Ten Years After


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1965-67)

- Chuck Churchill -- keyboards

- Alvin Lee (aka Graham Anthony Barnes) (RIP 2013) -- vocals, 

  lead guitar

- Leo Lyon -- bass 

- Dave Quickmire -- drums, percussion

 

  line up 2 (1967-74, 83, 88-03 )

- Chuck Churchill -- keyboards

- Alvin Lee (aka Graham Anthony Barnes) (RIP 2013 -- vocals,

  lead guitar

NEW - Ric Lee -- drums (replaced Dave Quickmire)

- Leo Lyon -- bass 

 

  line up 3 (2003- 14)

- Chuck Churchill -- keyboards

NEW - Joe Gooch -- vocals, lead guitar (replaced Alvin Lee)

- Ric Lee -- drums, percussion

- Leo Lyon -- bass 

 

  line up 4 (2014)

NEW - Marcus Bonfanti vocals, lead guitar (replaced Joe Gooch)

- Chuck Churchill -- keyboards

NEW - Colin Hodgkinson -- bass (replaced Leo Lyon)

- Ric Lee -- drums, percussion

 

 

 

 

- 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

- Ten Years Later

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Ten Years After

Company: Deram

Catalog: DES 18009

Year: 1967

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4349

Price: $40.00

Cost: $66.00

 

Ten Year After LPs aren't all that hard to find, though for some reason their 1967 debut has become quite scarce.  This is only the third copy I've seen in some 20 years of collecting.

 

Singer/guitarist Alvin Lee got his start as a professional musician with The Notingham-based The Jaybirds.  Together with keybaordist Chuck Churchill, bassist Leo Lyon and drummer Dave Quickmire, the group became a popular local club draw, eventually drawing the attention of manager and agent Chris White.  They also underwent a personnel change with original drummer Quickmire being replaced by Ric Lee.  White began scoring them gigs around the country, including a stint in Hamburg, Germany.  Their blues-rock sound becoming increasingly popular, Decca's Deram subsidiary signed the band in late 1967.

 

Co-produced by Mike Vernon and Gus Dudgeon, 1967's "Ten Years After" is an interesting debut.  To be honest, the set isn't any great shakes in terms of originality, or even most of the performances.  Most of the album features rather pedestrian blues moves; several such as the eight minute plus 'Help Me' strung out well beyond maximum comfort level.  Producers Vernon and Dudgeon certainly didn't waste a great deal of time or effort on the recording sessions since most of the album features a rather raw and under-produced sound (yeah mate flip the recorder on and let's go get a beer).  That's not meant as a criticism since that laid back sound gives the album quite a bit of its appeal.  Lee's nasal deliver doesn't make him the greatest singer in the world, but his enthusiasm is contagious and the man's chops are undeniable - check out his playing on the Lee original ' Losing the Dogs' and 'Don't Want You Woman'.  Elsewhere, having listened to the album for the first time in a couple of years, blues is clearly their first love, but I'm surprised and impressed by the jazzy edge tracks such as the opener 'I Want To Know' and 'Love Until I Die".  Personal favorite is the jazz-cum psych influences on 'Feel It For Me' display.   


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

1.) I Want To Know   (McLeod) - 2:06
2.) I Can't Keep From Crying, Sometimes   (Al Kooper) - 6:23
3.) Adventures Of A Young Organ   (Alvin Lee - Chuck Churchill) - 2:29
4.) Spoonful   (Willie Dixon) - 5:49
5.) Losing The Dogs   (Alvin Lee - Gus Dudgeon) - 3:07

 

(side 2)
1.) Feel It For Me   (Alvin Lee) - 2:38
2.) Love Until I Die (instrumental)  (Alvin Lee) - 2:03
3.) Don't Want You Woman   (Alvin Lee) - 2:34
4.) Help Me   (Sonny Boy Williamson - Bass) - 9:45

 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Undead

Company: Deram

Catalog: DES 18016

Year: 1968

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4363

Price: $8.00

Cost: $66.00

 

In an interesting marketing move, Ten Years After's second release was a live set.  Recorded at London's Klooks Keek Railway Hotel Club (isn't that where The Who got their start?), there's nothing sophisticated here.  Alvin Lee and company sledgehammer their way through a series of extended, jazz-influence pieces such as 'I May Be Wrong, But I Won't Always Be Wrong' and Woody Hernan's 'Woodchopper's Ball'.   The spotlight's clearly on Lee and his speed of light guitar work (check out his stunning work on 'Woodchopper's Ball'), though in a democratic (though needless) move, each band member's given a chance to stretch out and show their stuff.  The solos probably add a needless ten minutes to the proceedings (check out Lee's drum showcase 'Shantung Cabbage'), but that's apparently part of the band's attraction for hardcore fans.  Doesn't do much for me, but what do I know ...  Elsewhere the album includes the original version of their forthcoming US hit 'I'm Going Home'.  Slower and more menacing the version played at Woodstock and the hit single; I actually like this live version better.

 

"Undead" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I May Be Wrong, But I Won't Always Be Wrong   (Alvin Lee) = 9:50

2.) Woodchopper's Ball   (Woody Herman - Bishop) - 7:40

 

(side 2)
1.) Spider In You Web   (Alvin Lee) - 7:50

2.) Summertime   (George Gershwin) - 6:00 

3.) Shantung Cabbage   (Ric Lee) 

4.) I'm Going Home   (Alvin Lee) - 6:30

 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Stonedhenge

Company: Deram

Catalog: DES 18021

Year: 1969

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4350

Price: $20.00

Cost: $66.00

 

Having focused on the blues over their first couple of albums, 1969's "Stonedhenge" found Alvin Lee and company taking some tentative steps to diversify and spread their creative wings.  While the album brought the band some initial commercial recognition in the States, that's not to say this set was any great creative success.  Exemplified by tracks such as 'A Sad Song' , 'No Title' and ''Hear Me Calling' blues remained the predominant sound, but this time around Lee and company took some stabs at writing rock and roll.  Their efforts were at best a mixed success.  Certainly more enthusiastic than the album's pedestrian blues numbers, 'Woman Trouble' and 'Speed Kills' were at least listenable - although the latter's train crash ending was kind of jarring.  Elsewhere (a la Beatles' "White Album") each member got a solo spot.  Keyboardist Chuck Churchill turned in a rather dull organ-propelled instrumental 'I Can't Live without Lydia'.  Ric Lee's supposed moment to shine was on the plodding instrumental 'Faro', while drummer Lee turned the traditional 'Three Blind Mice' into a seemingly endless solo (luckily it clocked in at under a minute.  Goofiest effort is Lee's skat instrumental Skoobly Oobly Doobob'.  Best of the lot was Lee's 'Woman Trouble" which was also released as a UK single.

 

"Stonedhenge" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Going To Try   (Alvin Lee) - 4:52

2,) I Can't Live without Lydia (instrumental)   (Chuck Churchill) - 1:23

3.) Woman Trouble   (Alvin Lee) - 4:37

4.) Skoobly Oobly Doobob (instrumental)   (Alvin Lee) - 1:47

5.) Hear Me Calling   (Alvin Lee) - 5:44

 

(side 2)
1.) A Sad Song   (Alvin Lee) - 3:23

2.) Three Blind Mice (instrumental)   (traditional) - 0:57

3.) No Title   (Alvin Lee) - 8:13

4.) Faro (instrumental)   (Alvin Lee) - 1:10

5.) Speed Kills   (Alvin Lee - Mike Vernon) - 3:42

 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Ssssh

Company: Deram

Catalog: DES 18029

Year: 1969

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 4366

Price: $10.00

 

If you've read some of the earlier album comments, you'll know that I admire Alvin Lee, but wasn't overwhelmed by Ten Year After's first couple of albums.

 

Released as they were generating waves of publicity for their incendiary performance at Woodstock, 1969's "Ssssh" proved to be the album that broke the band commercially in the US.  Produced by Alvin Lee and company, it also happens to be the tightest and most interesting album they'd released.  The album certainly sold well, hitting # 20 in the States. Largely written by Lee, the set still found the band finally beginning to move away from their jazz roots, towards more of a conventional rock sound.  While blues remained the predominant genre and the focus remained on Alvin Lee's blazing guitar, this time around the band came together as a performing unit.  Tracks such as 'Bad Scene' and the blazing 'Stoned Woman' may not have been the most exciting thing you've ever heard, but the band's playing was red hot, injecting a surprising amount of heat and passion into the proceedings.  Best track was the lone cover - Sonny Boy Williamson's 'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl' with slightly revamped lyrics that ensured the song would never get US airplay. Simply because they're so different that the rest of the album, next best efforts are the flower-power ballads 'f You Should Love Me' and 'I Don't Know That You Don't Know My Name'.   Finally, it's always hard to pick an album as being an act's creative zenith, but this may well be the one for Ten Years After ...

 

"Ssssh" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Bad Scene   (Alvin Lee) - 3:20

2.) Two Time Mama  (Alvin Lee) - 2:05

3.) Stoned Woman  (Alvin Lee) - 3:25

4.) Good Morning Little Schoolgirl   (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 6:34

 

(side 2)
1.) If You Should Love Me  (Alvin Lee) -5:25

2.) I Don't Know That You Don't Know My Name  (Alvin Lee) -1:56

3.) The Stomp  (Alvin Lee) - 4:34

4.) I Woke Up This Morning  (Alvin Lee) - 5:25




Genre: blues-rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Cricklewood Green

Company: Deram

Catalog: DES 18038

Year: 1970

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; original inner sleeve; no poster

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 1249

Price: $12.00

 

Self-produced, 1970's "Cricklewood Green" is easily my favorite Ten Years After LP.  The reason I find this one so attractive has to do with the fact Alvin Lee and company finally broke away from their long standing, hardcore blues fixation.  Mind you, blues remained an important part of their musical recipe, but this time it was kept in the check with 'Me and My Baby' being the only true blues workout.  Exemplified by original material such as the lead off rocker 'Sugar the Road', 'Working On the Road' and 'As the Sun Still Burns Away' this set sported a much more conventional and radio friendly FM rock sound, giving rhythm section Ric Lee and Leo Lyon a chance to stretch out and show off their stuff.   Personal favorite - the psych-ish '50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain' (love Chuck Churchill's harpsichord fills) and the rocker 'Love Like a Man'.  To my ears Lee seldom sounded better singing and while his trademarked lightening fast guitar runs were in short supply this time around, the end result was an album that didn't sound as calculated as on some of the earlier sets.  Lee actually sounded like he was having fun, as opposed to sounding like he had to impress hardcore blues fans.  Come to think about it, the whole band actually sounded like they were having fun ... even on the goofy 'Year 3,000 Blues'.  (Depending on which story you believe, the album title was either inspired by the recording location; Olympic Studios located in Cricklewood Green which was a North-West London suburb, or it was a name the band attached to an illicit recreational substance consumed during the recording sessions.)

 

full gatefold sleeve

 

"Crickelwood Green" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Sugar the Road   (Alvin Lee) - 3:46

The opening electronic chirps were a bit disconcerting, but after that 'Sugar the Road' revealed itself to be a surprisingly muscular FM rocker.  Leo Lyon turned in one of the busiest bass lines I've ever heard and I'm always surprised to hear how good Lee's voice was ...   rating: *** stars

2.) Working On the Road   (Alvin Lee) - 4:15

Yes, this had a blues-base but was also one of the most melodic tunes Lee ever wrote.  Always loved the "I've got a feeling for home ..." chorus and his solo on this one was simply magnificent.   A classic Ten Years After performance.   rating: **** stars

3.) 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain   (Alvin Lee) - 7:37

Such an atypical song for the band - starting with a fragile and beautiful melody that sounded very 1967 (for goodness sakes there was even a harpsichord), '50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain' just built and built energy as it went along.  A jam song for folks who don't like extended jams.  My choice for the album's standout performance.   rating: **** stars

4.) Year 3,000 Blues   (Alvin Lee) - 2:17

Goofy old timey blues tune with some truly bizarre lyrics ("Now if I had been a scholar; With computer working hard; Then my molecular structure; Would not be on the grader's card.")  Even though  Lee turned in some truly blazing runs on acoustic guitar, this one simply didn't do a great deal for me.  rating: ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Me and My Baby   (Alvin Lee) - 4:12

Chuck Churchill's moment in the spotlight.  Unfortunately it came on a bland and predictable blues number that sounded like a throwback to their earlier catalog.  rating: ** stars

2.) Love Like a Man   (Alvin Lee) - 7:13

It took Lee and company about five seconds to display the mesmerizing riff that propelled Love Like a Man' to greatness and once they locked into the groove, they didn't let go it for over seven minutes.  It was also one of the few tunes where Lee trotted out some guitar pryotechnics. One of the album highpoints, the song was released world wide as a single.   YouTube has an impressive black and white  clip of the band doing the tune at a1975 performance at the Winterland Ballroom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCgCYLe8yLc     rating: **** stars

3.) Circles   (Alvin Lee) - 3:55

For folks who associated these guys with conventional English blues-rock, the sweet acoustic ballad 'Circles' will come as a complete and unexpected shock.   The prettiest thing Lee ever wrote ?   Hard to get the sweet melody out of your head.   rating: **** stars

4.) As the Sun Still Burns Away   (Alvin Lee) - 4:42

Built on a nifty ascending riff, complete with cheesy sound electronic burps and belches, 'As the Sun Still Burns Away' sounded a bit like something Robin Trower might have recorded back in the early-'70s.   rating: **** stars

 

In the US and most of the world the single was:

 

- 1970's ''Love Like a Man' b/w 'Love Like a Man' (live) (Deram catalog number 45-4529)  The 'aA' side was a normal 45 rpm, while the the slip side was mastered to play at 33 rpm.

 

In a couple of countries 'Working on the Road' was released as a follow-on 45.

 

 

 

Sadly, in the wake of surgical complication, Lee died in March 2013.  He was only 68.

 

There are a host of Lee-oriented websites.  Probably the best is the official site at: http://www.alvinlee.com/ 

 

 

 

 



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

 


 

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