Alvin Lee


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1

- Chick Churchill -- keyboards

- Alvin Lee (RIP 2013) -- vocals, lead guitar

- Ric Lee -- drums, percussion

- Leo Lyons -- bass

 

  line up 2

- Tom Compton --- drums

- Mick Hawksworth -- bass

- Alvin Lee (RIP 2013) -- vocals, lead guitar

 

 

 

 

- The Ascent

- The Atomites

- The Breakers

- Chick Churchill (solo efforts)

- Hundred Seventy Split

- Ivan Jay and the Jaymen

- The Kick

- The Jaybirds (Alvin Lee)

- Alvin Lee (solo efforts)

- Mylon LeFevre and Albert Lee

- Siro

- Stan Webb's Chicken Shack

Ten Years After (Alvin Lee)

- Ten Years Later

- Stan Webb's Chicken Shack

 

 

 


 

Genre: blues-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Ten Years Fter

Company: Deram

Catalog: XDES 18064
Year:
 1972

Country/State: Nottingham, England

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor edge wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1445

Price: $10.00

 

 

Yes, I could have listed this under the Ten Years After discography, but  note the actual billing on this 1972 compilation.  If you're a Ten Years After fan you'll know 1972's the year Lee and company switched from Deram to Columbia.   The switch saw them score a commercial hit with the album "A Space In Time".   I guess you couldn't blame Deram executives for wanting to recoup some of the time and energy they'd invested in the band.  The result - 1972's 'Ten Years After".   A somewhat haphazard collection of early singles and miscellaneous odds and ends, it certainly wasn't the place to start an exploration of the band, but there were certainly a couple of treasures here; notably the 1968 'B' side 'The Sounds' and their cover of the blues classic 'Standing At the Crossroads'.   

 

"Tne Years After" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Sounds    (Alvin Lee) - 4:13

Originally released in the UK and most of Europe as the 'B' side on their second single (1968's 'Portable People'), 'The Sounds' was a dark, psych-tinged rocker that  found Ten Years After steamrolling their way through one of their most psych-tinged performances.   Add in some Lee's best vocals (compare this performance to his brittle effort on 'Portable People), and some stunning lead guitar and the results were simply great.  In conjunction with the album's release he tune was also tapped as a French 45:

 

  

 

- 1970''s 'The Sounds' b/w 'Rock Your Mama' (Deram catalog number 17.053)   rating: **** stars 

2.) Rock Your Mama    (Alvin Lee) - 3:02

The band's debut 45, I guess you couldn't fault the band for their devotion to the genre, but the bluesy 'Rock Your Mama' has always sounded plain and ponderous to my ears. 

 

  

 

- 1968's  'Rock Your Mama' b/w 'Spider in Your Web' (Deram catalog number DM 191

 YouTube has a great clip of the band performing the tune for a 1968 French television show.  It's worth checking out just to see Lee's hair style and bassist Leon Lyon's frenetic playing style.  : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9p8x8wdWS4    rating: *** stars

3.) Hold Me Tight    (Alvin Lee) - 2:20

Strange tune with Lee seemingly doing his best to channel Elvis Presley in a phone booth.  rating: ** stars

4.) Standing At the Crossroads   (Elmore James - Robert Johnson) - 4:03

Folks seeming gravitate to the Eric Clapton and Cream version (aka 'Crossroads'), but after you've heard Lee's lightening fast solos, it's hard to sit still through the Cream version.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Portable People
    (Alvin Lee) - 2:15

If you only knew Ten Years After as a crushing blues-rock entity, I guarantee 'Portable People' is going to come as a major smack in the face.  The tune was initially released as a non-LP single; their debut in the States, their second 45 throughout Europe.  Musically it was a charming slice of folk-pop ...  seriously.   Lee's high and fragile vocal sounded like he was wearing a pair of pants three sizes too tight, but the song had a hysterical mid-'60s toytown vibe and the lyrics; seemingly about vacationing, were a hoot.

- 1968's 'Portable People' b/w 'The Sounds' (Deram catalog number 45-DEM-85027)

2.) Boogie On    (Alvin Lee) - 15:31

'Boogie On' was a patented rocker giving each band member a chance to display their technical prowess (starting with an extended Chick Churchill keyboard workout and ending with an extended Lee workout).   I'll be the first to admit that clocking in at over 15 minutes, it all eventually ran out of steam.  rating: *** stars

 


 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Ride On

Company: RSO

Catalog: RS-1-3049
Year:
 1979

Country/State: Nottingham, England

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: minor edge wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5914

Price: $10.00

 

Released by Robert Stigwood's RSO label, 1978's "Ride On" always struck me as kind of an odd coupling.  Best know for pop and dance acts, signing Alvin Lee and Ten Years Later was definitely a little bit outside of the company's normal zone of artistic comfort.  Be interesting to know what the behind the scenes story was.

 

Produced by Bill Halverson, the album offered up a mixture of five new studio numbers and four live tracks.  Sporting the following liner note  'This is a true and faithful recording of Ten Years Later on stage with no overdubs or effects added.' the live performances were quite good thanks in large measure to support from drummer Tom Compton and bassist Mick Hawksworth.  Lee and company sounded tight and displaying more energy and enthusiasm than you'd see on lots of the earlier Ten Years After catalog.   Shame the credits didn't provide any information on the live performances - where, when, etc.   While I liked the in-concert performances, for me the big surprises were the studio efforts which were far more commercial that I would have expected.  

 

"Ride On" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Too Much   (Alvin Lee) - 3:49

'Ain't Nothin' Shakin'' was interesting for downplaying Lee's blues-rock tendencies in favor of a straight ahead rocker.  Tuneful and taunt, it was a great performance.    rating: **** stars

2,) It's a Gaz   (Alvin Lee) - 4:01

A romping blues-rocker, 'It's a Gaz' spotlight the fact Lee was an overlooked singer.  Yeah, he wasn't the world's most dynamic vocalist, but on this one his raw, bluesy voice was the perfect accompaniment for the track.   Concise and tasteful, Lee also turned in one of the album's nicest solos here.    rating: **** stars

3.) Ride On Cowboy   (Alvin Lee) - 3:12

Unlike anything else on the album 'Ride On Cowboy' employed a nifty mixture of reggae rhythm and country-flavored blues.  It probably didn't sound that promising, but was actually the album's highlight.  Great performance and easy to see why RSO tapped it as a single.    rating: **** stars

4.) Sittin' Here   (Alvin Lee) - 3:58

A nice up tempo rocker, 'Ain't Nothin' Shakin'' showcased Lee's speed of light runs, but Hawksworth's performance was also noteworthy.  Anyone capable of keeping up with Lee deserved some recognition.   rating: *** stars

5.) Can't Sleep At Night   (Alvin Lee) - 2:31

From a technical standpoint I'd agree that 'Scat Encounter' was impressive, but that didn't make it all that much fun to hear.  On the positive side, it was extremely brief.   rating: ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Ain't Nothin' Shakin'   (Alvin Lee) - 5:08

No, the world didn't really need another cover of 'Hey Joe'.  That said, Lee's extended concert version was no better, nor any worse than oodles of others.  As you'd expect, Lee gave the song a modest blues-rock orientation that wasn't bad.  The guitar pyrotechnics were suitably impressive, but all said it wasn't the version most folks would run to get the next time they had a hankering to hear the song.   rating: *** stars

2.) Scat Encounter   (Alvin Lee) - 0:57

The concert version of the blues boogie number 'Going Home' was fine. Yeah it was stretched to the breaking point but the basic performance was fairly close to the studio version and you were at least spared the usual in-concert evils of extended bass and drum solos. The performance would probably have been a little more fun if you'd been in the crowd.   rating: *** stars

3.) Hey Joe   (William M. Roberts) - 5:41

'Sittin' Here' was a slinky rocker that actually sounded like something Foghat might have done.  Again, the result was far more AO commercial than your normal Alvin Lee outing.   rating: *** stars

4.) Going Home   (Alvin Lee) - 8:15

'Can't Sleep At Night' closed the album out with a fun slice of boogie rock.  This one wasn't going to change your outlook on life, but with a couple of beers it would have been a major blast.   rating: *** stars

 

Elsewhere RSO tapped the album for a single in the form of:

 

- 1979's 'Ride On Cowboy' b/w 'Sittin' There' (RSO catalog number RS-3049)

 

Not a classic Alvin Lee album, but I have to admit that I was surprised at home much I enjoyed this one.

 

 

 

 

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