Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rock and roll music to the world (Ten Years After)

Oh my! I read an emailed Mojo bulletin yesterday on Alvin Lee's death and it blind sided me.

You know what it's like when you read about something completely unexpected - it's an intake of breath and an 'Oh no!' moment. I'm struggling to grasp it quite frankly.

Mojo reported that he died in Spain (where he was living) from complications from a routine medical procedure. What??? How does that happen?

He was only 68 and still active in music (2012 he released his latest, now last, album Still On The Road To Freedom) and although he was never ever going to move the tectonic plates of rock and roll again, like he did at Woodstock with the revelatory I'm Going Home (by helicopter), he was a titan of the rock guitar world and the planet is a lesser place without him.

Readers will remember my other posts on my favourite Ten Years After/ Alvin Lee moments so for today I want to focus on the group's 1968 live performance of Woodchoppers' Ball, the old Woody Herman song.

It comes from the Afters' second album Undead which was recorded live (hardy ha!) in a little jazz club. At nearly 8 minutes long, it can be seen as a precursor to the seminal Woodstock performance. Like that legendary time in space, Woodchoppers wastes not one second in it's fiery trajectory.

Their version clearly displays all the wares - Leo Lyons on breathtaking bass guitar, Ricky Lee's virtuoso drum display and the underrated Chick Churchill on organ. All gel with Alvin's musicality on guitar.

Alvin signs off the performance with a name check for the band members and ends humbly with...'and me'.

Alvin! We loved you man!

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