British singer and guitarist Alvin Lee may have passed away in 2013, but his legacy lives on in the form of three classic albums being reissued today. 1973’s On The Way To Freedom, 1974’s In Flight and 1980’s Freefall have all been remastered and made their first appearances on CD in over a decade on November 4th, via Rainman Records. All three titles are also available digitally.
On The Way To Freedom was Lee’s first solo album after leaving pioneering rock group Ten Years After. It features vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Mylon LeFevre and also contains a variety of guest musicians including George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Mick Fleetwood and Ron Wood. The well-received live album In Flight (credited to Alvin Lee & Co.) features a mix of Lee originals and covers of rock classics like Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel” and Little Richard’s “Keep A-Knockin’.” Billboard Magazine proclaimed “(In Flight features) some of the good old rock and roll (Lee) loves so much, with a fine sprinkling of soul and some originals thrown in.” 1980’s Free Fall heralded a smoother type of sound and marked the debut of the Alvin Lee Band.
Born in Nottingham England, Alvin Lee began playing guitar age 13 and formed the core of the band Ten Years After by age 15. The advent of rock and roll sparked his interest and creativity, and Ten Years After’s self titled debut album was enthusiastically embraced by listeners. Audiences were immediately taken with Lee’s distinctive, soulful, rapid fire guitar playing and the band’s innovative mix of blues, jazz and rock, and an American love affair began. TYA would ultimately tour the USA 28 times in 7 years, more than any other U.K. band. Lee’s virtuoso performance at the famed Woodstock Festival set a standard for many other guitarists. Captured on film in the documentary of the festival, his inspired playing catapulted him into superstardom, and soon the band was playing arenas and stadiums around the globe.
Ten Years After was very successful, but by 1973 Lee was feeling limited by the band’s style. With American gospel singer Mylon LeFevre and a host of rock talents like George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Ron Wood and Mick Fleetwood, he recorded and released On The Road To Freedom, a highly acclaimed album that was at the forefront of country rock. A year later, in response to a dare, Lee formed Alvin Lee & Company to play a show at the Rainbow in London and released it as a double live album, In Flight. His solo recording and touring career continued into the 21st century, with more than 20 albums released until his 2013 passing.