I don’t envy anyone the task of compiling a Hits of any great artist. Especially with this man, who is so hard to pin down into one style or direction. This set could easily be four discs, so this single disc is what it is – a good primer for those interested in getting just a taste of Beck’s excellence. It’s also fantastic, of course.
These 14 songs span Beck’s career, from the Yardbirds through his stuff with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart, and on into his long, illustrious solo career. Vernon Reid write the liner notes, too.
Tracks: The Pump / People Get Ready (w. Rod Stewart) / Freeway Jam / Shapes Of Things / Where Were You (w. Terry Bozzio & Tony Hymas) / Beck’s Bolero / Going Down / Jailhouse Rock / Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Blue Wind / Plynth (Water Down The Drain) / Two Rivers (w. Terry Bozzio & Tony Hymas) / Scatterbrain / She’s A Woman
Hear it here:
My next Jeff Beck LP comes from 1985. It’s awesome (imagine that), and alot of it is definitely of its time, sound-wise. Ah, the 80s. He’s so inventive on the guitar, though, so expressive.
Info for those who wanna know: “Two singles also charted, the first being a reunion with singer Rod Stewart (from the Jeff Beck Group) for a cover of “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield/The Impressions, which reached No. 5 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock and No. 48 on the Hot 100, as well as the top 40 in four other countries. The second single, “Gets Us All in the End”, reached No. 20 on Mainstream Rock. The instrumental “Escape” went on to win the award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 1986 Grammys, which was to be Beck’s first of many such awards.”
The album is unique for Beck in that it is composed mainly of songs with vocals, save for two instrumentals in the form of “Escape” and “You Know, We Know”, written by his longtime collaborators Jan Hammer and Tony Hymas respectively. Designed to be a foray into pop music in order to capitalise on that sound at the time, Flash was produced by Nile Rodgers for that reason. Such was the desire by the record company to score a hit album, Beck uncharacteristically found himself singing on “Get Workin'” and “Night After Night”, at the insistence of Rodgers. “Ambitious” and “People Get Ready” feature a rare instance of Beck playing a Jackson Soloist rather than his usual Fender Stratocaster. Despite its success, he has since expressed his disdain for the album, calling it a “record company goof” and “a very sad sort of time” for him.”
Hear the whole album:
Now we jump to 1980 for another great record. My LP copy is wonderful! Tired of Jeff Beck yet? I’m not! This one goes out to the edges to see what’s there, and it’s fascinating. Check out the blistering Space Boogie! Wow!
“The album showcases Beck’s stylistic shift towards instrumental rock whilst largely retaining the jazz fusion elements of his two previous releases, Blow by Blow (1975) and Wired (1976). “Star Cycle” was used for a number of years as the theme song for both Mid-South Wrestling in the United States and the British music programme The Tube; “The Pump” was featured in the 1983 film Risky Business; “Too Much to Lose” is an instrumental cover of a song composed by keyboardist Jan Hammer that was originally featured on the Jan Hammer Group’s 1977 album Melodies.” (Wiki)
Hear the whole record here:
Here’s another Beck masterpiece, this time with the Jan Hammer Group, live on stage. What a ride! Sure, some of it is a quite bit out there, and some of it doesn’t quite work, and a bit of the vocals may not be perfect but, you know what? They were fully invested, and operating and communicating on a level most of us can’t even comprehend, and there’s so much here to love. It is a masterpiece in its own right!
“No precise dates and locations are given for the live recordings. The tour began in June 1976 and ended in February 1977, with 117 shows performed. A&R man Tom Werman suggested that the date at the Astor Theater in Reading, PA (31 August 1976) yielded the best performances, and was going to provide the bulk of the album at the time of his involvement in the project. Beck mixed this along with other recordings at Allen Toussaint’s studio in New Orleans. Then Jan Hammer decided to mix the album himself, and did so with Dennis Weinreich at Scorpio Sound Studios in London, England. The stereo spectrum of this album duplicates the stage set-up with guitar positioned center right, keyboards center left, violin right and drums and bass center.” (Wiki)
- Jeff Beck – guitar, bass guitar, special effects
The Jan Hammer Group
- Jan Hammer – Moog, Oberheim and Freeman string symphonizer synthesizers, electric piano, timbales; lead vocal on “Earth (Still Our Only Home)”
- Tony “Thunder” Smith – drums; lead vocal on “Full Moon Boogie”
- Fernando Saunders – bass, harmony vocals; rhythm guitar on “She’s A Woman”
- Steve Kindler – violin; string synthesizer on “Darkness”; rhythm guitar on “Blue Wind”
Here’s an all-timer for me. I own two LP copies and a CD.
So much to love here, I can hear the whole record in my head. It sounds so lovely and warm on LP. Paired with Blow By Blow, these are a one-two instrumental punch that any musician would find tough to beat. The playing is thoughtful, tasteful, and groove-ful. And that guitar tone. OMG.
“Of the album tracks, four are originals by Narada Michael Walden and one by Jan Hammer. Max Middleton contributed the homage to Led Zeppelin, “Led Boots”, and Beck chose to interpret the Charles Mingus ode to saxophonist Lester Young, “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, from the classic 1959 jazz album Mingus Ah Um. These last two tracks have been long-time staples of Beck’s performance repertoire.” (Wiki)
I know you have this one. If you haven’t, well, you should!
Check out the whole thing here:
Of course, the Hall Of Fame title track is an old Yardbirds song, which some call the first-ever psychedelic rock song (discuss). Beck re-did it for his Truth album (not covered here because I don’t have it at the moment, oversiiiiight).
This 1975 compilation LP is cheap online (it was also availble on 8-track!), but worth way more in content. It’s a great listen. Shame my copy here has a tatty cover (the LP is fine).
Side A: Shapes Of Things / What Do You Want? (Inst.) / New York City Blues / Someone To Love / For R.S.G.
Side B: Mr. You’re A Better Man Than I / Someone To Love (Inst.) / I Ain’t Got You / I Ain’t Done Wrong
I love my old lovely copy of this 1975 LP.
This is a big quote but it saves me re-writing it to try to sound like I knew all of this:
“After the dissolution of the power trio Beck, Bogert & Appice (BBA) in spring 1974, Beck took time for session work with other groups. In December, a half-hearted “audition” for The Rolling Stones took place, Beck jamming blues with the band for one day, before realising their musical styles were not compatible.
During this period, Beck decided to record an all-instrumental album, bringing back keyboardist Max Middleton from the second Jeff Beck Group. He hired George Martin to produce after hearing his work with the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s 1974 album Apocalypse. According to Carmine Appice, who played with Beck in BBA, he was involved in the writing and recording process of Blow by Blow but his parts were edited out after a dispute with Beck’s management. The fourth key contributor to Blow by Blow after Beck, Middleton, and Martin was Stevie Wonder, who gave Beck his songs “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” and “Thelonius”, with Wonder playing clavinet on the latter uncredited. The former song appeared on Wonder’s 1974 album Stevie Wonder Presents: Syreeta, made with then-wife Syreeta Wright, while Wonder never recorded “Thelonius” himself. A cover of the Beatles song “She’s a Woman” was selected, as well as the composition “Diamond Dust” by Bernie Holland of the group Hummingbird consisting of musicians from the second Beck Group. The other five tracks were band originals with Beck and Middleton the main writers, and the last track on each side featured string arrangements by Martin. Beck dedicated “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” to fellow guitarist Roy Buchanan, with an acknowledgement to Wonder.” (Wiki)
For me, this is an excellent record, one where you can just immerse yourself in the music. It is still his highest-charting album, for all the good reasons!
Hear the whole thing for yourself!
And now it’s time for this UK/US supergroup’s 1973 LP called Beck, Bogert & Appice. Jeff Beck is joined by Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice (both previously in Vanilla Fudge and Cactus). This power trio made one hell of a great-listening, bluesy rockin’ record (with lovely balladry too). Their cover of Stevie Wonder’s Supersition and Curtis Mayfield’s I’m So Proud are great too.
I could go through track by track, but instead… yeah, you just need to own this one. Brilliant!
“Jeff Beck Group is the fourth and final studio album by the Jeff Beck Group and the second album with the line up of Jeff Beck, Bobby Tench, Clive Chaman, Max Middleton and Cozy Powell. The album was produced by Steve Cropper and often referred to as the Orange Album, because of the orange which appears prominently at the top of the front cover… they also recorded five cover songs for this album, including a new version of Ashford & Simpson’s “I Can’t Give Back the Love I Feel for You” and Carl Perkins’s Sun Records release, “Glad All Over” (1957). The Cropper and Beck collaboration “Sugar Cane” was one of several songs written whilst in the studio.” (Wiki)
Like the last record, it met with mixed reviews, mostly negative, but once again I liked it a bunch. I always try to appreciate the time and care put into a record, imagine the band in the studio getting it how they wanted it. And this didn’t miss for me, not at all!
Once again on original LP, my copy here is awesome. Check it out: “Rough and Ready is the third studio album by the Jeff Beck Group and the first of two by the second Jeff Beck Group. Released in 1971 by Epic Records, it featured more of a jazz, soul and R&B edge to counter Beck’s lead guitar. As a songwriter, Beck contributed more pieces to Rough and Ready than he had before, or ever would again. Beck enlisted Bobby Tench as vocalist and it is also the first time keyboardist Max Middleton is heard. Other members of this line up are drummer Cozy Powell and bassist Clive Chaman.”
Some folks thought it was indulgent twaddle, with his playing far superior to the songs supporting it, but I think it’s solid stuff. To each their own, I guess, but it’s more than alright by me, Jeff!
And now we switch to the gorgeous guitar wizardry of Jeff Beck. There’s something about these great guitar players… If you’ve ever picked up the instrument and tried to play, you know they are on a level you can’t even imagine, so much feel and expression. Jeff Beck is one of those players.
I don’t have anywhere near all of his albums, but Truth, the first solo album (prior to Beck-Ola) is one I know I need to get! I did have a used copy here, on LP, but it was not playable. Gah.
What can I say about this record other than it’s a pure classic? My old LP copy sounds just right, warm and perfect. Even the title is a play on the Rock-Ola jukebox name, the same kind my Mom had when we were kids. The music is as classic blues rock as you can get. And the players here! Not only do you get Jeff Beck, but Rod Stewart on vocals, Nicky Hopkins and Ronnie Wood (heard of the Stones?) on keys and bass guitar (!), respectively, and Tony Newman (played with a ton, including Bowie, Harrison, Clapton, on many others) on drums. Talk about an all-star cast. Man, Ronnie on that bass, stellar.
You really need to read THIS for a short history – imagine them at Woodstock! – but the Faces are an acceptable alternative by every measure, eh?
To say I love this good rockin’, good lovin’ album is an understatement. They get more done in this half hour play-length than some bands accomplish their whole career.