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Jeff Beck - Jeff Beck Group [Aka: Orange Album] CD (album) cover


Jeff Beck


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.12 | 65 ratings

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3 stars This is the end... again.

Just like the second album from the first incarnation of The Jeff Beck Group proved to be a less thrilling experience than the first, so too happens in this second album by the second coming of Beck's ensemble. A poor selection of songs to cover, allied to a couple of less inspired compositions, is partly responsible for this. But let's give it a quick run-through.

One of the originals is in charge of opening the album: Ice Cream Cakes showcases some great drumming and rhythm guitar, and probably the best vocals you will get out of Bob Tench in the whole album. It is nothing to get excited about, just your average rock track, will some good soloing by Jeff Beck thrown in the middle and a lovely Fender Rhodes solo by Middleton towards the end. The track could have a greater entertainment potential is it didn't drag for so long. Glad All Over follows it, a track inspired more by 50's Rock n'Roll, punched up by the band's heavier approach. Somewhere in the middle it slows as Jeff solos out accompanied by a piano and drum beat. Towards the end it gets funkier, but again, not necessarily exciting. Next up is a Bob Dylan cover, Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You, a slower track, with Tench sounding good - the rest of the band pretty much accompanies the singer and his background choir. The slow tempo of the song allows for some mellow guitar soloing, again of very good quality (one doesn't really expect less than very good from Jeff Beck). Sugar Cane is a more Funk/Rn'B-driven song, the kind that wouldn't look out of place on an album by Funkadelic. Personally, I think it's a poor track, borderlining on annoying. It has some added flavour, if only a bit, due to some very interesting guitar work. Side One ends with another cover, Ashford & Simpson's I Can't Give Back The Love I Feel For You. Can't comment on the quality or differences of the cover as I have never heard the original. I can say that it features a excellent guitar work throughout its instrumental two and a half minute length.

Side Two, I feel, is a bit stronger than the first one, apart from one small glitch (we'll get to it). It is opened by two cover songs, the bluesy Going Down, originally by Don Nix, and the Stevie Wonder cover I Got To Have A Song. While the first is an great rendition, whose raw energy and exciting performance from all members (excellent piano intro, guitar work and rough vocals throughout, not to mention Powell's brutal drumming) fit perfectly in the hard-rock mood of the album, the second falls flat, it's Rn'B appearing completely out of place in the album (and I won't even dwell about how bad the material is - there is nothing Beck could do about it, except perhaps NOT TO FREAKIN' COVER THE DAMN SONG IN THE FIRST PLACE). Anyway, the last two songs of the album (both penned by Beck) really make up for that shot in the foot: Highways follows it not a minute too soon, another really good rock track, opened by excellent guitar soloing and drumming. Bob Tench's vocals are simply ok on this song, where the spotlight really is on Jeff Beck's great guitar work, sometimes fast, others slower, but always filled with the passion of someone who really is in love with his guitar. Definitely Maybe ends the album, and is another showcase of this love affection. It's a slower track, instrumental, and probably the jazzier and closest to Beck's later works found on this album. The first part is mostly dominated by the guitar work, displaying the use of whawha to slide to fuzz guitar. The rest of the band don't exactly sit in the corner (well, I guess Bob Tench does) - Max Middleton takes over after a smooth transition, and is given the chance to showcase his Fender Rhodes playing before the music fades-out - a shame considering that it still sounded like it had much more to offer.

This last album by The Jeff Beck Group(s) is definitely not my favourite - in fact, I would rank my appreciation of the albums chronologically, which would make this my least favourite, with Beck- Ola and Rough And Ready more or less tied in second spot. But it does have some great gems, especially on the second side, with three excellent tracks. Overall, it is (once more) an album that will not be of much interest to anyone in search of more adventurous music, but that doesn't take anything away from the fact that it is still a pleasant listen.

Kotro | 3/5 |


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