Albert Lee's Black Claw and Country Fever sessions have always been shrouded by apocrypha and mystery. There were two bands, with the same members who went by both names. The only difference between them in 1969 was the Country Fever vocalist was Albert Lee, and the Black Crow vocalist was Chas Hodges. To make matters more confusing there was another Country Fever in England in 1969, and Lee played with them in live settings. While some of this gets ironed out by the liner notes, two things are certain: the first is that Lee played guitar and/or sang on everything here and that all of the material with the exception of his two solo singles -- the title track and a cover of Bob Dylan's "Too Much of Nothing" -- was recorded in 1969. As for the music itself, there are a hell of a lot of Dylan covers here, and they were all recorded just after Dylan himself released them: "Lay Lady Lay," "Tonight I'll Be Staying Her With You," and a great cover of the Dylan/Richard Manuel classic "Tears of Rage." The Band is also referenced outside of this cut by the inclusion of a cover of "Across the Great Divide." Other covers include tough, rollicking reads of "Six Days on the Road" and "Rocky Top." While the production on these sides sounds dated to be sure, the integrity of the performances wears as well or better than the Byrds' attempts at country-rock and still astonishes with its sheer verve. Coming as it did from the U.K., the sound is great here and Peter Doggett does an exemplary job of trying to make sense of the nonsensical in his liner notes. For anyone interested in hard country and alt-country, this is a great addition to one's collection. Thank goodness it's finally available in America.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek