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Alvin Lee

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Alvin Lee, "In FHght, "Columbia 33187 When the conversation turns to guitarists, after everyone pays their eompulsory attention to Jimi and Eric, the talk tends to get off-center. There's Heek and Page and Jornia and lately l've hoard quite a bit about Robín Tïower. Bul I reniember when Alvin Lee was il. At one point, Lee was simply the flashiest guitarist on tliat side of the Atlantic, and was a heavy contender" (with Ted Nugent of the Amboy Dukes) for the world's Hcavyweight Tille. For me a high point of Woodftock has always been 'l'm Going Home' and I was never a large fan of Ten Years After. But In FUght is another trip altogethei light on the flash, heavy on the fun. The strange part is, when Lee was tied into the "band" thing - Ten Years After everything else was a backdrop for Alvin's magie fingers. In I'ïight, his first blatantly solo effort, shows him co-operating, stepping back, and playing with, as opposed to against, his fellow musicians. The result is real Rock & Roll, and well worth the pïice of admission. There's little of the repetitious, machine-gun riffwork that was Lee's trademark. Instead there are tasty, well-spaced fillers, solid rhythm and faultless technique. In FUght may not be inspired, but it is party -down music of the first water. Lee's voice gets better and better too. He has the snarl that Presley left behind when he bought his fifteenth Mark IV. Although played to comic advantage in a rather self-indulgent rendition of "Don't Be Cruel," it shows up in a lot of other places. And on "Going Through the Door" Lee sounds just like Al Kooper. His vocal on "Money Honey" is nothing short of masterful. Sharing the spotlight with Alvin is Mei Collins on sax and flute, who gets many chances to wail, but the only place he breaks loose is in "Freedom for the Stallion." However, he's always in there punching. And there's quite a bit of León Russell-School-of-Famous-Keyboards piano in there, provided -by Tim Hinkley. Just in case you go in for that kind of thing. It's a mean rocker - nothing new, and still, like an old pair of shoes, always welcome.