JEFF BECK — Jeff Beck Group

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JEFF BECK - Jeff Beck Group cover
3.17 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1972

Tracklist

1. Ice Cream Cakes (5:40)
2. Glad All Over (2:58)
3. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (4:59)
4. Sugar Cane (4:07)
5. I Can't Give Back The Love I Feel For You (2:42)
6. Going Down (6:51)
7. I Got To Have A Song (3:26)
8. Highways (4:41)
9. Definitely Maybe (5:02)

Line-up/Musicians

- Bob Tench / vocals, guitar
- Jeff Beck / guitars, bass, production
- Max Middleton / piano, keyboards
- Clive Chaman / bass
- Cozy Powell / drums

About this release

Epic – KE 31331 (US)

Recorded at Trans Maximus Inc. Sound Studios, Memphis, Tennessee

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition and snobb, Chicapah, kazuhiro for the updates

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Chicapah
The original Jeff Beck Group, whose core members included Rod Stewart, Nicky Hopkins and Ron Wood, were a volatile, rowdy and explosive band of musicians that helped to pioneer the genre of hard rock that came to be dominated by groups like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. The big drawback of inspired but combustible combinations of high- strung personalities is that sometimes they combust and that's what happened to those guys after they made two groundbreaking albums together. While Rod and Ron ran off to be in The Faces and Nicky went back to being a coveted session rat, Jeff almost joined up with the former Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice. But then he fractured his skull in a bad car accident and his rehab forced him to be out of commission for a year and a half. Starting over from scratch in 1971, Beck started a new band and veered off in a musical direction that had substantial jazz-related R&B influences while retaining his trademark heavy rock mannerisms. After "Rough and Ready" was greeted with mixed reviews Jeff took the group to Memphis, Tennessee and hired the seasoned guitarist and arranger Steve Cropper to produce a fresh batch of songs, attempting to capture some of the soulful flavor of Dixie on their 2nd LP. Like the previous album, however, it turned out to be an inconsistent, hit and miss affair.

Jeff's "Ice Cream Cakes" is an enticing opening song that leads you to think they might really be on to something this time. Bob Tench's raspy vocal is relaxed and he seems more comfortable than before. Beck's ever-unique guitar work is stellar as he works his magic throughout the tune. Cozy Powell's drums are interesting but there's still a slight unsteadiness in his technique that has always bugged me about him. Max Middleton's solid electric piano ride adds a nice touch toward the end. "Glad All Over" is next, a barrelhouse rock & roll ditty that's mildly entertaining but nothing to write home about. Their competent version of Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You" follows. They put a bluesy, gospel-tinged spin on it and it gives Tench a chance to display his versatility. "Sugar Cane" is a Beck/Cropper tune performed New Orleans style ala Dr. John but there's not much originality here when all is sung and done. "I Can't Give Back the Love I Feel For You" is their instrumental rendition of an Ashford/Simpson number and Jeff pulls out his bottleneck slide for this one, creating some interesting harmony lines but the short song is over before it gathers any real momentum.

"Going Down" is the best track on the album by far and one of my all-time favorite Jeff Beck recordings. It's an unabashed rocker from one end to the other and brings to mind the kind of raw energy and electricity that characterized "Truth" and "Beck-Ola." Middleton's wonderful upright piano intro sets up the tune perfectly and it's one primo Beck-lick after another from then on. It generates a motivating, tight groove and easily stands the test of time as almost seven minutes of driving blues/rock at its finest. Unfortunately the remainder of the LP fails to impress. Their ill-advised offering of Stevie Wonder's "I Got To Have A Song" is an embarrassingly weak attempt at manufacturing a hit single. "Highways" is Jeff's awkward mix of rock and contemporary jazz that never finds the road to fulfillment as it meanders without purpose for almost five minutes. Max comes in towards the end with some tasteful electric piano but it's a case of too little too late. Still, it's better than the album ender, Beck's "Definitely Maybe." While somewhat indicative of the jazzier direction he was to take in the years ahead, this tepid instrumental never gets off the ground and some of the tinny harmony guitar parts are downright annoying. As producer, Cropper should have taken out a pistol and put a cap in this one.

There's very little material that can be called fusion included here (if any) but I consider this period of Jeff Beck's musical journey as little more than a brief detour that he needed to explore before moving on to bigger and better things. In 1972 this group disbanded and Jeff finally assembled the long-anticipated Beck, Bogert and Appice power trio that returned him (briefly) to his heavy rock roots. This album (featuring an unexplained orange on the front and back cover) isn't terrible but it's very mediocre. If not for "Ice Cream Cakes" and "Going Down" it would be a blemish on Jeff's admirable career but those two songs elevate it to just barely above average quality.

Members reviews

Sean Trane
Sometimes referred as the Orange album (due to the fruit’s presence), this second self-titled album is in the same mould as its predecessor, but I seem to like it better due to songs that move more than on R&R. With a no-less boring artwork than his preceding album and an unchanged line-up, I find that Orange holds some much better “tunes”, but also some relatively weak ones as well, making it a rougher ride than the R&R debut album.

Starting on the delightful Ice Cream Cakes (hear Beck’s genius in his opening wails) and all the way to the exhilarating Going Down (these two tracks with a more expressive singer would’ve been complete and utmost killers), this album shows a group that is now become even tighter. More concise songwriting a bit at the expense of the instrumental prowess (even though highways leave Jeff and Max some real space to expand. Sugarcane is a good funky track, but no more. The closing Definitely Maybe is also an apt closer with its slow pace and slowly evolving into a jazzy floating ending: good end but not really in phase with the rest of the album.

Somehow, this album sounds like it is the group’s last one, as if they were emptied from ideas (let’s face it, there are more than a few fillers on this album) and about to collapse. Jeff Beck would then go on to form the much-awaited group (since 69) with Carmine Appice and bassist Tim Bogert (ex-Vanilla Fudge and Cactus), but alas this group would not succeed artistically any better than this one. Still worth getting an ear on it as with its predecessor! Try finding these two albums on a 2 on 1 Cd deal.

Ratings only

  • Deafmoon
  • stefanbedna
  • Fant0mas
  • esset55
  • Vano
  • joe

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