Review

Ten Years After without Alvin Lee is utter blasphemy in some longtime fans' eyes, but that's exactly what occurred on the 2004 release by this veteran blues-rock outfit, Now. Out went Lee, and in came replacement singer/guitarist Joe Gooch, who joins longtime members Chick Churchill (keys), Leo Lyons (bass), and Ric Lee (drums). Any fans having reservations about how well Gooch fits in will quickly have their worries erased -- the group's newest member possesses a fine voice (check the laid-back closing track, "Changes"), and can throw down boogie riffs with the best of them ("When It All Falls Down," "Time to Kill," etc.). It may even appear as though the presence of Gooch has breathed new life into the band, as Now is Ten Years After's most focused and strongest studio album in quite some time. As evidenced by Now, the classic Ten Years After sound and approach remain the same, although now a bit more refined and mature than the wilder early records. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi

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