"I decided to take the road to freedom rather than the road to fame and fortune"
Lee wrote all of the songs on the album, but he's quick to acknowledge influences from a varied group of artists and genres, from R’n’B icon Chuck Berry to ex-King Crimson drummer Ian Wallace. This isn't surprising, since TYA's music, although predominantly hard rock, had significant blues and jazz influences.
Lee began writing songs for Still on the Road to Freedom in 2008. By the time he was ready to go into the studio, he had 33 potential tracks in hand. After wrestling unsuccessfully with trying to consider all of them, he finally isolated his favorites (a little less than half of the total) and worked them into "an entity in itself with a beginning, a middle and an end."
And somehow, the mixture of arena rock, blues, bebop, country rock and folk does seem natural. Lee's guitar work, be it electric or acoustic, is as good as ever. His voice, never known for its "polish" (which is a good thing) is still natural and vibrant.
This is one of those relatively rare albums that is a good listen all the way through, with no need to skip tracks to hear the good ones. But, naturally, there are some I do like to go back to, like the percussion-driven "Listen to Your Radio Station," the catchy "Midnight Creeper," the instrumental "Down Line Rock" and "Love Like a Man 2" (a new version of a track originally on TYA's 1970 Cricklewood Green album.)
Lee plays multiple instruments on the album, which he also recorded and mixed. Other band members include two longtime associates -- Pete Pritchard on bass and Richard Newman on drums -- and keyboardist Tim Hinkley.
TYA (minus Lee) re-formed in 1988, but there are a lot of fans who are loyal to the original (1966-1974) lineup. If you're among them, you should put this album on your "get" list. If you're unfamiliar with either TYA or Alvin Lee, the album is a good listen just for the musicianship, and for the concept of creative freedom that drives it.
You might also be able to relate to the philosophy that accompanies a painting by Lee that appears on the CD and in the liner: "There are many forks on the road to freedom and the road to nowhere is one of them."
by Dave White
Although I don't usually post releases produced and recorded outside the golden era of Rock 'n' Roll (60's-70's) sometimes I make exceptions, this is one of these, dedicated to the memory of Alvin Lee, some forty years now (since I was in my early teen years) he's filling, my soul and my sentinmets, with his amazing guitar, his voice and his songs.
From the bottom of my heart, Thank you Very much Alvin Lee.
1. Still On The Road To Freedom - 4:23
2. Listen To Your Radio Station - 2:22
3. Midnight Creeper - 4:10
4. Save My Stuff - 4:02
5. I'm A Lucky Man - 3:27
6. Walk On, Walk Tall - 3:17
7. Blues Got Me So Bad - 2:09
8. Song Of The Red Rock Mountain - 2:04
9. Nice And Easy - 3:07
10. Back In 69 - 2:35
11. Down Line Rock - 2:29
12. Rock You - 1:32
13. Love Like A Man 2 - 6:52
All songs by Alvin Lee
*Alvin Lee - Bass, Drums, Guitars, Harmonica, Keyboards, Paintings, Vocals
*Trevor Morais - Drums
*Richard Newman - Drums
*Pete Pritchard - Bass, Double Bass
*Ed Spyra - Artwork
*Ian Wallace - Drums
*Alexander Wolfe - Keyboards
*Alvar Brune - Vocals
*Tim Hinkley - Keyboards