Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Missed Masterpieces: Jeff Beck

Posted By on August 2, 2011, 10:01 AM

In the summer of '77, most of our Priest Quorum (boys from 16 to 18) were in a van, waiting on the Mexican side of the border. When the Mexican customs guy walked over to the van, we noticed he had two pistols, crossed bullet belts from shoulder to hip, and a big mustache.--- Well, we couldn’t resist -- the “Frito Bandito” jokes started up and soon we were laughing our asses off. He got pissed off and told us to pull into the American Customs Searching Area (I was later a Border Patrol agent, but still someone needs to explain to me why Mexican Customs can decide whom American Customs needs to search).

The American Customs guy walked over to the van, looked at our license plates and said, “Utah, huh … are you guys Mormons?” We responded that we were, and he then asked for proof. After one of our leaders showed him a Temple Recommend, he said, “That’s good enough for me.” And off to San Diego we went with our new switchblades, bullwhips, fireworks, prescription drugs, etc.

Later that night, somebody copped some marimba from a guy who was playing the album Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live. We were on this beautiful San Diego beach, around midnight, when one of our leaders walked over and asked him to turn it down. After the leader got in his tent, we went over and asked him to crank it back up. This went on for awhile until the leader finally gave up.

Jeff Beck later went in a lot of different directions, but he could have gone anywhere he wanted to. I’m just going to talk about some of his better solo albums.

If you’re into more of a rock and roll, or rhythm and blues sound, you can’t go wrong with his first solo album, Truth ('68). It rocks with power.

I, personally, am more interested in his middle jazz fusion albums; there was plenty of rock and roll to go around during that period of time. I like Wired ('76), but my favorite of his albums is Blow by Blow ('75), with great songs like “You Know What I Mean” and “Freeway Jam.”

And it doesn’t hurt to have the nostalgia of sitting on a beautiful beach in a mildly altered state, listening to Jeff Beck playing live.

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