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


Small Faces – All Or Nothing

The Small Faces were very popular in the UK in the 1960s. Because of management they never toured in America. Their best-known songs are Itchycoo Park and Lazy Sunday in America but had many hits in the UK.

All or Nothing was written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane. The song peaked at #1 in the UK in 1966.

The Small Faces would splinter in 1969 and Steve Marriott would start Humble Pie with Peter Frampton. The Small Faces would welcome Ron Wood and Rod Stewart and become the Faces…Kenney Jones would later replace Keith Moon in the Who.

It was said to be written either about Marriott’s break up with his with ex-fiancée Sue Oliver, or for his first wife who once dated Rod Stewart. It is possible that both these explanations may be true…somehow.

Drummer Kenney Jones: “It was us getting to where we wanted to be musically. It wasn’t as poppy as our previous hits, but still commercial enough and better than anything we’d done before.”

Steve Marriott in 1984: “I think ‘All Or Nothing’ takes a lot of beating. To me, if there’s a song that typifies that era, then that might be it.”


From Songfacts

Not to be confused with a later song of the same title, “All Or Nothing” was recorded by the Small Faces in 1966. In his 2004 autobiography Mr Big, their manager at the time, Don Arden, said this was “top-drawer…[and] still gets played on the radio today”. Arden produced the record. Co-written by guitarist Steve Marriott and bass player Ronnie Lane, it was backed by “Understanding” and was written 

For Marriott it was very much all or nothing; he married three times and appears to have sired at least two children out of wedlock. He died in a fire in April 1991, apparently after lighting a cigarette in bed and falling asleep. Prior to his death, he had taken cocaine as well as Valium and alcohol. 

Here are two quotes about the song from 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh.

Kenney Jones recalled to Uncut magazine: “We were on tour and staying in the Station Hotel, Leeds, when Steve suddenly run down the corridor screaming, ‘I’ve got it! I’ve just written our next hit!”‘

Jones based his opening drum fill on the intro of Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour.”



All Or Nothing

I thought you’d listen to my reason
But now I see, you don’t hear a thing
Try to make you see, how it’s got to be

Yes it’s all, all or nothing
Yeah yeah, all or nothing
All or nothing, for me

Things could work out
Just like I want them to, yeah
If I could have
The other half of you, yeah
You know I would,
If I only could

Yes it’s yeah, all or nothing
Oh yeah, all or nothing
You’ll hear my children say,
All or nothing, for me

I didn’t tell you no lies
So don’t you sit there and cry girl
Yeah, all or nothing
Oh yeah, all or nothing
Oh yeah, all or nothing

Do you know what I mean
You got to, got to, go to keep on trying, yeah
All or nothing, mm yeah
All or nothing, to keep on working on to me
All or nothing for me, for me, for me

Come on children, yeah
All or nothing, yeah,yeah, yeah, yeah
All or nothing, I kept on singing to myself
All or nothing, yeah for me, yeah

Steve Marriott

Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers, Freddie Mercury, and Mick Jagger gets brought up when talking about great lead singers. I’ve had this conversation with friends and musicians. Who was the best rock bass player, guitar player, drummer, and lead singer?

Steve Marriott rarely gets brought up by anyone because he is sadly not remembered as well as he should be. I’ve listened to Marriott for years and the guy still amazes me. He could sing blues, R & B, Rock, and Pop. He could do anything because not only was he a great singer a good songwriter and he was a very good guitar player.

He influenced many singers from the 60s and beyond. Below is the Small Faces doing “You Need Lovin'” and I think Robert Plant was listening. This was before Zeppelin.

The Small Faces played Rock,  R & B, and Blues music but what they are famous for are the two pop singles Itchycoo Park and Lazy Sunday.  Marriott was upset about Lazy Sunday being released as a single because he’d recorded the song as a joke and it was released despite his objections. They are also known for one of the best albums of the sixties Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake.  Q magazine placed Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake at number 59 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane wrote most of the album.

Because of bad management, a pop image, and a lack of a follow up to Ogedens’ Nut Gone Flake the Small Faces broke up. Marriott wanted to play harder music so he and Peter Frampton started a band called Humble Pie.

Humble Pie had some great songs but nothing really caught on with the masses. That’s not always a bad thing but they never had a big song identifiable to them as some other bands do. They did have four top twenty albums but were more known as a live band…check out Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore

Their manager was Dee Anthony who had connections with the Mob. Everything was ok until Steve wanted to know where the money was at. Marriott began openly questioning Anthony’s business practices, the singer was summoned to a meeting at a social club in New York’s Little Italy. According to Marriott’s ex-wife, among those in attendance were John Gotti and several other members of the Gambino crime family. Marriott was quietly persuaded to forget about any money he thought he had coming to him.

The Small Faces reunited, without Lane,  between 1976-1978 but punk was taking over and they were not successful. In 1980 Humble Pie reunited but didn’t have much luck either.

In 1981 Steve and Ronnie Lane made an album together that wasn’t released until 2000 after both were passed away. It was called The Legendary Majik Mijits and I really like the recording. You can tell they recorded it in 1981 but it contains some hidden gems.

Steve played many club gigs in the 80s, some you can still see on youtube. In 1991 while working on an album with Peter Frampton he flew back home and went to sleep with a lit cigarette and died of smoke inhalation…he was 44 years old.

A sad ending to a performer who could have been huge.  Perhaps if he would have lived longer he would have revived his career and been more remembered today.

Related image

Steve had a huge voice that came out of his 5 foot 5 frame. When Jimmy Page was looking for a singer for his new band Page had thought about Marriott but he was managed by the notorious Don Arden, who had reportedly responded by asking how well Page thought he would play guitar with 10 broken fingers.

What other artists say about Steve Marriott

Keith Richards has said that Mariott is in his top 5 favorite artists and considered having Steve in the Stones to replace Mick Taylor when he left…an idea that Mick Jagger rejected.

“Probably, really, my favorite other bands ever, Steve Marriott’s, very much from the English point of view, the Small Faces, then he had Humble Pie.

Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes To me it’s so obvious I’m a Steve Marriott rip-off that I never think about Rod. I admit it. Steve Marriott is the guy, him and Paul Rodgers and Gregg Allman.

Robert Plant (about the Song Remains the Same) I wanted to be like, “Come on!” I wanted to be Steve Marriott, for fuck’s sake.

Paul Rodgers I was rooting around in my cupboard the other day, actually, just yesterday, and I found a bunch of Steve Marriott live stuff and I put it on and MY GOD, that guy was unbelievable!

Documentary about Steve Marriott

Humble Pie with Marriott and Frampton.

Steve and Ronnie Lane in 1981. Some very good songs




Small Faces – Itchycoo Park

This song was released in 1967 by The Small Faces and it peaked at #16 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada and #3 in the UK. I was born in 1967 and cannot remember a thing but this song makes me feel like I was there. The song was written by Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott. A psychedelic song that hit on both sides of the ocean which was rare for the Small Faces who never toured America.

Glynn Johns used a new technique of phasing in the drum breaks.

From Songfacts.

“Itchycoo Park” is the nickname of Little Ilford Park in London. An “Itchycoo” is slang for a flower found in the park called a “Stinging Nettle,” which can burn the skin if touched. Said Lane: “It’s a place we used to go to in Ilford years ago. Some bloke we know suggested it to us because it’s full of nettles and you keep scratching.”

McLagan (from Uncut magazine): “I never liked ‘Itchycoo Park’ because me and Ronnie had to sing, ‘It’s all too beautiful,’ and you sing that a few times, and you think… It’s not.”

“But years after that I’d finally, properly, checked out the words, and realised it was about education and privilege,” he added. “The ‘bridge of sighs’ is the one in Cambridge. The ‘dreaming spires’ are a reference to Oxford. Then ‘to Itchycoo Park… That’s where I’ve been,’ Ronnie was saying, ‘I didn’t need privilege or education. Found beauty in a nettle patch in the East End of London.”


Itchycoo Park

Over bridge of sighs
To rest my eyes in shades of green

Under dreaming spires
To Itchycoo Park, that’s where I’ve been

(What did you do there?) I got high
(What did you feel there?) well, I cried
(But why the tears there?) tell you why
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful

I feel inclined to blow my mind
Get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun
They all come out to groove about
Be nice and have fun in the sun

I’ll tell you what I’ll do (what will you do?) I’d like to go there now with you
You can miss out school (won’t that be cool?) why go to learn the words of fools?

(What will we do there?) we’ll get high
(What will we touch there?) we’ll touch the sky
(But why the tears there?) I’ll tell you why
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful

I feel inclined to blow my mind
Get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun
They all come out to groove about
Be nice and have fun in the sun
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, hah

It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful