Given the recent release of Rhino’s Faces collection and the number of guitar pop bands namechecking the Small Faces, it’s never been a better time to rediscover the genius of Ronnie Lane. Lane was one of those rare souls who lived and breathed music, who still played when he was sick and poor (a sad result of his multiple sclerosis), and gave all his support to younger musicians. He had a pied piper, gypsy spirit, leading his rag tag band of players across the British Isles in the circus tours of the early ‘70s. Just listen to the joyous spirit on the live recording of classic “Ooh La La” on April Fool (New Millennium Communications).
Lane’s jubilant sound mixed pop, country, English roots music, and folk and, apart from the three Small Faces tracks on April Fool, the music is largely acoustic with healthy doses of dobros, accordions, bar room piano, and chiming mandolins. Timeless tunes like “How Come” and “The Poacher” prove Lane was one of popular music’s greats—always more of a gypsy troubadour than a mod rock and roller.