Alvin Lee, the guitar superman who was the leader of Ten Years After is back after several years with his first new studio album in a while. The album is, for the most part, noticeably more mellow and softer sounding compared to the rip-roaring fast paced guitar work that Lee did during his good old days at Ten Years After. But, the album does include one interesting reboot of the old TYA classic, “Love Like A Man 2”, which sounds like it’s backed up with a horn section and all that jazz, and is the real standout song on the album, although the title track is fairly decent as well. In fact, the title track is a form of sequel to Alvin Lee’s old album from 1973 with Mylon LeFevre. While the album is certainly fine in it’s own way, it just lacks the excitement that Alvin Lee has been capable of during his long career as one of the world’s greatest living rock guitarist legends. But, it’s certainly great to hear something new from Alvin Lee since his 2007 album, SAGUITAR.
Fans of Alvin Lee sure hope that the music legend isn’t slowing down. But, the slow output of albums along with the more relaxed and carefree music style here might well suggest that’s exactly what’s happening. Alvin Lee is at his best when he puts in a strong guitar workout like his awesome Woodstock performance of “I’m Going Home”. That brought TYA stardom. Fans would love to still see that, although at 67, Alvin Lee is showing signs of slowing down his frenetic guitar style as he ages.
Fans would still like to see the Alvin Lee of old. And he appears to have a lot of new material to work with. In the liner notes booklet, Lee claimed to have 33 songs he wrote, but finally settled down on just 13 songs for this album, so hopefully there’s a lot more Alvin Lee to follow in more new albums. But, given that the album was released on a very small record label, it’s uncertain how much commercial support Alvin Lee will be getting for many more releases. New classic rock albums like this have the dickens of a time finding airplay, because few radio stations play new albums by classic rock artists. New classic rock albums are a dying genre, although some artists like Joe Walsh issued one of his best new albums in years as a new classic rock album. So a loyal base of fans, willing to buy an album without airplay is essential here for new albums by classic rock artists like Alvin Lee.
Let’s hope that this guy never retires. He’s a real legend, and fans like me can just never get enough of him. I’ve already played “Love Like A Man 2” to death, because I love this reboot of the old TYA classic. But, I wish this new album had more material like this.
The Bottom Line: Alvin Lee fans probably won’t be completely satisfied with this more mellow Alvin Lee album which is more similar to the old ON THE ROAD TO FREEDOM album in too many ways. But, it’s still Alvin Lee here, and the album has more than few good moments. **1/2(Two and a half stars, or a little bit better than fair).