The lyrics “I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do, so I leave it up to you,” were perfect for suburban post-sixties Boomers. They so encapsulated the zeitgeist in fact that the song “I’d Love To Change The World” by Ten Years After was immediately enshrined in the Classic Rock Hall of Fame. The album that boasted the tune, A Space In Time was a huge hit in 1971, and continues to be the band’s best-selling work.
The Audio Fidelity company was just reissued A Space In Time as a limited edition 24 karat gold CD, and it is an audiophile’s wet dream. The process behind these releases is a meticulous one, and quite intriguing for those of us who appreciate the ultimate in sound quality.
The first step is the remastering phase, which is done from the original tapes. Once this task is complete, the digital master is etched onto the glass disc surface in real time by laser. From this, the CD is made out of real gold, rather than the standard and often imperfect aluminum. The end result is a remarkably clean and “warm” sounding product, with the original analog depth intact, as well as the convenience and precision of digital technology.
Audio Fidelity focuses on classic rock releases, so it is likely that their audience is already familiar with the music. For those who may not be familiar with Ten Years After’s A Space In Time however, it is a great record. The haunting ballad “I’d Love To Change The World” is a bit of an anomaly, but fits perfectly. The real deal with the band has always been the incredible blues guitar of leader Alvin Lee.
Like a number of artists, Lee made his name on the Woodstock stage. TYA’s version of “I’m Going Home” is deservedly legendary, and Lee’s guitar work smokes. There are a number of cuts on A Space In Time that reflect his and the band’s love of the blues form. Opening track “One Of These Days” certainly qualifies as a leader in the British white-boy blues brigade. Over a heavy-duty 4/4 beat, Lee pulls out his slide and harmonica to emphasize this point.
A couple of the other notably bluesy numbers on the album are “Let The Sky Fall,” and “I’ve Been There Too.” The latter features the most fiery solo Lee plays on the record, and is a testament to just how good he is. Another factor in the popularity of A Space In Time is the variety of material on it. Besides the standard-issue blues, TYA were looking at other forms of expression. While “I’d Love To Change The World,” is the most effective ballad, it is by no means the only one included. “Here They Come” has a dreamy quality to it, and the strings on “Over The Hill” make it the most disconcerting track here. There is something about a band like Ten Years After slowing it down and adding violins that just sounds off – although it is a great tune.
Lee and company venture into rockabilly during “Baby Won’t You Let Me Rock ’N Roll You,” which may or may not have been referenced for Led Zeppelin’s later “Misty Mountain Hop.” Another stop the band make is at the roadhouse, during “Once There Was A Time.” This kind of music always brings to mind a good barroom brawl, and TYA do not disappoint. Finally we come to “Uncle Jam,” a two-minute Wes Montgomery-style jazz guitar piece to close the album out in fine form.
First timers will find a lot to recommend it in A Space In Time, without a doubt. For those who are already converted, the Audio Fidelity 24K + Gold Compact Disc Edition (to use the full name) is what you need for the ultimate Ten Years After experience.