WWW.ALVINLEE.DE                    Page 15





 

NOVEMBER 1989

Release of the 12th LP by

TEN YEARS AFTER

"ABOUT TIME"

 

Chrysalis 210 180


click picture to enlarge

"Unfortunately, the album came out

at a time when I think the personnel 

at the record company were changing; 

the album wasn't a huge success

  sales-wise."

 

Leo Lyons



 




 

click picture to enlarge





 

 

 

 

 

g


 

 

 

 
 

Alvin Lee ("Ten Years After") Interview

He gained his reputation after people started referring to him as the fastest guitar player on earth. Between 1967 and 1974, he did 30 tours of the U.S. He knew Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. He performed at Woodstock and was featured in the film of the same name. He is Alvin Lee and his band is TEN YEARS AFTER. It's been 15 years since the release of his last album, but make no mistake about it, Alvin Lee is back. ABOUT TIME (Chrysalis Records) is Alvin Lee and TEN YEARS AFTERS latest vinyl effort. Recently, Alvin Lee spoke with us about the music business he knows.

Why did you feel now was the right time to put out an album?
It was last summer and I got a call from a promoter in Germany, and he said is there any chance of getting TEN YEARS AFTER together for these four festivals in Germany? I called up the guys and they all said yeah, we'd love to do it. I kept in touch pretty much on a social level, but we hadn't done any work together. We did The Marquee Anniversary about 5 years ago. But, nothing much came of that. There wasn't much interest around at the time. It was all New Wave then. Anyway, we had a couple of rehearsals and played these festivals in Germany. Twenty thousand people at each gig! There were banners out saying "Welcome Back TYA!" Basically, it's by public demand. We would’ve been fools not to realize that people wanted to hear the band. I don't really know why. There seems to be a movement back towards the older bands now. It seems to be rampant in fact. But, I'm not going to complain about it.

How were you able to support yourself all these years?
I’ve been a working musician all the time. I’ve been doing gigs under the name of the Alvin Lee Band. What I did, kind of my backlash against the business was, I wanted to earn a living as a musician without the interviews and the media stuff. But, it was good for me. The fact is, it's kind of club circuit. I've toured America 12 times over the last 10 years. Thing is, nobody really gets to hear about it on the club level. You hit town and maybe there's a thousand people there, and it doesn't actually get out into the papers. It's been enjoyable. My ambition was to be a working musician, and that's what I’ve been doing. I think this is an opportunity to get back into the mainstream, and kind of carry on where we left off. But, we've all had our ears open for the last 15 years.

When you performed at Woodstock did you think it was a big deal?
Not really. It was a good festival. It was a big deal personally. I enjoyed it. It was a spectacular event. The main thing to me that made it different was flying in by helicopter. I had a safety harness on and was hanging out over a half million people. Not the kind of thing you forget easily. Actual playing wise it didn't seem that special. It was just basically another gig. Even after we'd done it, apart from being declared a national disaster by the government, it didn't seem that big a deal. I think the movie is what made it big. And, that didn't come out till a year after we played. In fact, we were doing 5,000 seaters a year after Woodstock, and when the movie came out we were kind of catapulted to the 20,000 seat bracket.

As I understand it, Sly and the family Stone and Janis Joplin were sandwiched between ten years after. Is that true?
I don't think that was the way it happened on the actual gig. It may have been that way in the movie. I think we played after (Joe) Crocker, possibly before Country Joe. The reason I have any memories of the Festival at all, apart from the helicopter ride, was we were about to go on, Cocker had played, and the storm broke, which is still one of the highlights of the Festival to me. (Laughs) God's own light show. The stage got flooded and there were sparks jumping around. In fact, nobody wanted to go on. They thought it was dangerous. There was a 4 hour gap. I took a walk around the lake and kind of joined in the audience as it were, which was great. I got to see it from the other side of the fence.

The groups and performers who played Woodstock were not as concerned with gimmicks and show-biz as many of today's performers are. You have to wonder how many of the people in attendance at Woodstock can relate to today's music.
We were called underground movement in those days. It was the time when we could get on stage and play in street clothes, like jeans and t-shirts. You didn't have to bow and do the show-biz kind of thing. It was pure, one hundred percent music. That was what it was all about. It was about the playing, and of course the extended solos, and the ten minute songs. It might’ve been self indulgent but it was a very healthy situation for a band to be able to play just the way they wanted to play. I think that attitude is what is interesting people today. It's a good healthy attitude towards music.

Youy knew both Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. What do you remember about them?
I held them both in high respect. Jimi Hendrix was a phenomenal guitar player. He was an innovator. There's lots of good guitar players but I think he was the one guy I actually couldn’t pin down where his roots were.

And Janis?
Janis Joplin and I used to get along pretty well. She used to call me "Babycakes" whatever that meant. She was great. To me she was like one of the boys. I never hardly thought of her as a woman. She was like an ass-kicking rock'n'roller, a lot of energy, a lot of power. I first met here at the Fillmore East. I think it was TEN YEARS AFTER'S first concert at the Fillmore East. We were supporting the Staple Singers and Janis. We all had a jam at the end. She was great. She turned me on to Southern Comfort--got me drunk as a skunk. I was watching the show from the wings, and saw people handing her bottles of the stuff. I saw here tip her head back and drink half a bottle. So I thought it probably was like Red Ripple, some wine or something. She came offstage and gave me a bottle and it tasted nice and sweet. I got very drunk. In fact, I woke up backstage at the Fillmore East about 2 hours later and everybody had gone home. I didn't even know the name of the hotel we were staying at. Some guy was sweeping up and I said, "Do you know where all the bands are staying?" Amazingly enough, he gave me three addresses and I found out where we were.

Do you like the term superstar?
Not really. No. I've always considered myself a musician. I was your actual reluctant rock star in those days when things kind of took off with TEN YEARS AFTER. I never felt comfortable being a superstar or a rock star. It's just something that people say. My idols have always been John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, the old blues guys and Chuck Berry. Those guys, they get to 60 years old and they're still playing. To me, that's what is important. Hopefully when I get to that age, I'll still be playing too.

© Gary James All Rights Reserved

 

 

 
 

They're late, they're late, and on January 27 they've got a very important date.
(Because that's the day that the re-formed '70's boogie quartet TEN YEARS AFTER play London's Hammersmith Odeon). But naff White Rabbit jokes notwithstanding, it's been fifteen years since the last "official" album, so 'tis apt indeed that the new LP title proclaims prophetically: it's "About Time". PAUL HENDERSON  (the only man on the Kerrang! staff old enough to remember the first time) catches TYA in New York and finds ALVIN LEE and company still boogiein' on down with the best of them… 

TEN YEARS AFTER are in the middle of a U.S.A. tour, with all the attendant hustle and bustle schedules of T.V. press and radio interviews to clog up the "free" time. 

It's their twenty-ninth such jaunt, and round-the-table banter is regularly punctuated with intimate, time acquired knowledge of the various hotels they've stayed in and the venues they've played at on previous visits; the relative merits of domestic beers and the good places to eat… Understandably, after visiting the place so often, they feel quite at home in America.
For the four members of Ten Years After (guitarist Alvin Lee, bassist Leo Lyons, drummer Ric Lee and keyboardist Chick Churchill), sitting in the bar of yet another New York hotel must bring on a collective and vivid case of déjà vu. More strangely, although this is their 29th tour, it is something like 15 years since the 28th! 
Now, a decade-and-a-half after their last "official" new album (74's "Positive Vibrations") and two decades since the cameras recorded their epic, electrifying version of "I'm Going Home", played to an audience of almost half-a-million at 69's Woodstock Festival - Ten Years After are "doing it" again. 
Although they never officially split up, the original line-up are back, with a new album, "About Time", on Chrysalis. They've now completed this tour of the U.S. and dates in Britain are imminent as you read this, following a spell in Europe. 

By any standards, Ten Years After's "lay-off", "rest", "inactivity period", "sabbatical"- call it what you will-has been a lengthy one.
Touring America together again after so long, with a new album to promote, does, they will agree with a smile, "feel a bit weird". "But in another way", says
Ric Lee "it's like we haven't been away, really. It feels kind of like picking up where we left off." 

Leo Lyons, fingering his elegant "Wing Commander" style waxed moustache, explains further: "The purpose of this tour is specifically to let people know that we're back. We came over to do smaller places-what you'd call "showcases". We've got either twelve or thirteen albums out in the marketplace, and when another album comes out there's a danger of people thinking it's just another compilation. So we've come over here and we're talking to people and doing interviews to let them know what's happening. The gigs are actually the perks that's our reward for coming here." 

Ric Lee: "What's interesting about the gigs is that in Europe we found we were playing to eighteen to twenty-five year olds, but here, I think maybe because of the venues strict over twenty-one drinking laws, the majority are the older crowd-the crowd that was around at the time of Woodstock. I think when we move into the theatres next near we'll start to pull in more of the younger fans." 

How did you go about arranging the set-balancing the need to promote the new album, while including a substantial number of old songs to satisfy those sections of the audience demand them? 

Leo: "Well, the set is about 60/40 in favour of old stuff, from the twelve albums, every night there's always someone shouting for one particular song or another, so we've tried to do the ones that the majority of people would like to hear, plus the new material. "We always got to do "I'm Going Home", because people want us to do that…" "Good Morning Little School Girl", adds Ric, "and "Love Like A Man" (their only U.K. hit single), although that wasn't an enormous hit here in America, but it's known. "As some people haven't even heard the new album yet, the older stuff sometimes has a more immediate impact. I've noticed that the older crowd seem to prefer the older stuff where as the younger crowd seem to pick up on the new stuff." 

Alvin Lee: There are certain new songs, like "Saturday Night" and "Victim Of Circumstance" , where the choruses repeat, and they pick up on that very quickly, which is great. Generally, I think the new songs are going down about as well as the ones we first did around twenty years ago."
Twenty years ago (or there-a-bouts as they actually formed in 1967). Ten Years After came riding in on the crest of the blues boom wave, the band's appeal centering on the gritty vocals and high speed guitar playing of Alvin Lee. Back in the late 60's and early 70's, Lee was considered to be an astounding fast guitarist, who's skill at stringing together fluid, high speed clusters of notes came to some extent from a background in jazz. In terms of sheer speed (for which he was later heavily criticised) it's doubtful whether there was anyone else around at the time who could touch him. From 1969's "Stonedhenge", Ten Years After's albums were consistently strong sellers in Britain, with four of them- "Stonedhenge" itself, plus "Ssssh" "Cricklewood Green" and "Watt" all making the U.K. Top 10. They also sold well in the U.S. where their 1971 album "A Space In Time" went Gold. But it was largely as a live band that Ten Years After really made their mark, with what was once described as a "super-adrenalined gross out approach" to their shows. Not long after the release of their first album "Ten Years After" in 1967, the band quickly became a major concert attraction in the States, due largely to the enthusiasm of the legendary West Coast concert promoter Bill Graham, who booked them into the then prestigious Fillmore East and Fillmore West auditoriums. As mentioned earlier, most people's most vivid memory of Ten Years After is their appearance at Woodstock, but that concert was also something of a watershed in their career, because before Woodstock they had been playing eight to ten thousand seat venues; after that they found themselves playing to audiences in the twenty five to thirty thousand range. 

According to Alvin Lee, "that's when the fun went out of it." They didn't feel they were achieving anything, and it became what he calls "the travelling jukebox syndrome, where you get on stage, plug in, and away you go, you do the same as you did last night". In the end, after twenty eight U.S. tours (interestingly, supported by none other than ZZ TOP on several of them), they simply toured themselves out. Alvin Lee began a solo career (which he kept up until the recent Ten Years After reformation) and released several solo albums, Chick Churchill went into music publishing, Ric Lee (no relation to Alvin, by the way) formed a production company, and Leo Lyons went into producing bands, UFO being one of them. After the long lay-off, during which they did, however, do a clump of four tour dates in the Summer of 1983 which followed the 25th anniversary of London's Marquee Club. The next reappearance of Ten Years After was when the band reconvened in 1988 to play some European rock festivals at the request of an enthusiastic fan / promoter, and subsequently did a tour of Germany. With their hunger rekindled, they decided to return to the recording studio, enlisting, for the first time, the services of an outside producer, (Terry Manning who produced ZZ Top and George Thorogood and the Destroyers), and emerged from a studio in Memphis with "About Time". Far from being a cash-in on the 1970's-bands reformation bandwagons, "About Time" is a legitimate Ten Years After album, blending old Ten Years After values and trademarks with a modern, and at times ZZ Top-tinged production, and neither of which are disappointingly retro-nor too radical, uncharacteristically new direction, they are understandably pleased with the results. In fact pleased enough to decide that yes, after fifteen years, Ten Years After is back in business once again. For Ten Years After, the critical reaction to the new album must be heartwarming, having for the most part been the sort of response (with a 5 K's rating in Kerrang! for example) that was probably beyond what they could reasonably have expected. 

"It's been a good reaction, actually", enthused Alvin said, "we put out "let's Shake It Up" over here as the introductory single, and it got a particularly good reaction. "People were ringing up saying they'd heard the record and asking who it was. People have picked up on exactly what I'd hoped, which is that we've got a modern sounding album but which hasn't completely lost the roots of what we started off doing. "There was a danger that we could have gone in and made an "ultra modern" album which is really what we're fighting against. I think it's generally accepted that we've come up with a modern sounding album that's true to its roots." That's certainly true. There's also a certain irony that after years of touring interspersed with putting out albums that failed to effectively capture the live essence of Ten Years After, "About Time" although recorded after a lengthy spell of band inactivity, is probably the closest they've ever come to succeeding. As for the reason, Alvin reckons you need look no further than producer Terry Manning. "He had a picture in his head of the sound before we ever did. We had the songs, about fifty of them, and we had the general style. We gave him a whole bunch of demos and said, "Here, pick ten out of that, mate! And he was very good at that." 

"He was quite a tough producer," recalls Chick Churchill, "He knew what he wanted us not to play, which is very important. He guided us, made us play simpler than we would do onstage… "I learned a lot from it, and I know Alvin did, as did Ric and Leo. He made us make a record, and not try to emulate a live performance. "I think we'd got lost before, and having such a long sabbatical gave us a lot of time to think about what to do. I think we're much more into rock music now than we were in those days, when we were probably more blues and jazz influenced. That has been watered down a bit and we've become more rock musicians"

Ric Lee says: "If you listen to the other ten, Ten Years After albums…"
Alvin interrupts, "You'll go mad!"
Ric
continues: "…and then listen to this one, the difference on it is almost that we've come of age. Someone pointed out to us that it's usually the other way around, meaning you start simple and then find that you can develop your chops and play all sorts of things. "In a sense, it's taken us this long to "calm down" as it were, and make what I think is our best album, our most listenable album, put it that way. The reviews have been very good." 

Still there are bound to be those who will view Ten Years After's return as an attempt to cash-in on the 1970's revival movement. They are aware that such accusations are occasionally going to come their way and, understandably, they don't like it. Although for now they reject such claims in measured tones, my impression is that anyone making them to their face in the future had better be prepared for a more vitriolic response.
Alvin Lee:
"After we did those festivals in Germany, we got offered a "Woodstock Reunion" tour, and a lot of offers like that, and the money offered was pretty good, but what would we do after that? Count it? We decided it was best to make a new album and try to move into the 1990's rather than be a nostalgia band."

 Leo Lyons: for one, I would not have been interested in doing anything without recording a new album: "I fought against re-forming the band again. I didn't want to do it. "Every other year or so since 1975, some manager would call up and say, "How much will you take to do a Ten Years After tour? I'd just say I didn't want to do it. "In 1983 when we did four dates, I wanted to do them because I wanted to enjoy them…but I really didn't want it to become Ten Years After again. "The reason it's happened this time is that it hit me at a period in my life where I so desperately missed playing live. In actual fact, just before those 1983 dates, I put my own band together just to try and do that." 

Sitting here in New York, swilling beers and chatting about the previous night's show-with tour personal, journalists, and photographers milling around, I couldn't help but wonder how they were adapting to touring again. Apart from the fact that, now they have a vast wealth of experience on which to draw in order to avoid the pitfalls, might it also be fair to assume that there's less pressure this time? 

Alvin Lee, slowly shook his head: "I don't think there was ever any pressure really, it's good fun playing live, it's like the old days when we started-all stuck together in the van and you make your own entertainment, it keeps a sort of camaraderie going. "I love touring and I love going by tour-bus, because you can't rely on airlines anymore if you've got connections to make." 

Leo Lyons: "The gigs are great, playing is fantastic, for me personally though, I sometimes find the travelling a bit boring, and there are less parties! "I think when you talk to musicians now-I'm not talking about us in particular, more the younger guys-you find that they're out there doing the radio stations, the in-stores, the promotion, the interviews, the sound-checks…. When we were touring in the late 1960's and early 1970's we didn't do any of that. "You reached your audiences by going out and doing the gig-bugger the press! That really was the attitude. Radio stations then would play a whole side of your album-so we'd do the radio, do the gig, then we'd party. There isn't as much partying anymore. Leo continues: "What I personally get out of it now, as always, is going onstage and performing to the audience that's there. "I'm prepared to do the rest-the promotion. the videos, everything, just to be able to do that, and I'm very appreciative of a fan who goes out and buys an album. If someone walked into my hotel and said, "Will you sign my album?" I'd say, "Thanks for buying it." 

Ric Lee: "It's good to go to a gig and never be quite sure what's going to happen, because the band never knows quite what's going to take place. They're doing the numbers, but they're never quite the same every night. That's certainly what interest me with this band, and what I'm sure a lot of people can see. "I mean, I don't imagine someone like Bon Jovi does "jam things", everyone's organised, and if you catch their show in Ohio it's probably exactly the same as the one they did in Los Angeles." 

Alvin Lee: "For years and years, we tried to make a record that sounded like the live gigs, which is the opposite way around as most bands are trying to make their gigs sound like the record, but we're basically a live band, with adrenalin, energy, interplay, is what happens onstage naturally." 

Ric Lee: "I think the primary aim is for us to enjoy it. Certainly on this tour we're not making money. We're doing it because we're enjoying it and to build a solid foundation for the future." 

Leo Lyons: "I think there are three things that are going to make it work: you have to enjoy it, you have to be successful, and you have to earn a living out of it. Without any of those it won't work, not for us anyway." 

Alvin Lee: "I actually now realize that I enjoyed struggling towards making it more than I enjoyed making it. When we'd so-called "made it" and were an established band, I didn't like that much at all, because the kind of "challenge" had gone. "We're not struggling to make it now, we're just struggling to turn people on to the music." A bit, I suggest, like fancying a girl, going after her, and then when yu finally "get" her, you lose interest? "Yeah, Right now we're enjoying the chase. In some ways we just have to make sure we don't get what we're looking for!"

 

 

 

Many Thanks to Ralf Langenscheid for his Promo CD of "About Time" 


 

About Time 1989 (Bitter Sweet)


For me this is another Ten Years After enigma, it's so damn good, full of energy and full of all the hope and promise that we fans had been waiting for. Was this to be the start of Ten Years After phase two? The door was open but once again it wasn't meant to continue .
All the moving parts were in place, the oil was added, and the fuel and the spark were all there, but the desire and camaraderie was not. The emotional fabric that once held the band together, has long since been missing, never to happen again with all four original members present. For me, it died long before the 1983 Marquee 25th anniversary performance.

Two songs by Leo Lyons made the final cut, the rest are all Alvin Lee compositions, and what the hell happened to Chick Churchill's contributions? Surely, someone in control of choosing the new material, mainly Terry Manning, could have and should have dumped "Saturday Night" and "Wild Is The River" as high school sophomoric / moronic bull-shit, and added a ten minute keyboard jam by Chick in there respective places.

Thus, this is the Ten Years After swan song, and it dies a death equal to that of One Last Cold Kiss by Leslie West and Mountain. It's easy to see the break, just read the song credits. Lyons / Crooks or Lyons / Nye / Crooks and in the other corner we have Lee / Gould - Lee / Hinkley or just Lee. The fact is, it's all about Alvin Lee. Looking back we are now able to see who the weakest link in Ten Years After was, and who brought his guitar but not his loyalty or passion to the project.

1. Highway Of Love - isn't about love at all, but about lust- instant gratification and burning up the rubber. It is a rocker, it is good, and it is enjoyable. Only the guitar work is burning up time, the last minute or so is a waste, at least in audio terms. On the video it works much better with the visuals of a concert hall.
2. Let's Shake It Up-- same as above. It reminds me of Gonna Turn You On, from Rocket Fuel. It also is good and works great, but again too long for my liking. Alvin has a new sound in these two tracks, a kind of flat guitar pick, close to the string bridge, that creates a hollow squeal sound….and Alvin uses that effect when ever possible on this cd.
3. I Get Shook Up-- is a nice change of pace for sure, yet typical of Cricklewood Green or Sssssh side one, two rockers gets you the slow number on the third track recipe. A good song on its own merit, but misplaced here. It should have found a spot at number ten and ended with Outside My Window.
4. Victim Of Circumstance-should be in third position and followed by Working In A Parking Lot, but that's just my impression. Victim, is a great song, as it has all the working elements going for it-truth-anger-frustration-and a thumping rock and roll beat on which to ride comfortably along on. When Alvin says, I'm gonna write my MP (member of parliament) and say "what the fuck's goin' on," he means it. The same applies to the line "I get the shit they get the chances, I get to walk they get to ride". The passion and conviction is right on the money! Way to go Alvin-About Fucking Time!
5. Going To Chicago-a nice bouncy little tune, with a nice change up in tempo now and then. Would make a good sound-track for a blues player biography. The layers of guitar work (or over laying guitar work) works very effectively, thus giving the song a real authentic feel and down home feeling about it. It's different, it's off beat for a TYA song, but it works very well indeed. The downfall is the rhyming….Alvin is the master of the lame cliché and empty talk.
6. Saturday Night--even Cat Stevens singing about Another Saturday Night and he just got paid, is more impressive and tells a cute little story. This piece of worthless SHIT, rubbish, mull….is right up there with the best of the Bay City Rollers….how this ended up on any Ten Years After album is beyond me…another bad / sad mistake for sure. This song alone just ruined the rest of the cd, it killed the momentum and the spirit of hope for the band and for us fans…so long Alvin…it's been fun but now your killing us with this Half-Assed Crap!!! It's long overdue for Alvin to move on, if for no other reason than to save the band, he has to go.
7. Bad Blood-having to follow the last song is not an easy task, to say the least, but by the end of Bad Blood you've shaken off the bad taste and rotten feeling that led into this masterpiece. The tone is solemn, not pleading, but about a man just relaying the facts of a very unfortunate situation and his honest opinion and emotions about his situation. The song comes in slow with a sinister riff that pulls you in and won't let go, kind of like a quick-sand pit, the more you listen the more you want to squirm, and if you move you're over your head and dead. It's a rock and a hard place and "you can't help being born with bad blood". The last production of a long hard line, Alvin sings, gonna rise up, gonna tear you down-some souls ain't for saving can't help being born with bad blood. Right Right, You're Bloody Well Right you are Leo! A strong song and one of the few to hit the mark of excellence on this collection.
8. Working In A Parking Lot-is my personal favorite as I could relate to the situation. Where Alvin's song Victim Of Circumstance leaves off, this song is Leo's appropriate reply. I'm sure it's a matter of coincidence and by no means intentional, but it's so ironic that these two founders of Ten Years After came to the same conclusion having been on the same road for so long. These two songs alone speak volumes. The music is urgent, powerful and driving. Ric's use of a cow bell in the beginning sets the tone that this is to be a unique rocker with a message. Chick's keyboard work is clean yet gutsy adding the right flavour. The song has such a strong groove that it's a real shame it has to end at all. I could imagine this song as the albums opener and main theme while incorporating the other material into the mix…it could have been the Ten Years After concept album.
There's also another observation that needs to be pointed out. All through their career there has been four members, but so many times in their photo shoots Leo, Ric and Chick are shoulder to shoulder close together, and Alvin is always at a noticeable and intended distance from the other three. Look at the cover of "About Time" and it's unmistakeably apparent, Alvin is at arms length away from the others.
9. Wild Is The River (The River Of No Return) -Alvin says in the lyrics "for me there'll be no turning back" and "I have seen the writing on the wall it's telling me it's time to go" and "all I know is that a change is for the better and for me there'll be no turning back".
10. Outside My Window--the blues turns power ballad in the late 1980's. The words ring true but the soul is washed away between all the slick background extras. These extras soften the blues feel into mush and pop. Although Alvin's guitar work and vocals stay respectable, the overall feel is that of KISS doing BETH. It's very nice, it works somewhat but so what? In the final analysis it comes across as filler fluff and looses everything it was attempting to build up, and simply falls flat on its face out of sheer boredom.
11. Waiting For Judgment Day-starts of rocking right out of the gate, but because of Alvin's vocals and uninspired rhyming it becomes mediocre preaching-dooms-day rhetoric. But the music is fantastic! Remove Alvin's vocals and lyrics and it's Ten Years After rocking into the 1990's sounding better than ever before, and I'm one hundred certain that's the exact message, image and statement they were shooting for. Bulls-Eye!!!

In Conclusion:  This is a tough one.
On one hand this recording is inspired, on the other it's Ten Years After "NOW" working with their session musician and hired hand Alvin Lee. As a long time fan, it was a welcomed release, not only the music contained therein, but release from the Alvin Lee syndrome.
Although the band attempted to force a couple of short lived tours around Europe, the writing was on the wall for all to see…and has been since 1974's release of "Positive Vibrations".

Not a bad way to end the "Classic Years" with Alvin Lee. It could have been much worse. It could have ended tragically, like Lynard Skynard or the Allman Brothers Band. Or it could have just faded into rust like the Merry Pranksters famous bus sitting in an Oregon corn field. But that's not the TYA we know and love, they're survivors, rock and roll survivors, Woodstock icons, living legends.

Alvin Lee may have bailed out before the final chapter has been written, and the final curtain call and bows have been taken, but that makes no never mind at this point. Ten Years After rocks! Ten Years After rolls on!

Leo Lyons captured it best: "sign read welcome to view, I got no view at all, looking out the window, staring at the wall, if I could see 'round corners things would look real good".
Leo Lyons, Ric Lee and Chick Churchill have finally turned the corner, and things are looking real good!

Review by Dave

 

 


Record Collector Magazine, 1994

 

 

 

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