CD Review of Just for a Moment by Ronnie Lane

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Just for a Moment
starstarstarstarno star Label: Lane Signature Sounds
Released: 2006
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He founded the Small Faces and the Faces, two of the best-loved bands in rock history, and counted Rod Stewart, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck among his friends and collaborators – and that only scratches the surface of why it’s nothing short of ridiculous that this 20-song compilation marks the first time any of Ronnie Lane’s solo work has been packaged for American consumption. This is an era in which every Tom’s Harry Dick gets an Essential collection, and yet Lane’s solo albums remain import-only titles on these shores, and it fell to his estate to assemble and release Just for a Moment.

On some level, Lane might have found this amusing; he seemed to have little regard for his own legacy while he was building it, first leaving the Faces at the height of the band’s success, then pissing away a fortune on a carnival-style tour (the Bonzo Dog Band’s Viv Stanshall was the barker). In one of his better-known songs, “The Poacher,” Lane put it this way: “Well, I've no use for riches / And I've no use for power / And I've no use for a broken heart / I'll let this world go by.”

Whatever riches or power Lane sacrificed in life – he succumbed to multiple sclerosis-related pneumonia in 1997 – he made up for in his music. Absorbing strains of rock, blues, folk, country, and English dance-hall music, Lane’s work reflects all of his influences in equal measure, often within the same song; at any given recording session, mandolins, accordions, and occasionally nearby wildlife rested comfortably alongside the usual guitars and drums. The results – many of the best of which are included here – were flawless in their rough, unfinished beauty.

He wasn’t the biggest star in his own right – certainly not here – but his influence is undeniable, and though this compilation doesn’t take the place of Lane’s solo work as a whole, it’s a start; encouragingly, Just for a Moment’s liner notes hint at a wider series of reissues around the corner. If you’ve ever smiled to the strains of the Faces’ “Ooh La La,” or enjoyed mellower, country-inflected tracks by Rod Stewart or the Stones, this is an album you need to have today. Otherwise, it can probably wait until next week.

~Jeff Giles