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Alvin Lee – Gone Home

March 8th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor
By now I’m sure you’ve heard, another rock legend has joined the band of angels. The great blues/rock guitarist, Alvin Lee, died yesterday  (March 6th) at the age of 68 in Spain while undergoing some routine surgery.
What I knew about Alvin Lee is probably what most people knew him for; his American debut at the Woodstock festival with an 11 minute performance of I’m Going Home and some of the most incredible guitar playing anyone had ever heard, earning him the title The Fastest Guitar in the West. And of course, his contribution to the band Ten Years After. But what I didn’t know before today are some noteworthy facts such as, he was just 13 years old when he picked up the guitar and a short 2 years later founded the crux of what would become Ten Years After. His love of music came from his parents who collected blues and jazz records and although he went on to become a rock hero, it wasn’t what he wanted. Alvin Lee simply wanted to be a “working musician” who preferred small venues with that of large stadiums which is ultimately where he had to perform once fame took possession. And he thought of his other most recognized big hit “I’d Love To Change The World” as pop, refusing to ever play it live. Through it all, he tried to stay true to his roots. In doing so, he gave us, the baby boomer generation of rock, our roots. We, never realizing what we believed to be a new British sound, is something he borrowed from American blues artists, and he said so. You might say Alvin showed us where we came from, no small gift in exchange for wanting to change the world. I think he succeeded in changing ours, encapsulating it in a very intimate way….
It’s 1971. I’m in my room back home listening to WNEW. Alison Steele, The Nightbird, spins a new record. Its melancholy bluesiness  rides the airwaves and puts me in another world beyond the boundaries of my postered walls, with no inkling of what lay ahead, the twists and turns of my life’s travels obscured by teenage bliss. The power of a rock superhero is as limitless as the imagination. If I heard that song this minute, that’s where that sound would place me. Right back there in my old room with a grin on my face, because all my old friends, the ones that are gone now, are still there. So, you did it Alvin. You changed my world while I still get to keep it the way I remember it.
Sadly, his April 7th Paris gig with rock legend Johnny Winter will never be. It seems he had a prior engagement with a certain Beatle. If there’s a Ten Years Afterlife, there are two guitars gently weeping with joy. Well, maybe not so gently.
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3 Responses to “Alvin Lee – Gone Home”

  1. Michael Tabor Says:

    Alvin lee – one of the great blues players

  2. Michael Tabor Says:

    BTW – beautiful piece of writing Magdalena,,,terrific tribute to the great Alvin Lee

  3. magdalena Says:

    One by one they go…..all will be greatly missed.

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