BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Despite some obviously good intentions, this DVD tribute concert to Faces/Small Faces/Slim Chance stalwart Ronnie Lane sometimes seems as much a nod to Lane’s colleague and co-writer Steve Marriott as it does to the diminutive bassist, singer and songwriter himself. Fully half of the 42 tracks here retrace Small Faces standards and semi-standards, all composed by Marriott and Lane, several of which featured Marriott himself. (The concert was originally held on April 8, 20014 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.)
Yet considering the fact that Marriott garnered his own tribute just a couple of years prior, it still seems fitting that on this occasion Lane is the one to get his name on the marquee. Fortunately, once the Small Faces (and Faces) catalog is sampled, there’s ample opportunity to delve into Ronnie’s solo repertoire and spotlight the songs of an otherwise under-appreciated songwriter and jovial personality. The performances stick to the template, daring not to veer from the patented delivery that graced the material in the first place. Likewise, the songs are first rate — the tender “Anymore for Anymore,” “Debris” and “Ooh La La,” the jaunty “Kutschy Rye” and “Lad’s Got Money” — so that when taken in tandem, One for the Road presents an extraordinary compendium of songs wrung with pure brilliance and inspiration.
A host of fans and fellow travellers are on hand to pay their respects — Pete Townshend, Ronnie Wood, Paul Weller, Chris Farlowe, Lane’s reunited backing band Slim Chance, as well as lesser known luminaries (among them, Ocean Colour Scene, Chris Jagger and the Deborah Bonham Band) who owe allegiance to Lane for helping set the standard. As the evening’s emcee points out at one point — when his thick English accent allows momentary clarity — the Lane-Marriott songwriting team was often the equal of Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards and all the other celebrated luminaries of the mid to late ‘60s.
An outstanding opportunity to sample a classic cross section of British rock with an astute ‘60s sensibility, One for the Road takes flight and proves that when it comes to consistent quality, it doesn’t get much better than this.