Another important step today in the world of rock and roll, especially in the form of electric guitar. Today’s album comes from guitar god Jeff Beck, the second of three guitar legends to play for The Yardbirds.
For his solo debut album, “Truth”, Beck assembled quite the collection of talent, starting with the unmistakable voice of Rod Stewart on lead vocals. These two would come in and out of each other’s musical orbit for several decades to follow. On bass guitar for most songs was future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, with Mickey Waller on drums, although there would certainly be some highly significant guest appearances.
The album is another twist on British blues rock. It opens with the Yardbirds track “Shapes of Things”, includes “I Ain’t Superstitious” and “You Shook Me”, by Willie Dixon, and even includes an instrumental version of the traditional “Greensleeves”, displaying the versatility of Jeff Beck’s guitar skills. I have always been very impressed by Jeff Beck, particularly as a soloist. His sound is very different and unique when compared with contemporaries like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. There is also a great live track called “Blues Deluxe”, an excellent showcase of the entire band.
And speaking of Jimmy Page, he makes a notable and significant appearance on this album. Updating the classical piece “Bolero” from the French composer Joseph Ravel, we are given “Beck’s Bolero”. This explosive building number is not only a great track, the lineup assembled for this song is phenomenal and planted the seed for the UK’s next blues rock explosion. With session musicians John Paul Jones on bass, Nicky Hopkins (who frequently played with The Who) on piano, and Keith Moon, also from The Who on drums, Page’s 12 string acoustic sets the foundation for Jeff Beck to rip the lead melody and carry the tune. I remain fascinated to this day by this intersection of greatness within this tiny circle of talent in the UK.
Ultimately, Jeff Beck’s eccentricities and songwriting limitations kept him from reaching the same commercial success as Clapton or Page, but to this day he remains respected as one of the most dynamic and influential guitarists of his generation.