Still On The Road To Freedom
Released: August 28, 2012
Reviewed: August 26, 2012
It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than forty years ago since Alvin Lee rocked out a crowd a half a million strong with his band, Ten Years After, at the historic Woodstock festival and, as he was leaving the stage told them, “I’m Going Home . . . by helicopter.”
As they say in the glorious south, Lee hasn’t gotten back to the house yet and he sings about exactly that on his new solo album, Still on the Road to Freedom, returning him to his musical roots.
This album is a royal treat on so many levels: melodically, lyrically, musically and just the fact that Lee is still producing great and memorable music. He’s joined on the album with bassist Pete Pritchard, drummer Richard Newman (Rory Gallagher, Steve Marriott, Mark Knopfler) as well as keyboardist Tim Hinkley (Humble Pie, Bad Company, The Who, Thin Lizzy).
“I got my start in music listening to my dad’s jazz and blues 78s when I was eight years old,” says Lee, who continues to follow his inspirations. “It’s about the freedom to make music of my own choice without worrying about what other people thought or expected,” he writes in the album’s liner notes.
There’s no freakin’ way that one can pick a favorite off of this 13 tune treasure trove of inspired music. However, I’ll randomly pick three:
Love Like a Man 2 is a remake of the song on the band’s album, Cricklewood Green, inspired, according to Lee, by Smiley Lewis’ I Hear You Knocking. This tune alone is worth the price of the entire CD. No foolin’!
The title cut, Still on the Road to Freedom, would have fit in quite nicely into Lee’s performance at Woodstock. Gutsy, bluesy, fluid. This song will have you slapping the repeat button until it can’t be slapped any more, it’s that good.
Finally, Listen to Your Radio Station, cool and funky with some great African drum work backing up Lee’s silky smooth guitar work. This song could have been times longer than it’s recorded two minutes and twenty-four seconds and I still wouldn’t think it was long enough. I’d love to catch Alvin performing this tune live at one of his gigs and watch him take it as far as it will go.
You have to have this CD in your collection whether you don’t remember being at Woodstock or just wish you had. This disc will wind up being on your “desert island” list of albums you can’t ever live without.
Read the Boomerocity interview with Alvin Lee here.
Written by Randy Patterson