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JEFF BECK - Truth cover
3.22 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1968


A1 Shapes Of Things
A2 Let Me Love You
A3 Morning Dew
A4 You Shook Me
A5 Ol' Man River
B1 Greensleeves
B2 Rock My Plimsoul
B3 Beck's Bolero
B4 Blues De Luxe
B5 I Ain't Superstitious


Bass – Ron Wood
Drums – Mick Waller
Guitar, Arranged By – Jeff Beck
Vocals – Rod Stewart
Piano – Nicky Hopkins (tracks A3,B4)
Bass – Jeff Beck (track A5)
Organ [Hammond] – J.P. Jones (track A5)

About this release

EMI Columbia – SCX 6293 (UK)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition and snobb, JS for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

In the late 60s most of us fledgling rock and roll guitarists had come to the conclusion that the Holy Trinity of the Fretboards resided in England and had evolved from the Yardbirds into deity status. There was God, Eric Clapton (of course); the Son, Jeff Beck; and the Holy Ghost, Jimmy Page. (Despite having experienced Jimi Hendrix we still didn't know what galaxy he was from). We devotedly devoured every riff that we could get our hands on and prayed for more. By the end of 1968 God had seen fit to bestow us with three fantastic albums from Cream, the Ghost was finishing up his stint with the YBirds (while developing Led Zeppelin) and the Son was unleashing his solo project upon the masses. One thing that all three titans had in common was a deep-seated love for "da blues" and every one of their bands' debut LPs were dipped heavily in that genre, moving in a more eclectic rock direction later on. Jeff Beck's "Truth" was no exception.

"Shapes of Things" was a great way to start the album because it gave us something we could identify with yet it made it clear that that this wasn't pop fare. The slower, heavier sound was what we were craving and it was guitars, guitars and more guitars all the way through. The unknown Rod Stewart was nothing short of a revelation because no one else sounded like he did at the time with that unique rasp that made him sound like he'd been singing in smoky bars for the previous 20 years. "Let Me Love You" is a rocking blues number in which Jeff oozes a guttural guitar tone that sounds like it crawled out of a swamp. "Morning Dew" is more in the experimental direction but it suffers from a very loosely performed track by the band. However, Beck's wild wah-wah display goes a long way in saving the song from becoming a total disappointment. On the back of the album cover Jeff offered a few choice words for every cut. For the next tune, Willie Dixon's "You Shook Me," he claimed it's "probably the rudest sounds ever recorded." That's debatable but honestly descriptive. It's obvious that Beck wasn't interested in generating clean, precise notes from his instrument and his intense playing on this number made his every admirer's hair stand on end. As Jeff noted, "the last note of the song is my guitar being sick. Well, so would you be if I smashed your guts for 2:28." That's exactly the rebellious attitude we'd been hoping for.

"Old Man River" is a curious inclusion but it serves well as a respite from the blues parade. Most likely a showcase for Stewart's expressive vocal, the booming timpani gives it a feeling of grandeur instead of Broadway camp. Just in case we thought Beck could only play hard and loud, a very short acoustic rendition of "Greensleeves" is injected for sensitivity purposes. "Rock My Plimsoul" is another traditional blues progression but drummer Mick Waller does play around with the beat, adding some interesting accents. Jeff shows that he's not necessarily a stickler for authentic blues guitar techniques because what he does here is definitely a portent of unorthodox things to come. The call and answer segment between him and Rod near the end is excellent. "Beck's Bolero," with Jimmy Page credited as ghostwriter (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun) is as far from the blues as you can get as Beck puts on a virtual guitar clinic. Guest Keith Moon's drums fit the bombastic mood perfectly. The live "Blues De Luxe" follows and it's nothing more than slow blues but that doesn't keep it from being spectacular. Nicky Hopkins' piano ride (especially when he tickles the upper ivories) is one of the best you'll ever hear and Ron Wood's bass work rivals Jack Bruce as far as expertly filling in the holes. They saved the best for last, though, with a seminal version of Dixon's "I Ain't Superstitious" that provided a lot of clues as to where Jeff's music was headed. While Clapton and Hendrix had mostly used the wah-wah to accent the beat, Beck treats it as a tone modifier, allowing him to express feeling and emotions much like a vocalist. As he commented candidly, the song is "more or less an excuse for being flash on guitar." (Hey, if you walk the walk you can talk the talk.) The group was able to capture a very "live" atmosphere in the studio for this one, complete with a big, noisy concert ending from Waller. Play this track at high volume for best results.

I've often wondered why this band didn't become as wildly popular as Led Zeppelin would just a year or so later when they were both playing basically the same bluesy style. Part of the answer lies in the fact that Mickie Most's production left a lot to be desired and, therefore, the album isn't as consistent as it should have been sound-wise. (Listen to the out-of-proportion guitar lines that barge in and out of "Old Man River" for proof.) Also, Led Zep would incorporate more of a rock feel to their music and that appealed to a broader spectrum of listeners. Nevertheless, "Truth" still stands tall as a landmark in the evolution of adventurous electric guitar stylings. It was here that Jeff Beck showed us all that the sky was the limit when it came right down to it. A good "English blues" record and a must have for all guitar historians.
Led Zeppelin lite? Just kidding.

Jeff Beck sneaks out of the heavy blues-based-rock ranks before former band mate Jimmy Page, compiling a strong cast to blast through an equal parts exciting, equal parts uninspiring set of songs.

'Truth' is a good album but it simply misses a few integral components, lacking some dynamic in songwriting and a few really killer originals. While Rod Stewart has a voice you can recognise anywhere, his rasp actually seems better suited to soul. While Beck himself has no shortage of grungy riffs and blistering lead parts, without a truly strong writing partnership the band seemed doomed. Had they been able to keep it together longer however, the Jeff Beck Group would have worked some real magic indeed.

Opening with a reworked Yardbirds classic (which is impressive) and sticking to the blues until 'Old Man River' where things are a little subtler, it's an interesting follow-up to the (in)famous 'You Shook Me.' From here the album gets a little more inventive, with the off-beat blues of 'Rock My Plimsoul' one of the only originals on the album, followed by the Page-Beck psychedelic-monster 'Beck's Bolero.' The band close the album with a fairly plodding blues workout before the fine cover of 'I Ain't Superstitious.'

How frustrating for the band to see Led Zeppelin do similar things a couple of months later with their debut (albeit with more power and dynamic) and take off.

For the jazz fan looking to check out Beck's jazzier side it would be safer to head for an album like 'Blow by Blow.' Three stars.

Members reviews

Sean Trane
After his leaving the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck (easily the best of the three legendary guitarists to have played in the group) formed his own unit that appeared as a supergroup, with Small Faces’ Ron Wood on bass, Steampacket’s Rod Stewart, Mayall’s Aynsley Dunbar on drums and of course himself on guitar. Although the awesome Dunbar would depart soon, replaced by Micky Waller, the group achieved incredible success with a stupendous blues-rock album that is still a reference nowadays. NB: the original plan was for Beck to get together with Vanilla Fudge’s bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, but although they talked of it many times and Beck’s bad traffic accident, it wouldn’t happen until 74.

What can be said about this most definitive power blues-rock album, that hasn’t been said 1000 times before? Everyone knows this album was the very reason why Page created Zeppelin and even covered the Willie Dixon tune You Shook Me (prefer the present version). Although beck was a gifted musician, character-wise the man was difficult and probably driven by a solid ego, as can be seen with the good but overdone Beck’s Bolero. Elsewhere the old Yardbirds tune Shapes Of Things is excellent (one might even say that the Yardbirds under Beck's tenure were proto-progressive) and Greensleeves is simply delightful. Morning Dew and Blues Deluxe being my highlights of this album.

While this kind of album is easily recommendable to almost anybody that likes quality music; it really isn’t addressed to those that look at the progressive side of music, even if the album was a bit of a groundbreaker back then.

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