Although technically he never left, Alvin Lee is back. Recorded in 2003 at original Elvis guitarist Scotty Moore's Nashville home studio, with Moore as the mastermind behind the sessions (although due to ear problems he only plays on two tracks), along with Presley's drummer D.J. Fontana on the skins, this would be a listenable effort regardless of who was singing. With ex-Ten Years After's Alvin Lee playing guitar and taking the lead vocals it's a powerfully compelling disc that approximates many of the Sun label greats. Recorded predominantly live in the studio and sounding it, these songs -- mostly originals written expressly for the sessions and an unexpectedly rip-snorting run through of the TYA chestnut "I'm Going Home" -- find Lee at his most enthusiastic. He's clearly having a blast returning to his roots with some of the original architects of the sound backing him up, and that energy jumps out of the grooves. The songs aren't particularly memorable ("I'm Gonna Make It" is little more than a rewrite of "Great Balls of Fire," "How Do You Do It" sounds like any number of Chuck Berry tunes) but Lee is singing harder and riffing with more fire than he has in years. With blistering support from a band that can play this stuff in their sleep, Lee is in full flight. Of particular note is Pete Pritchard's rollicking double bass and Willie Rainsford's jaunty piano, both of whom are veterans who add extra fuel to the proceedings. Things slow down for the bluesy country of "Getting Nowhere Fast," an acoustic based piece that gives the group a chance to show their chops in a less frenzied setting. The audio and production is clean and crisp, with each instrument sounding warm and defined. It meets contemporary standards but retains the retro feel of Sun studios, a tricky balancing act pulled off with class and style. The album is highly recommended for all rockabilly fans and even those who felt the guitarist's work with Ten Years After or solo was too flashy and pretentious. This is a terrific return to form, arguably Lee's best and certainly most passionate solo album ever, as well as a sizzling performance throughout. Crank it up and get gone.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Hal Horowitz