Goin' to a Go-Go #5: "Tonight's Number" (1976)
Ron Wood & Ronnie Lane
From Mahoney’s Last Stand, ATCO Records SD 36-126, 1976
Pete Townshend, Ron Wood, and Bobby Keys walk into a recording studio...but wait, it starts with Ronnie Lane.
At a moment when the Faces were in limbo, Lane was approached to provide music for a Canadian film, Mahoney’s Last Stand, featuring a young Sam Waterston. Before you can say “complementary cocaine,” Lane had roped in Ron Wood (of course, later known himself as Ronnie upon joining the storied ranks of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band, the Rolling Stones). They managed to rustle up a who’s who of early seventies’ British rock to help out, including Townshend on guitar, Keys on sax, and fellow Faces Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones. Naturally, who else could sit behind the producer’s desk but Glyn Johns?
The film’s release was delayed until 1976, where it was “little seen at the time of its release and even less so since,” according to Wikipedia. By that time, the Faces had disintegrated, Lane had a small if promising solo career, and Wood was a Stone. In fact, many assumed it was a reunion for the two former bandmates rather than something cut four years earlier in a scattered moment between Faces obligations.
For fans of that specific moment in classic rock, the whole album is a fun listen, loose and amiable. This opening instrumental cut is really the standout track, with the Lane/Wood/Townshend guitar combo and Keys’ horn section adding a tight, muscular discipline to the proceedings. The baritone horn solo is provided by Jim Price, who toured and recorded with Keys and the Stones throughout the early 70s, as well as Joe Cocker (Mad Dogs and Englishmen) and George Harrison (All Things Must Pass).