Album Revisited: Pete Townshend's and Ronnie Lane's 'Rough Mix'

Mar 31, 2015


The 1978 album, 'Rough Trade',

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Who. 2015 finds the band’s original founders, guitarist Pete Townshend and singer Roger Daltry, staging one last worldwide tour, but we’ve heard that before.  The Who’s final swing through the Bay Area stops in Oakland this October. This last February, all seven Townshend’s solo albums were given the deluxe treatment and re-released with bonus tracks. The real gem in this bunch is “Rough Mix”  which Townshend recorded with the late Ronnie Lane in 1977.


Small Faces

Ronnie Lane was the bass player and vocalist with UK’s Small Faces. The band shortened their name to The Faces in 1969 when Rod Stewart and Stones guitarist Ronnie Woods came on board.76

Lane and Townshend circa 1976.

Lane had originally approached Townshend about producing a solo album for him but that project became “Rough Mix”, a collaboration between the two with help from a stellar cast of musicians including Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts and the original Who bassist, John Entwistle. The Who and the Small Faces were close friends during London’s mod era. Except for some of Townshend’s guitar solos, “Rough Mix”, doesn’t sound like either band. Listening to the album today, it almost seems like an early precursor to what we now label as “Americana”.

Laid Back

During the recording sessions for “Rough Mix”, Lane was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which led to his early death in 1996. Although the two did not co-write any songs for this album and each wrote their own tracks,  Townshend and Lane – with his laid back street busker style – are a perfect pair both vocally and musically.

“Rough Mix” is a perfect collection of solid, foot tapping tracks that sounds more up to date today then it did 38 yrs. ago. There are three bonus tracks included on the new remastered version.  It’s well worth revisiting. –Eric Berg

Video:  There appears to be no  footage of the sessions for “Rough Mix”  nor was there a tour, so here’s Ronnie Lane singing “Ooh La La”.

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