Listen: Brother, Can You Spare A Dime / Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance
Remember the day when a major label would release a record like ‘Brother, Can You Spare A Dime’? Issuing such an off the wall track in England was one thing, but in the US, quite another.
With hindsight, many will agree the true spirit behind The Faces was indeed Ronnie Lane. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rod Stewart were to admit that thought.
Not sure exactly what those in the know would call Ronnie Lane’s loose-knit signature sound. The music press came up with a few suitables: rag-tag, rural plynth. Whatever, it certainly permeated all of his post Small Faces work, particularly those solo albums with Pete Townshend and Ronnie Wood.
Needless to say, this single got zero airplay, bar a few college stations, but is certainly nice to have, particularly in it’s promo only mono form.
For the UK though, airplay was not the intention initially. As the press release above wishfully indicates, the film, in which the record is heard during the closing credits, also spotlights the song as it’s theme. In somewhat sloppy fashion, said press release neglects to mention the actual name of the film. Revert to the label copy on the stock copy for that detail. In case you couldn’t guess, it’s called BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME.
Listen: Don’t Try To Change My Mind / Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance
There were handful of followups from a handful of followup albums. ‘Don’t Try To Change My Mind’ was a double sided marvel. This A side being lifted from the album ONE FOR THE ROAD, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had been chosen wearing a blindfold and ear plugs. It’s that unobvious as a single, making the record all the more desirable.
Both the band and album were framed nicely by a genuine gypsy lifestyle from that period, whereby he and his family played out a downmarket version of Mad Dogs & Englishmen, complete with authentic costume and living accommodations.
Listen: Well Well Hello (The Party) / Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance
Quite possibly the real gem here is the single’s non-LP B side, ‘Well Well Hello (The Party). In itself a future template for many a Pogues single, I’m shocked this isn’t more widely sought after as an ultimate Ronnie Lane essential, or maybe it is. It’s sure to touch anyone’s weak spot with a bit of sadness.