During a respite from the Who circa late 1976 and early 1977, Pete Townshend lent a hand to fellow mod rocker and former Faces bassist Ronnie Lane for this one-off outing. The duo called on a few of their well-known friends throughout, although the only "core" musicians were the co-leads. According to the notes on the LP sleeve, Townshend and Lane are credited as playing "various acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins & bass guitars, banjos, ukuleles & very involved mind games." Despite whatever turmoil may have occurred behind the scenes, when the pair emerged from Olympic Studios in London they had an endeavor that brought together their respective influences as well as capitalizing on each other's tremendous talents. Townshend comes out blazing with the energetic opener "My Baby Gives It Away." The number features the economical precision timekeeping of Rolling Stones percussionist Charlie Watts (drums), whose hi-hat paradiddles give the rocker a suitable kick-start. Lane counters with the ballad "Nowhere to Run" demonstrating his ability to marry stunningly personal lyrics to a refined rural melody that is likewise marked by Medicine Head member Peter Hope Evans' soulful harmonica. The instrumental "Rough Mix" provides a rowdy example of Townshend and Lane at their finest. Plus, guest Eric Clapton (guitar/dobro) is given his first of several chances to trade licks with the band, or as he does here, rip off some searing electric leads. "Annie" -- which was co-written by Lane and Eric Clapton -- is a change of pace, as the languid midtempo tune wafts over the slightly Scotch-Irish melody. The real prize though is hearing Clapton (acoustic six-string), Graham Lyle (acoustic 12-string), Benny Gallagher (accordion), and Charlie Hart (violin) cast out their lines to create an absolutely charming masterpiece. Keen-eared Townshend enthusiasts can also trace the name of his mid-'90s compilation Coolwalkingsmoothtalkingstraightsmokingfirestoking: The Best of Pete Townshend (1996) to the chorus of the jaunty "Misunderstood." His innate ability as an intimate storyteller returns on "Keep Me Turning," and to similar extent on Edwin Astley's elegant string quartet score accompanying Townshend's "Street in the City." The cut might take listeners by surprise, especially those not familiar with such an introverted side of the normally bombastic and periodically caustic artist. Fellow Who mate John Entwistle drops by, providing the brass section for "Heart to Hang Onto," and along with Billy Nicholls, they add support vocals on the cover of Don Williams' "Till the Rivers Run Dry," with Clapton on dobro. In 2006, as part of their complete overhaul of Pete Townshend's catalog, Hip-O Records outfitted Rough Mix with a trio of previously unissued bonuses. Among them is the Townshend composition "Good Question," which hardcore Who heads will no doubt recognize as "Brrr" -- a Quadrophenia-era title that ended up in demo form on his first Scoop (1985) anthology.