Did you attended the fabled Woodstock Festival? Not one of the lame remakes, but the original three days of peace and music that turned a tiny upstate New York agricultural town into the center of the universe for a couple of rotations of the earth’s axis.
I did, and was miserable every moment. For starters, my pal Tipper and I drove up from our home town, Suffern, NY, intending to meet my girl friend on the grounds. Needless to say, I wondered as I wandered-wait, Danny Kaye’s rendition of Frank Loesser’s “Anywhere I Wander” is floating into my head-(“Anywhere I wander, Anywhere I roam, ‘til I’m in the arms of my darling once more, my heart will know no home”)-where she was, what she was doing, and with whom!
What’s more, the place was filthy, sopping wet, and peopled with folks who seemed to feel that flailing arms and legs about to the sound of music with no apparent sense of time was the reason they were put on the earth. Worst of all, the sound system sucked. High frequencies, even heard from a distant hill, were excruciating.
Which brings us to Alvin Lee, who died unexpectedly today at the age of 68. The central force beyond a band, Ten Years After, whose performance at Woodstock was arguably the apex of its life cycle, Alvin Lee was a guitarist and singer who loved the blues and its guitar legends. For a while, he stood among them.
He may not have possessed a wealth of original ideas, but Lee had fast hands and a vocal delivery that matched his playing. He will be remembered best for “I’m Going Home,” the Ten Years After song that was featured in the Woodstock film.
Hope you made it home safely, Alvin. Rest in peace.
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