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Music Blog

Missed Masterpieces: Jeff Beck

by Lane Heaps
- Posted // 2011-08-02 - 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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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // August 4,2011 at 17:35 I love all Jeff Beck fans. My favorite Jeff Beck Cd's are Live Bootleg 2006, Who Else, Guitar Shop, Frankie's House, Truth, There and Back and Jeff. There is no better live concert performing guitarist than Jeff Beck !

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // August 3,2011 at 10:49 Those are great albums but my favorite is "Jeff Beck Group" from 1972 - such great songs, playing and singing on that one!

 

Posted // August 5,2011 at 13:21 - Dude has turned out major music in the past 50 years starting with The Yardbirds. When he dropped the pick in the late 70's - early 80's and started using his hands and thumbs and fingers, the sounds only got more powerful and complex and delightful. This last show I attended at The Depot was true to form. He built a symphony with his axe and hands, a wall of interesting and unique voices as he played. I've gotten the feeling, since I first heard "Truth" or "Beckola" that you can actually hear his thoughts as he plays. There aren't many like that, but you know it when you hear it. And Beck has a prankster's attitude in his guitar voice most of the time. Hendrix was like that, too. No porn face, no light show, no costumes, just the most thoughtful, powerful guitarist in the world. I have to add that I read an interview with his long-time guitar tech who builds and maintains his fleet of white Strats and he says that Beck destroys guitars playing them and not by bashing them on the stage floor. Guy says Beck just muscles that instrument to the point that that they need maintenance like race cars. And no one can violin the volume knob, wiggle the whammy bar and strike the bridge repeatedly with the heel of his hand nearly simultaneously like he does. That's just his right hand. Living treasure!

 

Posted // August 3,2011 at 15:13 - Stan, it's hard to argue with your logic.

 

 
 
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