Iconic Bass Player Leo Lyons of Ten Years After and old Vinyl Records

It’s funny how it can take today’s youth to rekindle your love of the past.  About a year ago my teenage son discovered The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin while we were on a road trip.  During that same road trip he talked me into buying him a Fender Stratocaster.  The deal was, that if he didn’t play it, it was mine.  Well he plays it an hour or two every day and has become immersed in the great guitar players of the sixties and seventies.

One of his great pastimes is to dig around in the boxes of old vinyl records in a local antique store.  He’s constantly asking me about various bands from my generation and I’ve been suggesting which albums might have interesting guitar work for him to listen to.

Ten Years After – A Space in Time from 1971 was one of those albums he came across.  I remember that album cover so well and remember sitting around with friends and listening to this album.  Alvin Lee was the star of the band and was, in those days, one of so many guitar heroes.  We of course remember Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, but there were so many great guitar players then.  Whatever happened to them all?  Why aren’t there that many great guitar players coming up any more.  My son talks about the music from that period as being “real music”.  He really doesn’t like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry or much of anything modern.  Music has become a very visual medium.  One where you have to be cute and sexy and full of laser light shows with a few dozen people dancing around the stage.

Leo Lyons and his '62 Fender Jazz Bass

Leo Lyons and his '62 Fender Jazz Bass

In the old days you listened to records, now you have to watch the video performance.  With all of modern technology it seems that something has been lost.

So it’s interesting to see that vinyl is making a come back.  You can now buy old and new music releases on twelve inch vinyl records again.  How can it be?

Listening to a Space in Time was blast from the past for me.  I’d forgotten about this record and how good it was.  But listening to it brings it all back.  These guys were a great band with a great rock blues sound and had some really great songs.
What I hadn’t payed to much attention to before, but can really appreciate now is the great bass work from Leo Lyons.  Lyon and Lee started playing together while they both in theirs teens.  Cutting their teeth in the infamous Star Club in Hamburg not long after The Beatles played there.  As Ten Year after they recorded ten studio albums between 1967 and 1974.  A Space in Time is probably the most iconic of those albums.

Lee was the best known as the front man of Ten Years After, and Lyons was the co-founder.  Lyon’s bass playing is rock solid and is a great example of the rock blues styles of the sixties.  His main bass is a sunburst ’62 Fender Jazz bass with a rosewood fingerboard. He still has the bass but also plays a replica of the bass, knocks dings and all, made for him by The Bass Centre in London.

Today Leo Lyons is still kickin’ and rockin’.  Check out his official website.

And, if you’re not familiar, you must absolutely check out some of these old Ten Years After records.  They are a wonderful example of the English music scene of the 1960’s and an awesome listen.

Interestingly, You can buy this album from Amazon in a number of formats including mp3 and CD as you’d expect, but it’s also available on vinyl and cassette.  The vinyl version is a 2009 release. How’s that for technology?

“Stay Tuned!”

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