Alvin Lee: 1944 – 2013

I was naturally very saddened by the recent passing of another of my musical heroes, Alvin Lee, who joined the other members of my personal holy trinity of electric blues (being Rory Gallagher and Stevie Ray Vaughan) at the great gig in the sky, on the 6th of March, at the age of 68. Anyone who loves hard rock and metal has to appreciate the British blues boom, and Ten Years After’s immense contribution to that movement has often been sadly overlooked – and there is no doubt that it was the stellar talents of their great guitar prodigy (along with his prickly chemistry with bass maestro Leo Lyons) that made TYA something truly special. Alvin had a rare ability to hold audiences in the palm of his hand for as long as he wanted with his supremely fluid and apparently effortless lead playing, and he must surely be remembered as one of the great guitar showmen. But he was so much more than what was suggested by the ‘Fastest Guitar in the West’ tag that dealt him a double hand after his show-stopping Woodstock performance, being a highly accomplished and sensitive artist at home in a wide range of musical idioms. I will remember him not only as a barnstorming guitar slinger of the first rank, but as a musician of exceptional honesty and integrity.

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