The English blues-rock / hard rock band TEN YEARS AFTER were most successful during the period 1968-73 — then they scored eight Top 40 albums on the UK Albums Chart.
But the basics of the band go back to circa 1966 when Alvin Lee & Leo Lyons founded Ten Years After from the remnants of dying projects the Jaybirds/Jaymen.
The musicians moved from their Nottingham / Mansfield base to London, to be near harmony group “The Ivy League”, which they supported. They came into being “Ten Years After” the most successful year of Elvis Presley’s career, said to be 1956.
In 1970, the band released “Love Like a Man” which was the group’s only UK hit single, it reached #10.
The band split after their last Columbia album in 1974, although they occasionally met to play festivals and they briefly reunited in 1989 to record the album About Time. Recently, the remaining members have joined up to write and perform.
Alvin Lee and Leo Lyons died in the mid-2010’s as did guitarist Joe Gooch. But original keyboard player Chick Churchill is still with the band, as is the founder drummer Ric Lee.
Currently, guitarist and vocalist Marcus Bonfanti and the talented “Alexis Korner” bassist Colin Hodgkinson play with the band and together they have released a 50th Anniversary album, produced by Bonfanti, and titled A STING IN THE TALE. It’s available from the band’s site at http://www.ten-years-after.co.uk/music.htm
During the period 1967-1974 the band recorded ten albums. To coincide with the anniversary of their first release, Chrysalis Records now present a 50th Anniversary 10 CD Box Set.
It’s out on 10th November 2017. It will include all those albums, plus some exciting previously unpublished material.
The limited edition set includes a bonus disc titled “The Cap Ferrat Sessions” which originate from a box of old recordings discovered by Alvin Lee’s wife at their shared home in Spain. These sessions were recorded at Cap Ferrat in France (and Olympia Studios, London) for the Rock & Roll Music to the World (1972) project.
Chris Kemsey, who recorded and engineered the original sessions, mixed this new CD. “Alvin and the band were incredibly creative and abundant during this period...” says Kimsey. “These re-discovered recordings were not rough demos […] but completed masters.”
“These gems were left off…Mixing this in 2017 I began to study the parts, the playing, the response of each musician. It was amazing!”
“I’m genuinely excited about the box set...” adds Ten Years After’s founding drummer, Ric Lee.
We had a listen to the new pressings. The collection includes:
Undead (1968) recorded at Klooks Kleek jazz club in London.
Stonedhenge (1969) the psychedelic second album.
Ssssh (1969) with the Sonny Boy Williamson standard, “Good Morning, School Girl”
Cricklewood Green (1970) that includes Lee’s “Love Like a Man”
Watt (1970) with a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” recorded live at the Isle of Wight Festival
A Space in Time (1971) with their most popular single, “I’d Love to Change the World”
Rock & Roll Music to the World (1972)
Positive Vibrations (1974) the album recorded before their first break-up
The wonderfully evocative hippy number “I’d Love To Change The World” from A Space In Time has resonance today. A pacifist anti-war hymn to environmentalism and virtuous flower-power poem it may be, but the emotions are true even though the sentiment is pushed aside by us ingrates of the 21st century who would rather spend our time making money for our masters and wasting it on meaningless gadgets & narcissistic silliness.
The boogieing creative power of “Hear Me Calling” probably inspired British band Slade to do their thing. Listening to it now, it seems a little twee and the thought even crossed our minds that it could have been the inspiration for Tap’s “All the Way Home.”
The first track from Positive Vibrations “Nowhere to Run” — is an intoxicating combination of proud rhythms and superior vocals. This is characteristically derived, but retains that spark of imagination and distinction that marked this band out as one of the hardest-rocking British blues bands of a generation.
Ten Years After
The Albums ‘1967 – 1974’
Released Friday 10th November 2017