About Albert Lee
Albert William Lee is an English guitarist known for his fingerstyle and hybrid picking technique. Lee has worked, both in the studio and on tour, with many famous musicians from a wide range of genres. He has also maintained a solo career and is a noted composer and musical director.
Lee was born in Lingen, Herefordshire, but grew up in Blackheath, London, a member of a Romani family. His father was a musician, and Lee studied piano, taking up the instrument at age seven.
During this time, Lee became a fan of Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis. He took up guitar in 1958 when his parents bought him a second-hand Höfner President which he later traded in for a Czechoslovakian Grazioso, the forerunner of the Futurama. Lee left school at the age of 16 to play full-time.
Lee was with a variety of bands from 1959 onwards, playing mostly R&B, country music and rock and roll. He was accompanying Richard Keller, , in the 'Castle Pub', Tooting, the night Russ Conway saw him perform there, two weeks before taking Larry Parnes to see Pride.
In addition to Buddy Holly, his early guitar influences included Cliff Gallup, Grady Martin, the Everly Brothers, Scotty Moore, James Burton and Jerry Reed.Lee first experienced commercial success as the lead guitarist with Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds. Lee says that he enjoyed playing the Stax-type material, but he really wanted to play country music. Consequently, he left Farlowe and the Thunderbirds in 1968.
During his time playing with Heads Hands & Feet, Lee became a "guitar hero", playing his Fender Telecaster at breakneck speed. Heads Hands & Feet became a popular live band in the UK, making appearances on The Old Grey Whistle Test and also in Europe, where they appeared on the German music programme Beat-Club. In October 1969 just before the end of Albert's time with the band Country Fever, an RCA package toured six countries in eleven days, starting at the Nashville Room with the London band the Kingpins.
In 1971, Lee performed with Deep Purple's keyboard player Jon Lord on the studio recording of Lord's Gemini Suite. That opus was a follow-up to Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra. Ritchie Blackmore had played the guitar at the first live performance of the Gemini Suite in September 1970, but declined the invitation to appear on the studio version, which led to the involvement of Lee. Other performers were Yvonne Elliman, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, Tony Ashton and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Arnold.
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