Back in the late 70s, I remember perusing my local record store and finding “On The Road to Freedom” by Alvin Lee and Mylon LeFevre in the bargain bin. As a young blues obsessed, guitar player, I was well aware of Alvin Lee. While his greatest fame came from his work with the powerhouse band, Ten Years After and their memorable performance of “I’m Going Home” in the Woodstock movie, it was his guitar work on the raw and intense “I Woke Up This Morning, that won me over as a devoted fan.
“On the Road to Freedom” was a departure from what I was used to hearing from Alvin Lee. His teaming up with LeFevre, an American Gospel singer seemed to bring out the best in both musicians. I was struck by the prevalence of the acoustic guitar vibe and the stunning combination of Alvin and Mylon’s vocals. Folk, gospel, country and good old fashioned rock n’ roll are all covered on this recording. “On the Road to Freedom” has so many special songs – from fiery title track to the soulful “I Can’t Take It.” When you check out the album’s credits, you will discover a who’s who of musical greats such as George Harrison (Credited as “Harri Goergenson) , Steve Winwood, Ron Wood, Jim Capaldi and Mick Fleetwood. One of the standout songs on the record is Harrison’s “So Sad: No Love of his Own.” With Mylon’s vocals and George’s trademark slide guitar, this track should be ranked up there with some of the all-time great songs. Look for the back to back song combination of “We Will Shine and “Carry My Load,” for examples of Alvin and Mylon’s sweet vocal harmonies.
Why this record is obscure is beyond me. Critics, for whatever reason, have not given Alvin Lee his due respect.If you look back at his career, there is no doubt the guy is a great guitar player and if you have seen him live, you know he’s an excellent performer. His body of work speaks for itself. This obscure record will always have a special place in my record collection and in my heart.
Here are some songs from “On the Road to Freedom”