THE PHOENIX TAPES is a collection of fourteen previously unreleased tracks recorded by Slim Chance since its reincarnation some 10 years ago.
Originally posted as a series on YouTube in the last part of 2020 to raise spirits in lockdown, these recordings feature performances from many of the fine musicians who have played and sung with the band in the last decade, and also a brilliant contribution from Ronnie Lane’s trusted friend and collaborator, Pete Townshend.
Besides three originals from the band there are covers ranging from Bob Dylan to Leadbelly, Cat Stevens to Jagger/Richards, as well as vibrant new versions of four of Ronnie’s classic songs. The Phoenix Tapes is released May 21st, with a live stream to celebrate on May 22nd – click here for tickets
THE PHOENIX TAPES TRACK BY TRACK
1 ANNIVERSARY (2011)
This was written by Ronnie for his second album after leaving The Faces. It’s a celebratory song and Ronnie always intended the fiddlers Steve Simpson and Charlie Hart – dubbed jokingly by Ronnie as ‘The Fishpool Philharmonic’ – to provide the hoe-down element. Involving the trading of licks by the two fiddle players, this is a favourite with live audiences to this day. Steve Simpson sings.
2 WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE (2015)
A great song of Bob Dylan’s. The Band’s version was always a favourite of Slim Chance, who often sang this song at late night sessions after the band’s gig was over. It is sung here, verse by verse, by Geraint, Alun, and Steve Simpson.
3 HARD TIMES (2014)
Brought to the table by Alun Davies, this moving song by Stephen Foster was recorded by the band but not included in the album ‘On the Move’, which was a more upbeat affair. However, come the pandemic, which triggered the release of these tracks as a series on YouTube, this song captured the mood of the times perfectly. Alun on vocal, naturally.
4 YOU’RE SO RIGHT (2014)
Written for the album ‘See Me’ by Ronnie, this song is typical of Ronnie’s ability to be both humorous and self-effacing at the same time. Charlie handles the fiddle part and vocal. This is a more up-tempo version than the original, which was recorded at the Fishpool and Charlie played organ on.
5 ALL TOO SOON (2017)
After leaving Slim Chance in the Seventies, Steve Simpson worked extensively with Roger Chapman, and acquired a deep respect for his writing, of which this is a fine example. It is sung, of course, by Steve, and was recorded at the same time as tracks for New Cross Road.
6 CONNECTION (2014)
Alun brought this song to the table, and the band gave it a very different twist to the Stones’ original. The middle instrumental passage was written by Alun and provides an interesting ragtime interlude. Accordion is played by Charlie.
7 ROLL ON BABE (2015)
Recorded when Des Horsfall, who is the vocalist here, spent some time playing and singing with the band. This song is always associated with Ronnie, but in fact was written by Derroll Adams, who -according to Ronnie – taught him the song face to face, fittingly, on a train journey in the States.
8 ZABRINA (2017)
This song was written by Steve Bingham and is loosely based on a real-life saga of deception and betrayal, which took place when he was on tour with the Foundations in Argentina. Here Steve sings and plays bass and is accompanied on Flaco-style accordion by Charlie.
9 BLACK BETTY (2015)
In 2015 Slim Chance took part in Lead Belly Fest at the Albert Hall. The band performed Careless Love, and individual members backed other singers including Van Morrison. Here Geraint fronts the band in an unique version of Black Betty, also known as Bam-ba-lam.
10 JIVIN’ JIVIN’ (2015)
This is one of two originals by the band on The Phoenix Tapes. Steve Simpson wrote this one for a girlfriend who was a jiving specialist, and sings and plays guitar. Get on the floor!
11 TRAVELLER’S JOY (2017)
Billy Nicholls only joined Slim Chance a few years back, but was a close friend and musical partner of Ronnie’s way back in the early Seventies. This song was written by Billy shortly after he and Ronnie returned from a romantic, traveller-inspired road trip round Ireland soon after Ronnie left the Faces. It appeared on Billy’s 1974 album ‘Love Songs’. Here Billy sings, and is accompanied by the band and also by his and Ronnie’s old mate, Pete Townshend on guitars and backing vocals.
12 ON THE ROAD TO FINDOUT (2012)
Alun Davies lived just over the Welsh border, only a mile or so from the Fishpool, where Ronnie spent most of the Seventies. Alun was a frequent visitor to Ronnie’s, and they gradually got involved in playing and writing together. When Slim Chance reformed in 2010, Alun was a natural choice as a result of his skills as singer and acoustic guitar player. He is well known for both those roles through his extensive work with Yusuf Cat Stevens, who penned this song.
13 STONE (2013)
One of the first songs Steve and Charlie recorded with Ronnie when they joined the band in 1974. A remarkable story of reincarnation that came to Ronnie in a dream, it was also recorded by Pete Townshend under the name ‘Evolution’. Here Steve takes the lead in a live version recorded at the Half Moon, Putney.
14 BUONA SERA SIGNORINA (2016)
Also recorded at the Half Moon, this song, which Geraint and Charlie used to play in the late Seventies when they were part of Juice on the Loose, has resurfaced as an occasional encore to round off the Slim Chance set. Its likely the band hadn’t played it together before this version was recorded one rowdy Saturday night. Geraint sings, John Lingwood is on drums…
The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 26 September. This marked the start of a new monthly series. Josh’s next session is Sunday 31 October.
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 26 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 28 September 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TAO Prophecy (Tarot Label Media)
12:00-13:00 LEVERAGE Above The Beyond (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 JOE TILSTON Tightrope (Our Records)
Power Plays w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)
ABOVE SNAKES Nothing To Lose (indie)
FRANKIE AND THE WITCH FINGERS Cookin’ (Greenway Records)
LEADFINGER The Fall Of Rome (Golden Robot)
FEMEGADES Stealing Numbers (Regent Street Records)
TIGERSIDE Any Contact (indie)
INDYA Love Like Champagne (indie)
EDGE OF DESTINY Forsaken (indie)
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