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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Rock > British Music > Multiple Sclerosis > The Passing Show The Life & Music Of Ronnie Lane

The Passing Show The Life & Music Of Ronnie Lane


Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C- Documentary: B



Ronnie Lane was a writer and bassist for the band The Small Faces, who had an international hit with Itchycoo Park in 1968. They revised themselves simply as The Faces when lead singer Steve Marriott formed the successful Humble Pie. In his place would be a then-unknown Rod Stewart and future Rolling Stone Ron Wood would also do bass along with Lane. They were more successful than Humble Pie or Small Faces with hits like (I Know) Im Losing You and Stay With Me, but at the height of their success, even as Steward had huge solo success staying in The Faces, Lane left it all in 1973, two years before The Faces broke up. Why?


The Passing Show The Life & Music Of Ronnie Lane (2006) is a new documentary co-produced by the BBC that tries to explore why he became a footnote in music history when he was so much more. Producer/directors Rupert Williams and James Mackie load the 107 minutes of the this program with everything they could, including Lanes music, his rise to the top and sudden dropping out. Like Syd Barrett, he had more to offer and would land up having health problems. Unlike Barrett, Lane tried different public entertainment projects, like that which became the title of this program.


No matter his success or lack thereof, he kept plugging away on his own, holding on to his brand of integrity and trying to do something different. Then he contracted Multiple Sclerosis and slowly had to deal with its eroding results. The documentary parallels the integrity of his music with the battle against the still-fatal disease which he faced when far less breakthroughs had arrived. The result is a poignant portrait of a very influential and multi-talented artist whose time for rediscovery is long overdue. Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend are among the interviewees.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a bit softer throughout than usual, in part because more of the footage than usual is old NTSC and PAL analog video, but it plays just fine otherwise. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no surrounds, but is as clear as can be expected for al the audio sources that have been edited together. The overall results are not bad considering. Extras include four songs with Lane for fans and a paper pullout inside the DVD case with an essay by Andy Worthington, who is writing his biography.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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