Archive for Ten Years After

Alvin Lee, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags , on March 7, 2013 by 30daysout


Guitarist Alvin Lee, founder of the band Ten Years After, has died at the age of 68.

Lee is perhaps best known for the fiery fretwork on the blues workout “I’m Going Home,” immortalized by the movie Woodstock. The group’s appearance at the Woodstock festival and movie made them very famous, and a few years later the band had its biggest hit, “I’d Love To Change The World.”

Rolling Stone story about Alvin Lee

MP3: “I Woke Up This Morning” by Ten Years After

MP3: “I’d Love To Change The World” by Ten Years After

MP3: “50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain” by Ten Years After

MP3: “Love Like A Man” by Ten Years After

MP3:  “Baby Won’t You Let Me Rock and Roll You” by Ten Years After

YouTube: “I’m Going Home” by Alvin Lee & Ten Years After, 1978

42 Years Out: Woodstock Music & Art Fair

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2011 by 30daysout

Yeah, it was 42 years ago this weekend, more or less.

I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road. And I asked him, “Where are you going?” And this he told me:

“Sir, you can park up in the parking lot.” He was one of the volunteers who hang around the green, grassy fields where they held the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, about 42 years ago. We drove up there from New York City on a hot July Monday, and we walked through the nice museum and the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts amphitheater. We also strolled through the lush grass where a little more than four decades ago about half a million kids grooved to the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and many more.

Not too many people were there on the day we went, and of course it was nowhere near as exciting as the visit we made in 2009. But it’s a nice pilgrimage for people who profess to love the music – it’s a reminder that no matter how many Sugarlands or Jason Aldeans or Lady Gagas parade before us, there will always be somebody plucking a guitar and writing a song. For every one of those clowns there will be a Jakob Dylan, a Justin Townes Earle, a Mumford and Sons and maybe even an older artist finally getting deserved exposure, like Alejandro Escovedo. Like the green grass outside Bethel, New York, you just gotta go looking for it.

Let’s play some tracks they gave us from the 40th anniversary of Woodstock at Bethel Woods, NY, in 2009:

MP3:  “Going Up The Country” by Canned Heat

MP3: “Fish Cheer/Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” by Country Joe McDonald

MP3: “50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain” by Ten Years After

MP3: “Woodstock Boogie” by Canned Heat

MP3: “Summertime” by Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Sophia Ramos)

MP3: “St. Stephen/Turn On Your Lovelight” by the Jefferson Starship (with Cathy Richardson, Linda Imperial and Tom Constanten)

MP3: “Volunteers/With A Little Help From My Friends” by the Jefferson Starship and others

YouTube: Excerpts from “Oh! Woodstock!” a 1970 documentary on NBC-TV

The Woodstock festival grounds today.

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Ten Years After

Posted in Lost Classics!, Your Sister's Record Rack with tags , , , , on April 28, 2011 by 30daysout

Spent a few days without a working computer … it was a virus and thankfully not one of those fearful tornadoes. Anyway, we dip back into our own personal collection of “hippie” records and pull out this masterpiece, A Space In Time, the 1971 LP from Ten Years After.

We’ve covered this band once before, when we reviewed Cricklewood Green from 1970. There we posed the theory that by the turn of the decade Alvin Lee and company were looking ahead to take the music forward, along with similarly minded visionaries like Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie and the Rolling Stones. A Space In Time reflects that vision – it’s a combination of the usual blues-rock workouts that Ten Years After was known for (“I’m Going Home” from Woodstock, for example) and acoustic, melodic songs side by side.

The payoff was, of course, “I’d Love To Change The World,” which was actually a hit for TYA.  I remember the first time I heard it on the radio, I thought it was Traffic. Pleasantly surprised, though, I learned it was an Alvin Lee composition like the rest of the album’s 10 tunes – except for the closing “Uncle Jam” which is credited to the entire band.

“One Of These Days,” which opens the LP, is a slow builder that is more typical of Ten Years After’s blues rock style. It’s a showcase for Alvin Lee’s brilliant guitar work, and he even blows some mean harmonica on this one. I’m a sucker for these late ’60s-early ’70s things with guitar, organ fills and harmonica – and it’s a lot more tasteful than, say, Humble Pie of the same era.

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Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Singles, Part 5

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , on September 3, 2010 by 30daysout

Remember when you had a record player that could stack about five or six 45 rpm singles on a spindle, and they dropped onto the turntable one at a time?  I gotta say, sometimes I feel that modern technology has taken some of the romance out of life.  Ah well, here are some more singles:

Let’s get crazy right out of the chute … Ten Years After was a British blues/rock/psychedelic band from the late 1960s, most famous of course for their 11-minute boogie “I’m Going Home” at Woodstock.  That song originally appeared on the band’s Undead live album from 1968, but after Woodstock the band’s label decided to issue an edit of the song on single.  So here we have “I’m Going Home” in its incarnation as a 1969 single, the Undead track whittled down to about three and a half minutes.

MP3: “I’m Going Home” by Ten Years After

For a long stretch in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, nobody came close to Foreigner for sheer hit-making power.  The band led by journeyman guitarist Mick Jones and leather-lunged singer Lou Gramm scored hit after hit that sounded great on the radio.   Their albums sold in the millions, and one of their biggest was 4, released in 1981.  Foreigner’s only No. 1 album in the United States spawned monster hits like “Urgent,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and “Juke Box Hero.”  The band also released the rocker “Luanne” as a single that mysteriously stiffed.

MP3: “Luanne” by Foreigner

Gerry Rafferty was formerly part of the band Stealers Wheel, then he went solo in 1978 and scored big with the album City to City and the soaring hit “Baker Street.”  Rafferty felt a little uneasy about being a rock frontman and he was very reluctant to perform live – as a result his albums probably didn’t sell as well as they should have because he rarely toured.  Snakes And Ladders, an album from 1980, featured “Royal Mile (Sweet Darlin’)” as its opening track and only single.

MP3: “Royal Mile (Sweet Darlin’)” by Gerry Rafferty

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Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Ten Years After

Posted in Rock Classics! with tags , , , , , , on May 27, 2010 by 30daysout

It’s always cool to hear artists perform songs that you’ve always known from listening to records.  I remember once seeing the Who in the Houston Astrodome, and when Pete Townshend hit those familiar chords to begin “Pinball Wizard,” I literally got goosebumps because this was a song I’d heard thousands of times on the radio and on record.   It’s even better when an artist or band plays a song you had completely forgotten about.

This was the case last year at the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, held at the Bethel Woods Center in New York.  Ten Years After took the stage, and although Alvin Lee is no longer their frontman/guitarist, the band is still pretty good.  They were doing some of their familiar blues-rock things (and saving Woodstock highlight “I’m Going Home” for last) when one of the band asked, “Anybody like psychedelic songs?”  It was an introduction to the song “50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain,” from the 1970 album Cricklewood Green – which is the record we’re spinning today.

Woodstock happened in 1969, and the band’s performance of “I’m Going Home” at the festival and in the subsequent movie made them huge stars.  Ten Years After, led by fiery guitarist Alvin Lee, formed in 1966 – ten years after the first appearance of Elvis Presley, who Lee idolized.  TYA was a blues-rock band, in the style of the early Rolling Stones, and before the Woodstock watershed they made a minor name for themselves by touring Europe and the United States.  Their 1969 album Stonedhenge found them turning a little more experimental, but not really “psychedelic” (despite what the title implies) – the album featured some jazz and classical touches.

But when Cricklewood Green came out in 1970, TYA could now be considered a truly psychedelic outfit.  The eight songs that appear on the original LP were all written by Alvin Lee, but bandmates Chick Churchill (keyboards), Ric Lee (drums) and Leo Lyons (bass) apparently had a lot of input in the final sound of the entire record.  The result is a more comfortable and assured set than its predecessor, mixing the trademark blues workouts (“Me and My Baby”) with some songs featuring diverse styles (the rock shuffle “Working On the Road,”, the almost country-ish  “Year 3,000 Blues” and the ballad “Circles”).  Most likely, it’s the best album of the Alvin Lee years.

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Woodstock Veterans To Appear at 40th Anniversary

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on May 5, 2009 by 30daysout

Well, they’re calling it “Heroes Of Woodstock,” or the “Bethel Woods Music Festival” – it depends on where you look.  But on Saturday, August 15, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in upstate New York will host a music festival on the grounds of the original 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival.

The performers listed include the Levon Helm Band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Ten Years After, Canned Heat, Mountain (with Leslie West and Corky Laing), and Country Joe McDonald.  They’re not going to have it in a wild, open field – this festival will be in the lavish Bethel Woods Center for the Arts amphitheatre built on a hill overlooking the original Woodstock site, a dairy farm that hosted 400,000 people on August 15-17, 1969.

And of course, it won’t be “free,” as Woodstock was for its final day in 1969.  Top tickets are $69 (get it?), there’s a $40 seat and lawn tickets on the grass are, of course, $19.69.  There is also a full museum on the site dedicated to the Woodstock festival and the era, and I’ve read that it’s pretty good. 

Bethel Center For The Arts official website

MP3: “The Weight” by the Band (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Somebody To Love” by the Jefferson Airplane (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Southbound Train” by Mountain (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)” by Janis Joplin (live at Woodstock)