Alvin Lee - lead vocals, guitar; Chick Churchill - organ; Leo Lyons - bass; Ric Lee - drums
One of the biggest blues/rock acts on the planet between 1969 and 1974, Ten Years After could attribute their far reaching success to two things: Promoter Bill Graham and their appearance in the landmark music documentary Woodstock. Graham was among the earliest U.S. promoters to book the band, and he made them a staple act at both Fillmores East and West. TYA went from virtual obscurity to rock superstardom simply as a result of their compelling number "I'm Going Home," a 10-minute blues/rock jam from their 1968 album, Undead.
This recording was made at Graham's larger Winterland venue in 1971, two years after the band had skyrocketed to fame with the Woodstock movie. (The person who cut Ten Years After's revolutionary split screen segment in the Woodstock movie, one might be interested to know, was a novitiate editor named Martin Scorcese). The show takes place near the end of the of the band's golden years, when TYA had become primarily a vehicle for Alvin Lee's blistering guitar work, its songs comprised of equal parts rock, blues and jazz.
Shortly after recording this show, the band would leave Decca Records, the label who had signed them in 1967, and move to Columbia's corporate home. Columbia would take the band in a more radio friendly/pop driven direction (hence, the hit single "I'd Love To Change The World"). Frustrated with the popular music trend, Alvin Lee left the band, which disbanded soon after the second Columbia release in 1974.
This recording, which features several hot blues jams, a great version of the riff-rock anthem "Love Like A Man" and another dynamic rendition of "I'm Going Home," is a testament to the band's musical prime. Ric Lee shows how strong a jazz drummer he is when they break into some free-form, jazzy jams during several of the numbers here.
The original lineup made one reunion LP and did one more tour in 1988/89 before disbanding again. In 2003, Ric Lee assembled the group again, although Alvin would not participate. He was replaced by guitarist Joe Gooch, and the band is still recording and touring today.