March 7, 2010

Monday Music

By the time that little celebration of Peace & Music on Yasgur’s farm rolled around in August of 1969, Rock & Roll was firmly established as the music of a generation. The British band known as Ten Years After already had three albums on the shelves when they performed this tune, their first U.S. appearance, at Woodstock.

I’m Going Home became a signature hit for the band, and one they would have to play at every concert. A couple months after Woodstock, Ten Years After made an appearance at the Texas International Pop Festival, held just north of Dallas, and performed the old Howlin’ Wolf tune, Spoonful.

The best was yet to come, and in 1971, with the release of their 7th and my personal favorite album, A Space in Time, lead guitarist and vocalist Alvin Lee performed his one and only protest song… I’d Love to Change the World. The one really good, early video on You Tube has the embed function disabled, so this collage will have to do.

Alvin Lee is a pseudonym. He was born in 1944 in Nottingham, England. His birth name was, ironically, Graham Barnes. The fellow is incredibly talented and capable of a wide range of musical genres. Due to the early influence of such musicians as Scotty Moore and Chuck Berry, Alvin had an inclination toward blues. In 1983, Ten Years After performed some classic tunes at London’s Marquee Club, in celebration of the joint’s 25th anniversary.

Alvin Lee and his band members were going in different directions, so he struck out on a solo career several years back. They original band replaced Lee and kept the group together. They all remain good friends, reuniting from time to time by chance or for special events, but for the most part Alvin tours solo. Here he is doing a gig in 1988, called Night of the Guitars.

Ten Years After released a total of 37 albums. Alvin Lee, AKA Graham Barnes, now tours clubs and small venues under his own name. He all but prohibits filming of his concerts, so very little recent stuff is available. You Tube searching may find a few poor quality cellphone videos, but if you want to see the real deal, you’ll have to wait until he comes to your area and pay the cover charge.