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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rainman Records artist: Alvin Lee - Still On The Road To Freedom - New Recording Review

Alvin Lee... yes the real Alvin Lee, has just come out of the studio and is ready to release a new cd, Still On The Road To Freedom, on August 27, 2012. To say that I am a long time Alvin Lee fan is a tremendous understatement. I was a young kid when I heard Alvin Lee for the first time and it was an eye opening experience. I had never heard such music. The song was I Woke Up This Morning from the SSSH album and it was on an obscure radio station that my older teenaged sister had on in the family car. My musical interests are forever changed. This new recording with 12 new tracks and one remake that is totally unrecognizable from it's original form shows that lee is still exploring uncharted territory. The first track, the title track, Still On The Road To Freedom, follows a lot of previous jazz/blues influenced rock tunes by Lee and there is absolutely no question that Lee can still sing, write and play with the effort of a feather. Great song. He has undeniable form and tone. By the way, I have been asked before what classic guitar amp tone is.. I mean...identify it I point to SSSH. Some things never change. Listen To Your Radio Station is up next with Lee experimenting with beat and soloing, not at all unlike Jeff Beck. I would never compare the two superstars because they are so different, but I am only stating that Lee on this particular song too to a Beck formula and played great guitar riffs over a solid drum riff.... very cool. (Now don't buy this and complain it doesn't sound like Jeff doesn' sounds like Alvin lee!) Midnight Creeper gets a smooth bass/drum rhythm going and Lee plays guitar and sings over this basic drive pattern. This cd has quite a bit less structure than many of his compositions of the past.It gives Lee a much less structured framework in which to work and is quite tasty if you can set aside your TYA expectations. Save My Stuff catches Lee on harp and doing a polished little blues track but maintaining his basic rock structure as in more recent solo efforts. I'm A Lucky Man explores Lees early country (rockabilly if your prefer) roots ... if you really listen you can hear Porter Wagoner as much as Chuck Berry.... that's what is great about real music... it defines definition and blurs lines. Sound Of The Red Rock captures a unique side of Lee which I have seen. It has a bit of a Spanish flare to my ear and a melody that is very strong. Nice and Easy really captures the style of JJ Cale with the laid back voices and biting guitar work. Back In 69 takes a clue from Bo Diddley but anyone hearing it would definitely peg it for Alvin Lee not only because of his recognizable hooks and distinctive voice but his unmistakable guitar playing. This song features riffs that I have never heard from Lee and is the most experimental track on the cd. I really like it. Rock You see's Lee tromping around in funky territory. Lee's voice still sounds as fresh as it did the day that I first heard it. Remarkable. Lee wraps the recording with, as I alluded to before, a remake of one of my favorites, Love Like A Man, but it is really pretty unrecognizable as the same track unless you are really listening. It takes the stance of a heavy bottomed Texas blues with a touch of swing and a rock twist. It's really quite interesting and then to top it off with Lee using not only signature riffs but multiple pinched harmonics like I never heard from Lee. Alvin Lee's creative juices are still flowing strong. This recording is not only going to delight the thousands of fans that I encounter each day but will certainly capture many many more. Oh Yeah...and don't take the cd off too fast...there's a nice acoustic track at the end of the cd.

Alvin...great to have you back!

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Couldn't find the new arrangement on this track...but I can listen to it anyway!

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