This is the first of the “50 Albums of Note” series.
I’m slightly jealous of people who haven’t heard of Jeff Beck. Because they still have the pleasure of hearing his music for the first time ahead of them. Because they have yet to sit and listen to Truth. Because (and this still astounds me that I’m saying this with complete sincerity) they have yet to hear Rod Stewart in his pomp and prime as evidenced on this record, before he became the twisted image of himself courtesy of Spandex and Kenny Everett. Because playing behind them are Mick Waller on drums and a pre-Stones Ronnie Wood on bass - a rhythm section on a par with Starr & McCartney, or Redding & Mitchell. Because this is who Jimi Hendrix was listening to as he broke out too. Just because….
Having been kicked out of The Yardbirds during an American promo tour, Beck returned home to London and decided to form his own band. With Stewart, Waller and Wood in tow, The Jeff Beck Group recorded Truth quickly after single Shapes of Things was a surprise hit and the record label wanted to cash in on Stewart’s look and Beck’s high profile. The result is a gem. A gin soaked, raspy voiced concoction of rock, blues, guitars singing in the way only Beck can make them sing. Makes me wish I had a proper record player to hear the original vinyl. Shapes and Let Me Love You open up - as good as any Beatles single without the onus of having to sound like The Beatles. Beck’s Bolero is as iconic a piece of music as any written in the last fifty years - in fact Beck played it with Jimmy Page when Page inducted him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 - and Blues De Luxe is that sort of extended blues jam you just want to wallow in because this is as close to a live experience as you get in your living room. The sort of one off live experience you get when jeff Beck turns up at The Proms for a bit of a jam with Nigel Kennedy.
Truth is that you can take or leave the covers of Greensleeves and Old Man River sandwiched in the middle of these ten tracks. Truth is that they don’t matter. Truth is Truth is golden.