no different with Charlie Hart’s Cajun flavoured two-step Roll The Dice closing the disc and the band rocking the Folk out of The Oo’s Squeezebox too; and they all collectively tip their hats to their Gypsy-Folk Roots with the beautiful Annie; originally by Townsend and Lane on the long forgotten Rough Mix album (which was another forerunner for what we now know as Americana Music, if I remember correctly.)
As with all of my reviews there has to be a winner in the form of a Favourite Track; last week it was definitely going to be the sumptuous Kew; but between today and yesterday I’ve fallen in love with Geraint Watkins’ Mr. Jones; a Bluesy belter that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Kansas Speakeasy or a North London Pub or preferably the main stage at Glastonbury (no….. I’m not drunk!).
Like many albums on here this is destined to end up in the collections of Slim Chance’s existing fan base; but even a cursory listen to these songs will win them a whole new generation of hirsute and tattooed young men and women who appreciate classy and authentic Roots Music delivered with a twinkle in the eye and a song from the heart.
Released January 18th 2019