Alvin Lee – Detroit Diesel – 1986

Legendary Woodstock fast-hand  guitar hero in 1986 solo run-out with “heavy friends” and other old blokes.


Alvin Lee weary from too much highway-hand-raising, pulled into a truck stop for a cup of tea and a wad, and who did he meet? A clue, “Her hair was long and her dress was tight”.

According to the title track, the usual ensued. At which the album settles into a timeless, if unchallenging groove, with Lee Less Flash and twiddle than in Ten Years After days. A cheerily hobbyist outing with session pals including Jon Lord, George Harrison and ex Ten Years After bassist Leo Lyons, at its salty best (Too Late To Run For Cover) it catches the touché lurch of a Keith Richards riff, but the stolid rhythm-section work nails it as stodgy British jam roly-poly.       

By Phil Sutcliffe





Detroit Diesel 1986

By the time of 1986’s Detroit Diesel,

Alvin Lee had settled down somewhat, no longer were his songs just showcases for his astonishing fast guitar technique and he was finally able to open his blues-jams into funky grooves. That doesn’t mean that Detroit Diesel is a particularly remarkable album, but it does have more enjoyable moments on it. Such as, the Rolling “Stonesy” sounding “Too Late To Run For Cover” than the average latter-day output of Alvin’s work.






Detroit Diesel

I saw Alvin Lee with a power trio at the old Tree Café in Portland, Maine, in the summer of 1987. It was a small club with little space on the floor, plus a balcony above. I ended up standing the whole show, I was just to the left of the band who were on a tiny stage.

The show was fantastic! Alvin was promoting his new record release “Detroit Diesel” at the time and I went out the next day and bought a copy. He played several tracks from the album, plus some Ten Years After stuff and I was hooked. The title track has a nasty guitar solo, “Just Another Night” and “Ordinary Man” are excellent tracks.

By a fan




Goldmine Magazine – October 24, 1986

Detroit Diesel – 21-Records

Alvin Lee’s churning guitar steers “Detroit Diesel” in a familiar power rock direction. The title track reunites Lee with former Ten Years After mate, bassist Leo Lyons. The songs basic chord progression, trite lyrics  and common-place arrangements set a pattern that the remainder of the LP / CD rarely breaks. A few numbers move, but none burn.

Lee shifts gears a couple of times. A drum program underpins “Shot In The Dark” with an electronic dance-rock-beat. “Back In My Arms” decelerates to an effective mid tempo shuffle.

George Harrison trades slide guitar licks with Lee on “Talk Don’t Bother Me,” a subtle bluesy ditty. The guitar breaks through occasionally flashy, are confined. Lee never opens up with an extended, freewheeling solo. This is unfortunate as Lee’s instrumental jams rather than his singing or song writing highlights his career.


Joseph Tortelli       






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