Monday, 11 February 2013

1968 Jeff Beck Group - Truth

Jeff Beck Group, Shape Of Things, 1968

Info: The Jeff Beck Group was formed in 1969 and disbanded in July, 1972, in that short space of time Beck's line-ups changed very frequently, but this debut album, Truth, contained two heavyweights, Rod Stewart on vocals (before he joined The Faces) and Ron Wood on guitar and bass, pre-Rolling Stones. Born in Surrey, England in 1944 his career as a musician began with small Croydon band The Rumbles, following which he became a session guitarist before replacing some guy called Jimmy Page in The Yardbirds in 1965 (Beck himself was subsequently replaced by Eric Clapton in the same band). The Jeff Beck Group released four albums in total, the best known being Truth and Beck-ola in 1969. Beck had been wanted by Pink Floyd as a replacement for Syd Barrett in 1969 and also turned down the chance to replace Brian Jones following his death, in The Rolling Stones, such was the high esteem he was held in by his contemporaries. His mix of styles ranged from hard-rock, to incredible blues guitar, reflected in much of his solo work in the mid-seventies (see albums, Blow By Blow and Wired in particular). Ranked at number 5 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time' ( behind only Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton & Jimi Hendrix, Beck's virtuoso style justifies this ranking, while not a bad vocalist it was definitely his ability as a lead-guitarist which absorbed most of his talent.

And so to the album itself, which is a wonderful mix of solo guitar playing, frantic rock and acoustic interludes (see the strangely medieval track 'Greensleeves'). The album contains a mix of originals (attributed to Jeffrey Rod - a pseudonym for Beck & Stewart) and covers by American blues artist, Willie Dixon ('You Shook Me', 'I Ain't Superstitious') and folk singer Bonnie Dobson's 'Morning Dew'. Quite interestingly Jimmy Page appears on the song he wrote, my favourite track, 'Beck's Bolero' along with The Who's Keith Moon on drums and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones on bass (the latter two also appear on 'Ol Man River', a nice showcase for Rod!). The album was quite successful commercially and reached the U.S. Top 20 in the album charts where it stayed for 8 months, while bizarrely never charting in the U.K.. English music journalist John Tobler states in '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die that; 'Later Beck albums have won Grammy awards, but this is his best ever...', personally I'm more of a fan of his mid-seventies solo efforts but Truth is a great album, chilled-out and rocking out all on one record.

Track Listing:

1. Shapes of Things
2. Let Me Love You
3. Morning Dew
4. You Shook Me
5. Ol' Man River
6. Greensleeves
7. Rock My Plimsoul
8. Beck's Bolero
9. Blues De Luxe
10. I Ain't Superstitious

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