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Jeff Beck - There And Back CD (album) cover

THERE AND BACK

Jeff Beck

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.38 | 55 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A brief dissent

Back in the day, debating the merits of the "big 3" guitarists was always one of the many heavy issues discussed at keggers. The drinkers preferred Clapton for his simple, laid back approach and easy to approach songs. The stoners said Jimmy ruled, because, well, Zepp'lin.man. And the anal guys who worked in music stores, fancied themselves guitar "teachers," and never had much fun knew that Jeff Beck was God and the other two were hacks. I've never been able to understand the appeal of Jeff Beck as an artist myself despite his technical prowess. As with the other albums I've heard over the years "There and Back" is such a chore for me to get through. I always feel like I'm listening to flash for the sake of it, or some practicing musician showing off rather than producing truly memorable songs that would create a special album. On this album it is pasted over what is for me some pretty dry, mostly boring, period synth-heavy fusion. To look to the positive the last two tracks have some redeeming qualities. "Space Boogie" does shake free of the canned sound and get into a more naturally jammy place. And I can't deny there are some truly gorgeous leads over the melancholy "The Final Peace" that I found pretty touching. Obviously there is much talent on display here and I realize I'll be a lonely voice going thumbs down on this critical darling. I can occasionally be impressed by Beck's technical finesse but I am rarely moved by his music. Beck is a great guitarist, but is he a great artist who makes fantastic albums? I'm not so sure. While most fans won't bail on Beck until "Flash" I did find a few critics willing to. In 1980 David Fricke wrote that the Hammer compositions are " formulaic, terminally predictable exercises in cosmic Mahavishnu-style virtuosity, lazy MOR fodder or neo-Funk-adelic jive. Throughout most of side one, Beck practically has to fight Hammer's solo-mad ego for playing room..the Hymas-Phillips songs are as skeletal as Hammer's are overbearing.. a disappointingly static record from a consummate riffer whose specialty was always leading the pack. These days, Jeff Beck seems content to be a spectator, watching the parade go by." Wilson and Alroy add that Beck sounds "like a dispassionate studio player guesting on his own record." My opinion is that despite some nice moments, this one is for the fans of Jeff Beck and I couldn't recommend it any wider. 5/10

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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