Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Beck + Rod + Wood = Truth?!

I felt compelled to wash off the stink of the post-1975 music of Rod Stewart. It's not that I own any. I don't. But, I did refer to it. And, that felt sleazy enough to require some form of redemption. Enter Jeff Beck's 1st "solo" album, TRUTH (1968).

For all you Led Zeppelin haters, here's the album to blame. For all you Zep fans, get this album immediately, if you want to see the blueprint.

I have to start by reprinting here Jeff Beck's own liner notes from my vinyl LP. They have just the right combination of devil-may-care, aw-shucks, and yet complete confidence, make that cockiness. They're a trip in and of themselves:
Shapes of Things 3:17
Let Me Love You 4:41
Morning Dew 4:38
You Shook Me 2:28
Ol' Man River 3:57

Greensleeves 1:47
Rock My Plimsoul 4:11
Beck's Bolero 2:50
Blues De Luxe 7:32
I Ain't Superstitious 4:53

Produced by Mickie Most
Arranged by Jeff Beck
Engineer: Ken Scott

Guitar: Jeff Beck
Vocals: Rod Stewart
Bass: Ronnie Wood
Drums: Mick Waller

Jeff Beck - Bass on "Ol' Man River"
J.P. Jones - Hammond Organ on "Ol' Man River"
Timpani by "You Know Who"
Nicky Hopkins - Piano on "Morning Dew" and "Blues De Luxe"

The "Truth" About This Album Is:
SHAPES OF THINGS Rearranged, but the same Yardbirds hit. This must be played at maximum volume whatever phonograph you use. Makes very appropriate background music if you have Vicar over for tea.

LET ME LOVE YOU Heavy number, tambourine played divinely by Micky Waller. Written partly by me and partly by another geezer. Multipurpose tune.
MORNING DEW Everyone knows Tim does this wonderfully, but so do we.
YOU SHOOK ME Probably the rudest sounds ever recorded. Intended for listening to whilst angry or stoned. Last note of song is my guitar being sick--well so would you be if I smashed your guts for 2:28.
OL' MAN RIVER Arranged by me, but credit must go to all, everyone was super, especially Rod Stewart. Again played loudly gives maximum value.
GREENSLEEVES (Aye, that's a lovely "toon") played on Mickie Most's guitar which by the way is the same as Elvis'.
ROCK MY PLIMSOUL Re-recorded flipside of "Tally Man." Much better feel and more spontaneity than the original.
BECK'S BOLERO Not much to say about this, excuse same track on here as on the "Silver Lining" B side, but we couldn't improve on it.
BLUES DE LUXE Thanks to Bert and Stan, we were able to give you a perfect example of "live" blues music that we sometimes give forth, and please let's own up about the piano solo.
I AIN'T SUPERSTITIOUS Stolen riff from old "Howlin' Wolf" tune, but he doesn't mind because I asked him. This number is more or less an excuse for being flash on guitar.

Well, that's it honeys, here's our first LP -- called "Truth" -- Jeff Beck

There's not a lot to add. This is a great album that I hadn't listened to for at least 12 years until last night. Rod Stewart, man, you could've been a contender. Also, the "You Know Who" on timpani was Keith Moon of The Who. ("You Know Who"...get it? Got it. Good.)

Back to the Led Zeppelin thing: Though uncredited in the liner notes, it has been reported that Jimmy Page (Beck's bandmate from The Yardbirds) added some guitar on "Beck's Bolero". In any event, he was clearly close to Jeff Beck in 1968. John Paul Jones is credited on "Ol' Man River", but is also reported to have played bass on "Beck's Bolero". Robert Plant, at that point in time, would've been an amazing approximation of Rod Stewart. Add the sledgehammer drumming of John Bonham, and you've got all the ingredients of Led Zeppelin.

Now, which songs to record for your 1st album? Well, let's could do "You Shook Me", the Willie Dixon tune Jeff Beck covered on Truth. You could adapt an instrumental version of a traditional folk song, "Blackwater Side", and call it "Black Mountain Side" (see Jeff Beck's version of "Greensleeves" from Truth). There are other striking similarities in tone and feel. Of course, Zeppelin did add a few twists. Probably two are most significant. For one, they picked up the pace considerably on a couple of the heavier tracks (e.g., "Good Times, Bad Times", "Communication Breakdown"). The other is the increased "psychedelia", primarily on "Dazed and Confused".

In any event, Jeff Beck was prone to do his own thing. Although his follow-up, Beck-Ola, continued in much the same vein, it was clearly Page's Led Zeppelin that capitalized more on the heavier sound of the late '60s and early '70s. However, if you're interested in tracing it back, there's the Truth. (You knew I had to make some sort of clever comment.)


Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

so weird. I was just listening to this album last night.

People that love "hot legs" won't ever get it. But Rod used to be a rocker.

It just goes to show you what a little success will do for you.

I wonder how I'd be if I won the lottery????

10:39 AM, May 31, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

That is an interesting coincidence! What else is one to do, though, to "cleanse" themselves of awful Rod Stewart music memories? I say, dust off the early Jeff Beck Group stuff!!!

To your point on "the lottery", I think that makes Bob Dylan and Neil Young all the more admirable. Both essentially "won the lottery" at incredibly early stages in their careers, yet continued with artistic integrity (to my estimation). As for Rod, well...

8:14 AM, June 01, 2006  
Blogger KK said...

Miss this more intellectual musicational discussions!

10:05 AM, April 21, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home