Album review: SLIM CHANCE – New Cross Road

Fishpool Records [Release date 18.01.19]

Slim Chance were the backing band to former Small Faces and Faces member Ronnie Lane (who died aged only 51 in 1997), with three members in the current line-up of Slim Chance featured on those albums made in the 1970′s. The three are Steve Bingham (bass, vocals), Charlie Hart (vocals, fiddle, accordion, keys) and Steve Simpson (vocals, guitar, mandolin, fiddle), who are joined by drummer Brendan O’Neill (Rory Gallagher/Nine Below Zero), Billy Nicholls on vocals and acoustic guitar and keyboards player Geraint Watkins (Nick Lowe/Van Morrison).

‘New Cross Road’ is the band’s third album since reuniting 2010, and like the previous album Slim Chance have recorded a mix of new songs and ones penned by Ronnie Lane back in the 1970′s.

Opening with the Cajun boogie of ‘Let’s Go Home’, one of the five new songs on the album, it is a song to put a smile on your face sung by Geraint Watkins and sounding not unlike Ry Cooder on his ‘Get Rhythm’ album. ‘Flossie Lane’ is a tribute to the oldest pub landlady in England, again it has that boogie feel in the sound.

The band’s reworking of Ronnie Lane’s ‘Chicken Wired’ is great fun, from the singing of Steve Simpson and his chicken impressions(!), through to the chicken scratch guitar and organ playing of Geraint Watkins. The cover of the Who’s ‘Squeezebox’ is simply wonderful, with Simpson sounding uncannily like Roger Daltrey at times.

One of those albums that you play and it lifts your spirits, where you think the band must have had great fun making it. Slim Chance are helping keep the music of Ronnie Lane alive and giving it a little magic of their own. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie




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