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Rough Mix
Rough Mix

Rough Mix is an album by the Who's guitarist Pete Townshend and former Small Faces and Faces bassist Ronnie Lane. The album was released in September 1977 as Polydor 2442 in the UK and MCA 2295 in the US.[1] It peaked at number 44 on the UK album chart,[2] and at number 45 on the Billboard 200.


On 21 October 1976, the Who closed a brief North American tour in Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens, a show that would be the last with Keith Moon before a paying audience.[3] The Who then took a hiatus as band members pursued various individual interests.

Pete Townshend had been initially contacted by Ronnie Lane to produce his next album, the project instead turning into a full-blown collaboration between the pair.[4] Lane expressed an interest in a songwriting collaboration but Townshend, who has very rarely co-written songs, was unwilling.[5] The instrumental title track is credited to both musicians, however.

During the recording of Rough Mix, Lane's multiple sclerosis was diagnosed but still not revealed generally. In one instance, Lane had an emotional issue related to his MS that caused an argument between him and an unknowing Townshend. Nonetheless Lane toured, wrote and recorded (with Eric Clapton among others) and in 1979 released another album, See Me, which features several songs written by Lane and Clapton. Around this time Lane travelled the highways and byways of England and lived a 'passing show' modern nomadic life in full Gypsy traveller costume and accommodation.

The album featured songs written by both principals in a vein less like that of the Who or Faces but instead close to the British folk rock vogue of the early 1970s among various English bands. The band on the track "Annie" comprised members of Lane's Slim Chance group, which played in that very style. A number of more famous colleagues also appeared on the recording, among them Who bassist John Entwistle, Ian Stewart and Charlie Watts from The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton.[6] Orchestral arrangements for the track "Street in the City" were provided by Townshend's father-in-law, noted British film and television theme composer Edwin Astley.

Rough Mix was remastered in 2006 and released by Hip-O Records, the reissue label for the Universal Music Group, in both 5.1 surround sound format on Dualdisc and standard stereo compact disc. The reissue featured three outtakes as bonus tracks.


Village Voice critic Robert Christgau wrote in his review of the album: "Meher Baba inspired psalmody so plain and sharply observed, maybe he was all reet after all. Three of Townshend's contributions—'Keep Me Turning,' 'Misunderstood,' and an unlikely song of adoration called 'My Baby Gives It Away'—are his keenest in years, and while Lane's evocations of the passing scene are more poignant on his Island import, One for the Road, 'Annie' is a suitably modest folk classic. Together, the two disciples prove that charity needn't be sentimental, detachment cold, nor peace boring. Selah."[8]

Track listing

  • Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–11 on CD reissues.


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