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Ten Years After: Stonedhenge

Album Notes

This is their third album, prepared for CD from the original master tapes.

"I'm Going Home" from Ten Years After's previous release put them on the charts, at least in the U.K. (the band's U.S. breakthrough was at Woodstock a year after its release), but the four-piece was already experimenting with ways to expand their basic boogie rock template. Stonedhenge was the result, as producer Mike Vernon helped steer the band into a more jazz- and blues-oriented direction. That's especially evident in the swinging "Woman Trouble," but this set is generally more prone to broadening the sound without losing TYA's basic concept. It doesn't always gel -- the four short pieces that feature each musician alone on their instrument is an interesting idea that ends up as a distraction -- yet the album boasts some terrific performances by a group that was hitting its peak. Canned Heat, who TYA supported in America and who were also trying to push their own boogie envelope, were a big influence, born out by the very Heat-sounding "Hear Me Calling." Alvin Lee keeps his fleet fingers in check, preferring to work his style into a more organic fusion. Tracks such as the creeping "A Sad Song" successfully build tension without the need for speedy guitar solos. The eight-minute "No Title" takes the basic TYA blueprint but slowly creates a moody atmosphere for three minutes until Lee cranks out a terse, loud extension on its main riff that sets the stage for Chick Churchill's eerie organ solo. The quartet and their producer also experimented with primitive panning and tape manipulation to impressive results. The closing "Speed Kills" returns TYA to its basics, perhaps as a way to let its existing fans know they can still churn out the rocking when needed. The album was remastered and expanded in 2002 by adding informative liner notes from drummer Ric Lee, four extra tracks including the tiresome, 15-minute "Boogie On," and an edited single version of "I'm Going Home," U,K, artwork (the initial U.S. edition was an embarrassing botch job) and pristine sound from the original tapes. ~ Hal Horowitz



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