on 19 February 2002
This is an explosive album. My first real introduction into blues at speed. I first heard this album in 1981. I had no idea who it was, but it sure impressed me. The first track and the second, Woodchopper's Ball, are great examples of a very tight blues band with warm jazz influences.
These live tracks take the listener into the audience of a London pub in the late '60s. An electrifying experience.
There is a 12 bar blues track and for the musical technician (drummers) a 5 minute solo.
4 stars because this could get somewhat monotonous for the non drummers!
The first two tracks are worth the price alone.
on 9 August 2002
When Alvin Lee & Ten Years After were first invited to play in America by legendary rock promoter Bill Graham in 1968, they wanted to release an album to coincide with the tour. Their 2nd studio effort "Stonedhenge" was not yet complete, so it was decided to do a live album. The result was one of the best live recordings of the period, and it arguably remains as one of the best "Live Rock & Blues" albums ever! As indicated in my Visual History book on Ten Years After - when Alvin Lee first heard this album he thought "Well that's it, that is probably the best I'll ever play and there are going to be problems recording in the future because this encompasses just about everything the band can do". Fortunately things turned out much better for Ten Years After but, listening to UNDEAD, it quickly becomes evident that Alvin's initial concerns were not unfounded. This album absolutely "SMOKES" from the onset and the musicianship is remarkable throughout.
Ten Years After were quite different from the other "2nd British Invasion" blues bands of the late 60's because they effortlessly fused jazz and blues, and that characteristic is exemplified in this album. "Woodchoppers Ball" and "I May Be Wrong, But I Won't Be Wrong Always" are absolutely stunning and every bit as impressive today as when they were originally recorded. A few critics later got some sort of perverse pleasure from claiming that Alvin Lee's guitar playing was "all haste and no taste", but none of that is remotely evident on UNDEAD. His highly accomplished and precise technique on the aforementioned two songs dances above, around & under any solos recorded by the other so-called "guitar gods" of the time. The four new tracks, comprised of material originally excluded due to vinyl record time limits, have made the remastered CD even better. "Spoonful" and "Crossroads" were, of course, played by almost all of the British blues bands and Alvin obligingly introduces "Spoonful" as a "Clapton - Howlin' Wolf number". But it's a treat to now hear TYA's own version of these tunes with Alvin's own inimitable guitar work.
In the wonderful booklet that accompanies the CD, drummer Ric Lee describes the added "I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes" as being, "a bit rough around the edges". Although it's not quite the polished version found on future TYA releases, it is very much a "diamond in the rough" - being an early and quite interesting 14 minute version of the song. The closer, "I'm Going Home", is only half the length of the famous Woodstock version that would emerge more than a year later - yet it is every bit as energetic, and perhaps even more so!
Following Woodstock and the increased stardom that resulted, Ten Years After concert venues quickly changed from clubs to sports arenas and their music subsequently emanated from stacks of 100 watt Marshall amplifiers. In most respects, the individual talents and contributions of all four band members (as heard on UNDEAD) were lost forever in that "wall of sound". This is another reason why UNDEAD is so special, you can actually hear what a great keyboard player Chick Churchill is!
I strongly recommended the other TYA re-releases ("Ten Years After", "Stonedhenge", "Live At The Fillmore East 1970" & "Cricklewood Green"). They all have bonus tracks and great new descriptive booklets authored by Ric Lee, with the original artwork plus several additional rare photos. But if you have not yet heard any of them, I suggest you start with UNDEAD ...It truly Rocks !!
on 2 October 2010
I'm a longtime TYA fan, and "Recorded Live" was the first rock album I bought in my teens. I acquired all the other TYA albums bar Undead as I felt that since I had RL, Undead would be a bit extravagant. Its interesting how similar the 2 albums are actually, for example the drum solo - which is called Hobbit on RL, and "I can't keep from crying sometimes/extension on one chord". RL is a more refined, controlled live performance whereas Undead is more raw and spontaneous - one reviewer reckons RL sounds a bit jaded, TYA just going through the motions, and its a fair observation, although there are a couple of tracks (good morning little schoolgirl" and "Slow blues in C" which I miss as I haven't bought RL on CD yet. Overall though I'm pleased with Undead its a good album and Alvin Lee's guitar work still stands up there with the best of them.
on 2 August 2015
This was among the albums in constant rotation on the record players of myself & my friends in the Summer of 1968 & this 2015 remastered edition is not only most welcomed but still sounding great! I do, however, have a minor quibble. The info here is obviously either in error or I have purchased an 'alternate' edition because Disc One of my copy consists of the 6 tracks from the original 1968 vinyl release in stereo (i.e. I May be Wrong But I Won't Be Wrong Always, Woodchopper's Ball, Spider in My Web, Summertime/Shantung Cabbage & I'm Coming Home} & the additional Klooks Kleek recordings (also in stereo) are on Disc 2 accompanied by 6 BBC live recordings. Now, I distinctly recall a Mono release of this classic on Deram DML 1023, but the Mono versions are not included here- which is odd because the remastered versions of both the debut studio album & Stonedhenge (issued simultaneously with Undead) include the original mono masters as well as the stereo. So why no mono masters for Undead? Also: the same introduction prefaces both the opening tracks for different songs on both Disc 1 & Disc 2, which surely cannot be right? Neither can the booklet's ascription of the BBC live tracks to 1967 be correct- these are from the Top Gear show of August 1968 which propelled the album into the charts, and from the David Symonds Show of late December 1968. Anyone care to explain these discrepencies?
on 15 July 2010
British bluesrock conquered the musicindustry in the middle of the sixites, giving many good bands. One of them was Ten Years After.
Although "Undead" is their second album, it's one of their strongest. This live record is simply a perfect example of how the British Blues Boom scene sounded in those days. The band plays tight, fresh and is in form. The bluesrocksongs sometimes have a jazzy-influences, wich makes your head nod with some of the faster songs. The songs have good tempo, Alvin Lee his playing is realy nice. He plays in control without overdoing himself. We all now "I'm going home" from Woodstock. But I prefer the original Undead version, because the band keeps the song in control.
Undead is live British Blues Boom. We should be thankful for that.
on 29 March 2013
The announcement that Alvin Lee had died came as a real shock to me, and I immediately decided that it was time to relive the memory that I had from my youth - I had Undead on vinyl, and wore it out - now I can't listen to the remastered version without expecting it to jump in the places that it did in my youth.
Well, anyway, as I had this on vinyl and also on cassette and reel to reel, none of which is now playable, I decided that the time was right to revisit this blast from my past - I saw TYA live in 1969 on their tour with Blodwyn Pig and Stone the Crows, and they were great live - much more so that on their studio albums. So Undead to me is a reliving of this era. It's a raw, unrelenting, driving album which is the more exciting as it does manage to convey some of the feel of their live gigs. I cannot agree that the extra tracks detract from this album, as I believe that they add a lot. For those who want the original album, just set your CD player to miss the extras, and you've got it.
Alvin Lee was an exciting guitarist, and his sheer speed did, on occasion, mask his technique - but hey, that's academic, as he was undoubtedly one of the best guitarists of the late 60s/early 70s.
So what have we here? - A reissue of a classic album, and the remastering does show up some of the shortcomings of the original masters - recorded live in a small and probably smoke filled room above a pub, the original recording would have presented problems, and the sleeve notes to the new version allude to these. And the sleeve notes actually add something to the album which is unusual in iteself. Written by drummer Ric Lee, they actually do help to put Undead into a perspective.
In all, this album still does it for me - and it will be on my CD machine a lot as I weep into my beer over the loss of one of the rock/blues eras greats.
Yes, it is different from the later albums, owing more to jazz than any of the others, and therefore it is not truly typical of what many TYA fans are looking for, but for this reviewer, the album is a reliving of the band that I saw live, loud, and sweaty all those years ago.
on 19 September 2015
Although far from bad, Ten Years After was not very satisfied with their first, self titled, album, because is did'nt capture the essence of their live performances so the thought was to record a live album.a followingg up and thus the second band outing became Undead. It is not very commong to come up with a live album in the beginning of their career but in this case it is an understandable move and it did not harm the band at all. Originally the album conisted of only 7 tracks, partly due the restriction of vinyl al the time, so only 38 minutes was released in 1968. However, much more music was recorded but to prevent that the same songs appeared as on the first album those were shelved. In 2002 a CD was released with a lot of extras while one track, Standing on the Crossroads, was made available already in 1972 on Alvin Lee and Company, a compilation of recorded but unused material when the band was under contract with Decca on the Deram label. Now in 2015 a new 2-CD is released which restores things somewhat. First it is digitally remastered and has the Original album on one cd. On the second disc are all the remaining songs plus a part of the BBC session for Top Gear. These are divided over the new 2 CD sets Ten Years After resp. Stonedhenge.
A very long I Can't Keep From Crying, Sometimes, with a jam in between, and Spoonful from the first album, while Woman Trouble and Untitled are from the the forthcoming album Stonedhenge. Plus an earlie live take of the by Woodstock made famous I'm Coming Home, which is never issued as a studio recording. So a full set, less surprises maybe but a solid historical document, well worth a listen of two or more. Therefore highly recommend. The album has stood its time, some 5 decades, with gusto. It showes the talent of a band on the verge of famousness and international succes. A great singer/songwriter and guitarplayer pur sang Alvin Lee (sadly passed away in 2013) with Leo Lyons on bass, Ric Lee on drums and Chuck Churchill on keyboards, formed one the most celebrated blues/rock bands of the time, with a string of strong albums to come.
but they were not restricted to one kind of music alone, on the contrary, their output was much more and included jazz, pop, even country, plus ballads. Live was something different, with long improvisations and instrumental jams plus Chuck Berry covers. In can listen to them time and time again.
An excellent reissue of one of my favourite albums from the 60s. TYA showcased the talents of four great musicians, and in this early stage of their career (pre-Woodstock, which introduced them to a much wider audience) they were playing a very excellent mixture of blues, jazz and rock.
on 17 May 2011
The best TYA album, Goin' Home live at Kleeks goes right through you. Excellent sleeve notes compared to my vinyl copy!
on 19 July 2015
Great album with all the extra tracks this was the first live album i bought all those years ago