Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane – My Baby Gives It Away

I have often wondered why this album wasn’t more popular. It features The Who’s Pete Townshend and The Small Faces/Faces Ronnie Lane who then was leading his own band, Slim Chance. The album is full of great songs and is worth a listen. The guest musicians include Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, John Entwistle, Ian Stewart, John “Rabbit” Bundrick, and more.

In October of 1976, the Who closed a North American tour in Toronto, a show that would be the last with Keith Moon before a paying audience. The band took a break to pursue individual projects. Ronnie Lane had wanted Townshend to produce his album but he then wanted Townshend to collaborate writing on the songs. Townshend declined because he had never written with anyone before but they did manage to write the title track, Rough Mix, together.

The album ended up with Townsend songs and Lane songs. They did do a cover of a Don Williams song called Till All The Rivers Run Dry. Rough Mix didn’t draw a lot of attention at the time but is now considered a lost gem. Townshend has said in his book that there was a big argument where he shoved Ronnie Lane. He said it felt like he didn’t know his own strength because Lane felt like he was made out of paper. Later Pete found out about Lane’s multiple sclerosis.

Lane was already showing the early symptoms of multiple sclerosis (tremors, slurred speech), which others sometimes interpreted as a sign he was drunk. He didn’t tell Townshend, or very many others, about his medical diagnosis.

Townshend’s liner notes eventually read, “Ron and Pete play various acoustic & electric guitars, mandolins & bass guitars, banjos, ukuleles & very involved mind games.”

The album peaked at #44 in the Billboard Album Charts, #70 in Canada, and #45 in the UK in 1977.

Pete Townshend: The recording of Rough Mix with Ronnie is now a blur, but I remember some special moments. I played live guitar with a large string orchestra for the first time, my father-in-law Ted Astley arranging and conducting on ‘Street in the City’. I was surprised at the respect given me by the orchestral musicians. Playing with Charlie Watts on ‘My Baby Gives It Away’ was also very cool, making me aware that his jazz-influenced style was essential to the Stones’ success, the hi-hat always trailing the beat a little to create that vital swing.

Meeting John Bundrick (Rabbit) was also an important event in my life as a musician. He wandered into the Rough Mix studio one day looking for session work. Here was a Hammond player who had worked with Bob Marley, and could play as well as Billy Preston. Offstage he could be reckless and impulsive, drinking too much, asking for drugs and telling crazy stories, but musicians of his calibre didn’t come around very often.

My Baby Gives It Away

My baby wakes in the deep of the nightShe doesn’t need itBut she says it’s all rightMy baby digs it, just a Rollin’ away

My baby gives it up every dayMy baby gives it, she gives it awayMy baby gives it up every dayMy baby She just gives it away

When you’re alone in some city hotelYou can get company by ringing a bellYou might go pick up a girlOn the street

But my baby gives it up totally freeMy baby’s counting’ on, ’cause you aloneMy baby’s brother never break a your armMy baby ha, ha, I love her

She’s cheepOoh yeahMy babyMy baby

My babyMy babyMy baby

You better buy yourself an new pair of shoesAnd walk for a lifetime on that bad newsYou better buy an electric guitarThere’s no better way to beat the blues, I beat ’em

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

She give it way, every day, every wayMy baby just gives it away

My baby’s momma is a singular girlShe brought up her daughter and brought her up wellI’m breathing no more‘Cause she took it away

My baby gives it up every dayMy baby gives itShe gives it awayMy baby gives it up every day

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

My babyMy baby

How I love her, yeahMy baby, my baby, she just gives it awayMy baby, my baby, she just gives it awayMy baby, my baby, gives it away

Let me tell you, my baby, she just give it awayMy baby, every dayMy baby gives it up every dayMy baby give itJust gives it away


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

25 thoughts on “Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane – My Baby Gives It Away”

  1. Such a funny coincidence you would highlight a solo effort by Pete Townshend after I had just included a tune from Roger Daltrey’s most recent solo album!

    You’re right “Rough Mix” is a bit “obscure”, which is a shame. Sadly, I had to search my own blog to remember which song from that album I previously covered – turned out it was the title track! I think I will finally do what I should have done all along, which is to check out what looks like a great rock album.

    I love the track you highlighted. I also dig the title song. I’m sure there are more gems on this record!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We were on the same wavelength lol since I scheduled this a few days ago.
      The lack of attention surprises me because of who was involved.
      I was going to cover April Fool by Lane… I could have done many of them.
      The album does have some really good songs. I am a huge Ronnie Lane fan and the songs he made with Slim Chance. Not a commercial hotbed except for “How Come.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For some reason, certain albums largely get ignored, even though top-notch musicians were involved. I’m glad Pete got more attention with his next solo effort “Empty Glass”. I guess “Rough Mix” lacked a hit like “Let My Love Open the Door”.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yea sometimes it comes down to timing. I wish it would have got more if only for Ronnie Lane’s sake. Townshend has said that he was not serious about the album as far as promotion but Lane was really proud of it…as well as he should have been.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. In the meantime, I’ve listened to “Rough Mix” – definitely worthwhile!

        It occurred to me the title track has a bit of an Allman Brothers jam vibe to it. – pretty cool!

        I love the Hammond part on this. I looked up the name of the keyboarder: John Douglas “Rabbit” Bundrick – gotta love that name. And the way he’s working his mighty Hammond!

        Apparently, the Rabbit also toured with The Who from 1979 to 1981 and again in 2006 to 2007, and played on the “Endless Wire” album. The Who also invited him to play on “Who’s Next” but he couldn’t since broke his arm – that must have been a real bummer!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh Rabbit…he went on tour with The Who after Keith Moon passed away. He is a great keyboard player. I think Pete wanted him as an equal member but Daltrey said no to that one I believe.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Glad you like the album Christian…it’s some seriously good music. I had forgotten about the album until CB brought it up and I revisited it again.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tune that sounds familiar. Hearing the origin story makes it all the better. They sound like they’ve been playing together for years. Performing while struggling with the challenges of MS makes it quite poignant as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never heard of this collaboration before, nor heard the song. Definitely some good guitar and drums on there as one might expect with that lineup. Song itself just doesn’t quite grab me – like Christian says, it’s not got that ‘Let My Love Open the Door’ kind of earworm appeal, but I’m surprised it didn’t do better on rock channels.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. it reminds me, in that respect of the Fabulous Winos (?) that Keith Richards was in. You’d kind of expect with a guy of that fame involved it would automatically get a lot of notice, but it didn’t happen.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A pal of mine in High School had this and we listened to it and until today I completely had forgotten about it! Man what a ton of great musicians that appeared on this record. All Star Band!

    Liked by 1 person

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