One of my favorite bands from the 60’s and early 70’s was Ten Years After and not just because of Alvin Lee’s guitar wizardry. No, while I liked the overall blues rock feel of the band and loved tracks like “Good Morning, Little School Girl” and “Woke up this Morning”‘ I also liked that the rest of the bands members could play and the strong jazz influences on their early albums particularly on the second release Undead. I loved the track “Woodchopper’s Ball”. A cover of the Woody Herman hit. The band was the first band booked by the Chrysalis Agency and their performance at the Windsor Jazz Festival in 1967 led to their contract with Deram Records. I have their albums from the first release Ten Years After through Cricklewood Green. Which was their fifth album and contained the hit “Love Like a Man”. After that album the band took a more commercial turn with A Space in Time which contained the song “I’d Love to Change the World and I kinda drifted away. The band ultimately broke up in 1974 when Alvin Lee embarked on a solo career.
I was happy in find out a few years ago that the band had reformed in 2004 without Alvin Lee. His replacement on guitar is Joe Gooch. The released a fine album entitled Now. I occasionally play tracks from that album but haven’t really kept up with the band, but was searching around the other day I discovered that the band had released two more albums. Roadworks a collection of tracks of material from their tours and a 2008 release Evolution. I put that album on the mp3 player today and color me a fan of Ten Years After again.
Evolution is a great album from the opening track “I Think it’s Going to Rain All Night” which opens with Gooch’s great guitar and Chick Churchill’s keyboards and features nice keyboard and guitar solos! Almost ever track on this ten track CD is a standout in it’s own way. The ballads are as good as the rocking songs and the vocals and lyrics are outstanding throughout the album. Of the ballads I like ” I Never Saw it Coming” and I also like “Slip Slide Away” which features some more fine keyboard work by Chick Churchill and more guitar from Gooch. Alvin Lee who? “Tail Lights” has a kinda’ country feel and the album ends with two great songs “Angry Words” again Gooch shines and “That’s Alright” a great rocking closing number. I know that this album will get many listens over the coming weeks! So if you were a Ten Years After fan check out their new stuff and if you don’t remember them other than at Woodstock and “I’m Coming Home” check out their early albums and certainly check out some of their best work which is on Evolution. Definitely a 4.5 and maybe a 5.
Oh, and I never knew where the band name came from but from Wikipedia: the band formed in 1966 ten years after Elvis Presley’s break out year of 1956!
Here’s a video of the song “Angry Words” from the album