Ahrue Luster

BIOGRAPHY – Albert Lee

Albert Lee was born on December 21, 1943, in Herefordshire, England, but was raised in Blackheath, London. Lee would go onto become one of the best Rockabilly guitarists in the world and a highly sought after session musician.

Lee grew up in a very musical family, his father was a pianist/ according player and his flare for music was passed onto Lee, who initially took up the piano at the tender age of seven. It was until 1958 that Lee purchased his first guitar a Hofner President acoustic arch-top. His early influences included rock legends ‘Buddy Holly And The Crickets’.

Before too long Lee had purchased an electric guitar and was diligently studying recordings by Jimmy Bryant, Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps (featuring Cliff Gallup on lead guitar), the Louvin Brothers, Ricky Nelson (James Burton on lead), and especially the Everly Brothers.

From 1959, Lee played with a wide range of bands, playing mostly R&B, country music and rock and roll. Lee’s first commercial success came with ‘Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds’, where he was the lead guitarist. In 1960 Lee had his first experience on the road when he toured for Larry Parnes.

When MGM record company went under, the band ‘Poet & The One Man Band’ were forced to disband – they later reformed as ‘Heads Hands & Feet’. Lee and Chas Hodges replaced Jerry Donahue and Pat Donaldson. Their self-titled debut album featured the original version of the now classic “Country Boy”. The record was a testament to Lee’s incredible picking style.

During his time playing with ‘Heads Hands & Feet’, Lee became a renowned guitar virtuoso, playing on his Fender Telecaster; Lee would dazzle audiences with his ability to play at breakneck speed. ‘Heads Hands & Feet’ became a popular live band both in the UK and in Europe. After releasing three records and still not quite being able to break into the US market ‘Heads Hands & Feet’ decide to call it a day and pursue other interests.

In 1973 Lee began touring with ‘the Crickets’. After two UK tours and one record – ‘Long Way From Lubock’, Lee left the Crickets and moved to Los Angeles for good.

While in Los Angeles, Lee began doing more and more session work and this was also the time when he began working with Don Everly, who invited Lee to sit in along with pedal steel virtuoso Buddy Emmons. It wasn’t long before the group had built a solid reputation and fan base. Their Tuesday night gigs at the Sundance Saloon, in Calabasas, near L.A became legendary.

Lee’s reputation was growing, and his talents led him to more studio and roadwork. He joined Joe Cocker on two tours across the US and one tour of Australia and New Zealand, before he left to concentrate on making a solo record. However before completion of the record Lee was offered the position as Jeff Burton’s replacement in Emmylou Harris ‘Hot Band’. Lee was a permanent member for two years.

Lee then decided the time had come to complete his postponed solo album. The record was titled ‘Hiding’ and was released in February 1979. Lee performed vocals, piano and guitar; ‘Hiding’ contained another version of “Country Boy”, with Ricky Skaggs helping out on fiddle and Emmylou on backing vocals.

In December of 1978, Lee was asked by legendary guitarist Eric Clapton to join his band. Lee accepted Clapton’s invitation and for the next five years, Lee toured and recorded with the group. Lee was on   Clapton’s double album, ‘Just One Night’, where he featured on lead vocals for a cover of Mark Knopfler’s ‘Setting Me Up’.  Lee also featured on Clapton’s LP’S ‘Another Ticket’ and ‘Money and Cigarettes’
Throughout the 1980’s Lee appeared in a musical documentary, released albums and headlined steel guitar festivals. In 1983 he was chosen as guitarist/musical director for the Everly Brothers first concert in 10 years at The Royal Albert Hall in London. He continues to tour with ‘The Everlys’ spending up to four or five months on the road with them each year.

Lee still tours Europe with his band ‘Hogan’s Heroes’. In 1993 Lee recorded his first vocal-oriented album in years – “In Full Flight”, was recorded live at Montreux with ‘Hogan’s Heroes’. Lee has also occasionally appeared with ‘The Biff Baby All-Stars’ – a celebrity supergroup whose members include Eddie Van Halen, Steve Morse and Steve Lukather.