Rough Mix (Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane) – Album Review (Part 1)

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on January 5, 2010

Rough Mix (Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane's Collaboration) Stole The Accolade Of Best Album Released In 1977. Pistols, Clash & Costello Eat Your Hearts Out!

Rough Mix (A Collaboration Between Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane) Stole The Accolade Of Best Album Released In 1977. Pistols, Clash & Costello Eat Your Hearts Out!

Produced by Glyn Johns and issued in 1977, this collaboration between Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane was voted album by the year by Rolling Stone. Wenner’s gang were not the only ones dazzled by it. Pete’s record company gave the album little promotion, certain that he was to leave and form a supergroup with Lane. The Who had just signed a new contract, and the album did nothing but highlight how much Pete needed a change of scene.

Rough Mix is blistering in terms of sidemen: Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, Boz Burrell, Ian Stewart… Pete could have snapped his fingers and have a new band within seconds. And it would have been a more fulfilling band than The Who to him at that point for certain.

The album itself is not really a collaboration in the sense of the two former mod champions sitting down and writing an album. (“What?! And split the royalties?!” Pete joked to Ronnie at the time). Rather, Ronnie had some songs, Pete had some songs and together they came up with “Rough Mix”. They only sing together in the penultimate track, “Heart To Hang On To”. They also shared a writing credit for the title track, an instrumental were Clapton and Rabbit Bundrick have their way.

There are no videos of Pete and Ronnie playing together. There is, however, this one of Eddie Vedder singing with Pete in 1999. They mix up the lyrics, and Vedder is a bit off. But it is the best that I could find for you:

To understand the way “Rough Mix” is conformed, we can use this nice little equation:

(Ronnie = Folk) + (Pete = Rock) = Rough Mix

I couldn’t explain it in crisper terms, really. The two genres are interspersed, and aside from the orchestrated experiment of Pete named “Street In The City” and “Catmelody”, (a honky-tonky swagger assembled by Ronnie) they mostly stick to this formula.

Ron’s songs are “Nowhere To Run”, “Annie”, “Catmelody” and “April’s Fool”. Pete fills his side of the plate with “My Baby Gives It Away”, “Keep Me Turning”, “Misunderstood”, “Street In The City” and “Heart To Hang Onto”. The album is tailed by a cover of “Till The Rivers All Run Dry” where everybody gets together and sings along.

Part 2: The Different Songs On The Album Described & Discussed.

{ 4 trackbacks }

Pete Townshend – General Introduction | MusicKO
January 5, 2010 at 11:26 am
Rough Mix (Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane) – Album Review (Part 2) | MusicKO
January 6, 2010 at 11:21 am
Empty Glass (Pete Townshend) – Album Review | MusicKO
January 14, 2010 at 9:34 am
Month In Review – January 2010 | MusicKO
January 31, 2010 at 10:48 am

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

E Scheibe April 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Vedder is off?!? Surely you’re kidding, he sounded f-ing phenomenal as always, nothing to apologize for in this cut

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