JEFF BECK — Wired

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JEFF BECK - Wired cover
3.90 | 21 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1976

Filed under Fusion
By JEFF BECK

Tracklist

A1 Led Boots 3:59
A2 Come Dancing 5:54
A3 Goodbye Pork Pie Hat 5:26
A4 Head For Backstage Pass 2:41
B1 Blue Wind 5:49
B2 Sophie 6:27
B3 Play With Me 4:06
B4 Love Is Green 2:28

Total Time: 37:20

Line-up/Musicians

- Wilbur Bascomb /Bass
- Max Middleton /Clarinet, Electric Piano
- Ed Green /Drums
- Richard Bailey /Drums
- Jeff Beck /Guitar
- Narada Michael Walden /Piano, Drums
- Jan Hammer /Synthesizer, Drums

About this release

Epic – EPC 86012 (UK)

Recorded at Air Studios & Trident Studios, London
Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, California

Thanks to snobb, EZ Money for the updates

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Chicapah
After garnering universal accolades for the brilliant "Blow By Blow" album, Jeff Beck's status as being much, much more than a gifted rock and roll guitarist blossomed. Those select musicians dwelling in the lofty penthouses of jazz/rock fusion now had no choice but to acknowledge him as one of their own and he understandably attracted the attention of the likes of Jan Hammer and Narada Michael Walden, both formerly with the legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra. Still taking advantage of the unmatched guidance and production skills of Sir George Martin, Jeff went about the business of following up what many consider his best album ever. "Wired" is the perfect title for this record because the high-voltage electrical charge generated by the all-star band Beck assembled for this project gives you the impression that they had a coaxial conduit linking them together. The opening song, Max Middleton's wild "Led Boots" lets you know up front that this isn't going to be some kind of easy-listening MOR fare with its edgy, syncopated beat slapping you up side the head. Drummer Walden and bassist Wilbur Bascomb lay down a rhythm track that is tighter than the Jazz Archive petty cash fund while Jeff supplies a ferocious guitar solo overhead. An added bonus is that Jan Hammer's synthesizer lead at the end sounds amazingly like an electric violin. Walden's "Come Dancing" follows and the infectious groove here is at least partly due to guest Ed Green adding a second drum kit to the beat, creating a funkathon of mammoth proportions. Hammer supplies some very realistic keyboard horn sounds to accompany Beck's incredibly fat guitar licks. After an interesting detour into some rock and roll landscapes during the middle section Jeff and Jan each perform hair-raising rides that will have you shaking your head in disbelief.

Next is a fantastic arrangement of Charlie Mingus' "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" in which Beck magically coaxes every beautiful tone imaginable from his Gibson Les Paul. Here you get a lesson in why Jeff is one of the best ever to pick up the instrument as he displays his immaculate technique and draws on every nuance of his unique style, doing full justice to this bluesy-jazz classic. "Head for Backstage Pass" starts with a torrid bass solo (it was written by Bascomb) before the crackerjack band (led here by drummer Richard Bailey) joins in to create a short but very funky ditty for Beck to set ablaze with his fiery runs. Hot stuff.

One of the highlights of the album is Hammer's eclectic "Blue Wind." The astounding thing about this particular cut is that it's just comprised of Jeff and Jan and nobody else. Hammer provides the intense drums and synthesizers and Beck, of course, unleashes his jet-fueled guitar. Not only does the song feature a contagious melody but both virtuosos get to stretch out on three individual solos, each one topping the other as they create a landmark tune that ranks with the greatest in this genre. It's not to be missed. Walden's "Sophie" follows and it's the most unusual number of all on the album. It starts like a ballad with a complicated but pleasing theme as Jeff utilizes his guitar's tremolo bar like the master he is, then the tune segues into an up-tempo, joyous mood where Max Middleton works absolute wonders on his clavinette. I'm not sure I've ever heard another keyboard sound like this. They then repeat both segments before Beck and Middleton do fierce battle back and forth to the end with Narada playing his ass off on the drums rumbling underneath.

Walden composed the final two tracks, as well. "Play With Me" is yet another funky jazz venture that has a good feel to it but, other than playing on the melody line with Jan, Jeff doesn't even play a lead. Now, don't get me wrong, Hammer does a fine job in the spotlight but the song really doesn't go anywhere exciting. Beck chooses to end things with a quiet number, "Love Is Green," in which he plays both acoustic and electric guitars as Walden supplies the piano and Wilbur the bass. It's a very pretty tune, to be sure, but rather forgettable in the long run.

After getting a writer's credit on four of the cuts on "Blow By Blow," I find it curious that Jeff didn't contribute a single track to this album. Perhaps he just felt the others' material was better than what he had. Not that it matters all that much considering the excellent quality of the music contained here. But what Beck DOES do by the truckloads is deliver some of the best guitar work you'll ever hear. While I don't consider it to be as consistent overall as his previous masterpiece, it still competently holds its own as a powerful, sizzling jazz/rock fusion recording that you can impress your ears with.

Members reviews

Sean Trane
Another highly acclaimed album from Beck, but I never understood why it was so highly regarded. Yes this album is probably the utmost of technicality in terms of guitar playing: Beck almost goes out of his way just to make things more complicated, but this album is colder than the South pole in the dead of winter. Actually I find it very easy to pinpoint where things went wrong on this album (even if I am the only thinking so). The fact that only two players played almost all the instruments (and of course the usual studio guest), this doesn’t make a group effort, but a Beck showcase with little else than pure pretension and virtuoso ideals. Such were the times where DiMeola and others thrived to play faster than McLaughlin (the obvious target), and in the process of trying to emulate him forgot to play the instrument and came out as soulless.

While Beck made some bold cover choice (Pork Pie Hat???), I can't say that his gambling is paying off. Most of these tracks are sounding way too calculated and the best one around (Blue Wind by a mile ahead) is much better in its live form two years later. Spohie and Come Dancing are pure bore IMHO, and the closing Love Is Green just a filler.

Possibly one of jr/f’s most over-rated albums around with its predecessor, and strangely enough, many fans forget the upcoming Live album. Again, I’d like to stress I stand in a minority regarding this album, so please don’t blindly follow me on these two, make your own mind on them. For this album however, I will stoop lower than the three stars, because I think it is reserved for dedicated fans only.

Ratings only

  • Fant0mas
  • Phrank
  • theaterd
  • KK58
  • Vano
  • chrijom
  • mvpzao
  • stevedupreez
  • leechburton
  • joe
  • chuckyspell
  • darkshade
  • Drummer
  • kostasprog
  • Zarathustra
  • progshine
  • Hawkwise
  • zorn1
  • TALIESYN

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