5/19/12

Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance - Brother Can You Spare A Dime? / Ain't No Lady 7" (1975)


We are in April 1975 and the situation becomes dramatic for Ronnie Lane. His burlesque and circus-like tour with Slim Chance has been a financial disaster, his last album (called Slim Chance and released in January, not really satisfying musically) failed to sell as failed his previous single "What Went Down". So here he tried a cover of a very old song composed and played during the Great US depression (in 1931) and featuring in the play called New Americana. The idea was not really a good one when one remember 1975 was this awful year every band wanted to sound soul and funky (and actually didn't sound either). Maybe the SAHB success and their inclination toward revival of old songs could have helped (the Kinks beginning their rock turn) but the modest and roots approach of Ronnie Lane would have been more appropriate in the US where Randy Newman and Nillson could do that with some success. So here is another failed attempt. Not a gem but a nice version that was not included on any LP, contrary to "Ain't No Lady", the B-side (rather weak this one, sounding quite like the Mungo Jerry) which was on the Slim Chance album. Enjoy it here. Once again, since the 7" had no cover, I did one with a picture taken at the time of the Great Depression and that I think fits Lane's universe.



Lyrics. They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob, When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job. They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead, Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread? Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time. Once I built a railroad; now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime? Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime; Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime? Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell, Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum, Half a million boots went slogging through Hell, And I was the kid with the drum! Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time. Why don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime? Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell, Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum, Half a million boots went slogging through Hell, And I was the kid with the drum! Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time. Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?

1 comment:

Miles said...

This song was included on the American version of 'Slim Chance' released on A&M Records. It also contained 'Poacher' as the lead-off track. Too bad Slim Chance failed to find an audience.