Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Alvin Lee died today. He was the guitarist and lead vocalist of Ten Years After, probably best known for the over indulgent vocal and guitar solo interlude in the song "I'm Going Home", as seen in the film Woodstock. Looking at it nowadays, it's a little hard not to roll the eyes, but back then, long solos were the order of the day. Lee was just out there trying to out jack-off the other guitarist jack-offs. But it was a good solo, in all of it's imperfect glory, if only because it's always been an icon of the over indulgent solo era. But let's get past that.

The thing that hits me, watching that clip all these years later, is how much part of it reminds me of Lux Interior. Doubt me? Listen to it (you don't need to watch), starting st 3:55, for a minute or so. I half expected Interior's ol' mic-in-mouth routine. Not that that's neccessarily a plus, I just found it interesting.

One thing that bugs me is the first two lines of their biggest hit, "I'd Love to Change the World". I've looked around online and can't find an interview, or even editorial content, addressing the juxtaposition of the songs title and the first line: "Everywhere is freaks and hairies, dykes and fairies; Tell me where is sanity?" What gives? Then the following: "Tax the rich, feed the poor, till there are no rich no more. I'd love to change the world - but I don't know what to do, So I'll leave it up to you." Okay, so how come no one's ever asked what that mumbo jumbo is supposed to mean? I suppose someone has. Let me know if you know.

Let's give Lee the benefit of the doubt and hope there was some irony in some of that. When you look at it in hindsight, Ten Years After had a pretty decent run of FM radio type blues rock semi-hits. I'm clueless about Lee's later solo stuff, but make no mistake, back in the day, this was USDA Choice air guitar meat. And if that's not the stupidest fucking thing I've typed all night, I don't know what is.

Ten Years After - I'd Love to Change the World mp3 at Buzz Starlight
Ten Years After - Choo Choo Mama mp3 at Biker Saloon
Ten Years After - Good Morning Little School Girl mp3 at Giant Panther
Alvin Lee at Wikipedia
Ten Years After at Wikipedia


ReubenRemus said...

Agreed about TYA's later stuff, but there was also a half-decent jazz guitarist lurking behind all the bombastic blues-rock poseur. Check out some of the earlier TYa stuff like "Undead" and some of the jazzier stuf on "Stonedhenge".

Tom G. said...

It's been ages since I've listened to those, I think I may still have "Undead". I'll have to check it out again. Thanks for the tip Reuben!

AEC said...

My old roommate used to always say that "I'd Love to Change the World" was the ultimate cop-out song: "I'd love to change the world, but I don't know what to do, so I'll leave it up to you." Gee, thanks

Tom G. said...

I know, that's what it sounds like, huh? "Shit, I don't know, you figure it out."