One of the greatest live blues rock acts of the late 1960's through mid70's was of course TEN YEARS AFTER. Led by guitar superman, Alvin Lee, this great band managed 11 original albums between 1967's TEN YEARS AFTER debut album and their 1974 POSITIVE VIBRATIONS album recorded shortly before their breakup as a group. But in 1989, the group recorded a little less than great attempt to bring the legendary sound back, but that certainly missed the real magic of past efforts. In 2001, a far better live album recorded at Fillmore East in 1970 was released that really was very satisfying to fans. And in 2004 and 2005, the band released two reasonably good albums without guitar front-man Alvin Lee, that were reasonable enough efforts. But it has always been the great live performances of this band that has made them great, and their Woodstock performance always quickly comes to mind here.
Fortunately, with only three original live albums featuring Alvin Lee, the group's second album, UNDEAD, from 1968, RECORDED LIVE, from 1973, and the great 2001, LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST 1970, to satisfy TEN YEARS AFTER fans, some great unauthorized bootleg Cd's including two titles with DVD material are now emerging on Ebay and elsewhere for fans of this group to enjoy. And although the sound quality can be at times not nearly as good as the better authorized recordings, still these great bootlegs are very satisfying to fans of this great blues rock supergroup and well sought after collector's items. Perhaps only the rare Mobile Fidelity Labs gold CD of the remastered versions of SSSSH and CRICKLEWOOD GREEN is a more sought out Holy Grail of this great band.
LIVE AT THE FILLMORE WEST from June 28, 1968 is perhaps one of their finest bootleg Cds, and includes favorites like Help Me, Spoonful, Woodchopper's Ball and other early classics, all played very well.
TEXAS INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL 1969, is another excellent TYA bootleg recently re-emerging on EBay and elsewhere with a great live version of Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes that goes into an 18 minute intense jam piece, with Hobbitt and more classics.
TOP GEAR is a great 16 track collection of early TYA classics performed on European television and even includes The Sounds, Portable People and Rock Your Mama which were included in the Chrysalis Records compilation album ALVIN LEE & Co. comprised of tracks not found on other early albums and the few singles TEN YEARS AFTER ever issued. TEN YEARS AFTER never was much of a singles band, instead their sound was best characterized by their album sound as well as live performances.
IN THE STUDIO 1969 and WINTERLAND 1975, are very similar items in that both include both a live performance Cd as well as a great DVD capturing Alvin Lee's frantic guitarsmanship energy. But it also become quickly apparent that all the other members of the band, including bass player, Leo Lyons, keyboardist, Chick Churchill and drummer, Ric Lee, are all top flight musicians in their own right. And even their efforts to carry on after the departure of Alvin Lee on the Cd's NOW and ROADWORKS are both very good efforts.
Besides the awesome TYA performance in the movie WOODSTOCK, it is sure nice to find more video footage of this band now available on DVD form, even if it's on second rate bootlegs. But TYA fans could care less, and are just grateful that someone caught the performances on film that will live on forever. Rock on.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!