A FORGOTTEN BLUES ROCKER…Alvin Lee & Co: Live at the Academy of Music New York 1975

If anyone remembers guitarist Alvin Lee these days, it’s for his torrid solo on “Goin’ Home” at Woodstock, solidifying his reputation as the fastest guitarist in the west. He had a stint with Ten Years After during that time, put out some impressive solo material, and then died in 2013 due to complications from a medical procedure. Did anyone notice?
This double album of a concert from 1975 should renew your interest in him. He’s leading a bona fide blues rock band with Ian Wallace/dr, Mel Collins/fl-sax, Brother James/perc, Ronnie Leahy/key, Steve Thompson/b and a pair of backing vocalists. Careerwise, this concert is just after his best album, In Flight, so much of that material is performed here, and it’s worth a second (or first) listen.
His voice is exceptionally strong and earthy, and the team rocks the boogie on pieces such as “Got to Keep Moving” and hard hitting “I’m Writing You a Letter.” The rhythm team shuffles with R&B soul as Lee does his best take of Clyde McPhatter on a hip “Money Honey” and Collins adds some swinging tenor sax on his own“Percy’s Roots.” More intriguing is the middle part of the concert where Lee goes acoustic, and he’s a back road wonder on “All Life’s Trials” and the folksy “Time and Space” with Leahy’s Hammond B3. The team closes with a Delta delight on “Ride My Train,” and if you’re looking for something to supplement your Joe Bonamassa collection, check out this vintage guy who started it all.

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