Ronnie Lane / Ron Wood

Mahoney's Last Stand

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Former Faces aces Ronnie Lane and Ron Wood collaborated one last time on this affair, which is more firmly grounded in atmospheric mood pieces than actual songs. Lots of top-flight guests lend a hand, including the Who's Pete Townshend, former Jeff Beck Group drummer Mickey Waller, and sub-Rolling Stones pianists Ian Stewart and Ian McLagan. The boisterous "Chicken Wired" -- which Lane recorded on his Anymore for Anymore album -- also gets remade into a syrupy, slide-driven instrumental. The arrangements are sharp and inventive, such as the funky but folksy, horn-driven stomp of the title track; "Tonight's Number"; and "Car Radio," which features an exciting guitar-sax battle. Other tracks feel like 1930s-era period pieces. "From the Late to the Early" is a twangy country weeper, while "Hay Tumble" upholds the rootsy rowdiness with aggressive harmonica work, "Rooster's Funeral" does the same with violin, and "Woody's Thing" uses mostly solo guitar and banjo plucking. No genre goes untouched. The former Faces were always good musical historians, so it's hardly surprising to find an a cappella gospel number ("I'll Fly Away") and a raunchy but slow blues ("Mona"). The music deserved a better fate than accompanying a film that nobody seems to have seen, but it's a valid extension of Lane's own agreeably rootsy solo work, and fans of Wood's off-kilter but creative playing style will plenty to enjoy here.

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