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Jeff Beck

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Jeff Beck Blow By Blow album cover
4.17 | 306 ratings | 24 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. You Know What I Mean (4:05)
2. She's a Woman (4:31)
3. Constipated Duck (2:48)
4. Air Blower (5:09)
5. Scatterbrain (5:39)
6. Cause We've Ended as Lovers (5:52)
7. Thelonius (3:16)
8. Freeway Jam (4:58)
9. Diamond Dust (8:26)

Total Time: 44:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Jeff Beck / guitars

- Max Middleton / keyboards
- Stevie Wonder / clavinet (7) - uncredited
- Phil Chen / bass
- Richard Bailey / drums, percussion
- George Martin / orchestral arrangements (5,9), producer

Releases information

Artwork: John Collier

LP Epic ‎- PE 33409 (1975, US)
LP Music On Vinyl ‎- MOVLP107 (2010, Europe)

CD Epic ‎- CDEPC 69117 (1984, UK)
CD Epic ‎- EK 64407 (1994, US) Remastered (?)
CD Epic ‎- 502181 2 (2001, Europe) Remastered by Vic Anesini

Thanks to Garion81 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy JEFF BECK Blow By Blow Music

JEFF BECK Blow By Blow ratings distribution

(306 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JEFF BECK Blow By Blow reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris H
4 stars The very first Jeff Beck album to grace my collection, I still consider it to be one of my favorite out of his whole discography. Along with his next album, "Wired", 1976 was one of his biggest years from a commercial stand-point. Although "Blow By Blow" is Jeff's 5th studio album, it is his first solo output. After the last line-up of The Jeff Beck Group didn't work out, he sent Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice packing and started out solo. Not bad for a first effort, I'd say.

The one thing that I really enjoy about Jeff's playing is that he really makes the sound his own. "Blow By Blow" is one of his first albums that really breaks a lot of ground into the jazz-fusion genre, while his previous albums only slightly touched upon the style. Even his cover of Paul McCartney's "She's A Woman" has Beck's signature style pinned onto it.

The album opener, "You Know What I Mean", wastes no time in pulling you into the mood of the album, with its jazz-rooted funk blasting right from the get-go. Solos fly every which way, and the most impressive part of the whole song may just be the drum solo near the end. "She's A Woman" follows, and just like I said before, Beck makes the song his own by putting his signature raw emotion into his playing. The next three songs, "Constipated Duck", "Airblower" and "Scatterbrain" sound like one long set of pounding jazz fusion, which is why these three songs are usually a staple in his live performances.

"Cause We've Ended As Lovers" is one of Jeff Beck's signature live songs, mainly because it is virtually impossible for anyone but himself to play it. The way he almost "makes love" to his guitar is almost unfathomable. Another standout is the longtime radio staple "Freeway Jam".

So, if you have ever picked up a guitar you need to own this album. Even thoguh I say that, by no means is this only an album for guitarists. Max Middleton, Phil Chenn and Richard Bailey all get their time in the spotlight, and like I said before, Richard Bailey's drum solo on "You Know What I Mean is one of the high points of the album.To repeat myself again, this album is incredibly rhythmic and musically stimulating to anybody with ears, pretty much. Not too many people enjoy all- instrumental albums, but if you are one of those that do then this is a must have.

4 stars, a great example of 70's jazz fusion.

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This my 50th review and I am choosing one of my all time favorite albums. If you look at my reviews you will notice that I have mostly 4-5 star ratings. I do that because I would rather look a the positive than the negative so I tend to review albums I think are the best. I always rate high on what I feel are the best moments in progressive music and I could point to that and say this is a shining example of the music. This is one of them.

I remember in 1975 at a friends apartment who had purchased a quad audio player and we listened to three very important albums in quad. Brian Salad Surgery, Dark Side of the Moon and this one. Produced by The Beatles own George Martin this album is as stellar now in its sound as it was then. Lightly applying strings in some passage really adds to the romantic sound of such track as Cause We Ended as Lovers that was written by Stevie Wonder.

Beck changes his guitar here and his sound putting down the Strat and picking up a gold sunburst Les Paul. Just an incredibly different way of hearing him play. Jeff also was hanging around such people as John Mclaughlin who he would tour with on this album. You can really hear the influence on this record. This is Jazz fusion but more on the rock side than the jazz. Hauntingly beautiful this is Jeff Beck's finest work and the reason he is here. The biggest highlights for me are Scatterbrain, Freeway Jam, Cause We Ended as lovers and Diamond Dust although there is not a bad song on this album. Another one I can point to and say this is a classic! 5 stars!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars George Martin THE BEATLES famed producer adds some orchestral arrangements that he is famous for to this record as well as producing it. This record would peak at number 4 on the Billboard charts and would stay there for 25 weeks, becoming a platinum selling album for Mr.Beck. This album was a bit of a departure for Jeff, turning to a more Jazz / Fusion sound and dropping the Rockabilly and Blues sound he was previously known for. Although the song "Cause We've Ended as Lovers" does have some blues moments and is one of my favourites off this record.This song has a pastoral beginning with lazy guitar melodies. Some great solos later in the song.

The first song "You Know What I Mean" is another favourite of mine with some great guitar leads and a funky melody. "She's A Woman" is a Paul McCartney tune where Jeff makes his guitar almost talk, and then later he does make it talk ! Very intricate guitar melodies on this one. "Constipated Duck" reminds me of the "Superstitious" song by Stevie Wonder that Beck played on. Again, intricate and complex guitar by Beck.

"Air Blower" has some great drumming on it. This is an uptempo and catchy song. Nice keyboard melody as the song slows down. "Scatterbrain" is really jazzy, with guitar, drums and keys. "Thelonius" is a Stevie Wonder tune that is quite funky. "Freeway Jam" is another favourite of mine as the guitar is amazing. Some scorching solos on this one. "Diamond Dust" sounds different from the rest. Almost a spacey feel to it at times with violin and orchestration too. The keys are good and there some real jazzy moments in this one too.

If your into guitar music you need to hear this one ! Jeff has this unique way of creating different tones with his guitar. Excellent release !

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a surprisingly complex and restless music. There are some rock, funky, jazzy and even symphonic influences involved. The warm rhythm is absolutely omnipresent. The keyboards are quite elaborated: there is an overdose of Fender Rhodes (electric piano), and some fat clavinet parts really steal the show. The comparison with Brand X, Return to forever and Frank Zappa is not completely deprived of sense, but the style here is more hard rock/blues oriented, and less complex. The music is the opposite of relaxing linear floating notes: it is rather nervous. Beck's guitar is absolutely delightful with his numerous hard rock'n bluesy solos full of good effects, featuring a "talking guitar" among others. However, the typical Beck's zigzagging sound full of fast tremolos is noticeable here only on a couples of tracks, including "Cause we've ended as lovers". The drums and bass are very sophisticated.
Review by Chicapah
5 stars Lots of jazz guitarists have veered into the world of rock and roll on occasion but the number of "raised on the blues" rockers who have had the boulders to step into the high-falutin' domain of jazz rock/fusion can be counted on one hand. Most of us weren't sure it could be done at all until Tommy Bolin spun everyone's head around with his phenomenal work on Billy Cobham's "Spectrum" in 1973. I have no idea if that had anything to do with Jeff Beck's drastic change of direction but it might have. Or maybe he came to the realization that, singer or no singer, his fans just wanted to hear him let it rip more than anything else. No matter the reason, by hiring producer/wizard George Martin and assembling a basic four-piece combo of extremely talented musicians, Jeff created "Blow By Blow," a recording for all modern guitarists to drool over forevermore.

"You Know What I Mean" is a great mood-setter that lets you know right from the start that you're about to go on one fun, funky ride. The clever melody structure serves up notice that this album isn't going to be just some long, tiresome jam session but, rather, a collection of well thought out and expertly arranged compositions. Next comes an unexpected reggae treatment of the classic Beatles' hit, "She's A Woman," in which Beck whips out the voice tube device, adding a unique twist to the song. For those of us who only knew Jeff by his boisterous, heavy stylings showcased with the Yardbirds and earlier versions of his namesake band, the tasteful restraint he employs here was nothing short of a revelation. (Dang! He's even better than we thought!) This little treat is followed by the complex syncopation that is "Constipated Duck." Here Beck steps out of the spotlight to allow the group's collaborative tightness to be the star of the show. Drummer Richard Bailey and bassist Phil Chenn lay down an incredibly cohesive rhythm track as Max Middleton's flowing clavinet keeps it chugging along.

"Air Blower" and "Scatterbrain" are listed as separate tunes but they work so well in tandem that they might as well be considered one song. Whatever, it's almost nine engaging minutes of exquisite, progressive fusion. It kicks off with a bang, then settles into a driving groove for Beck to sizzle in. His interplay with Bailey's expressive drum accents is nothing short of a thrill ride, then Middleton's smooth Rhodes piano (the stereo bounce is perfect, by the way) relaxes the pace as they transition into a cool 9/8 time signature segment. Here Jeff lets his Les Paul's natural tones provide all the effects needed to keep things from becoming predictable before the band segues seamlessly into the second song. Beck plunges them into a stirring, speedy riff that would challenge even the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Now comes George Martin's contribution as an orchestral score that would make the late, great Nelson Riddle proud begins to swirl around Jeff's blazing solo. Max follows that with an admirable electric piano lead before the song disassembles, leaving Beck's distorted axe to rediscover the theme and pull everyone back into the wild fray. His guitar wails like a banshee as the song fades into the twilight.

JB does more than justice to Stevie Wonder's ballad, "Cause We've Ended as Lovers," he makes it his own. If there's a word to describe Jeff's style that word is expressionistic. You'll never hear more mournful licks than these. His playing is so passionate that, if you just let go and absorb the vibe, you'll feel a tug at your heart as he steadily builds the song to its emotional peak. No one else can produce notes like this. No one. Okay, time to move on to yet another Wonder tune, the funkified "Thelonius" where Beck's reprisal of the voice tube and Middleton's frisky clavinet frolic over an irresistible dance beat. (If I was the director of the USC Trojan marching band I'd have this in the halftime show for sure. It begs for the tuba section to roar.)

The next song is ideal for cruisin' with the top down and the volume cranked. "Freeway Jam" gives you the feeling that you're flying about 90 mph in a Ferrari on the expressway at 4 in the morning and you've got the road to yourself (It's a fantasy. So sue me). Jeff is on fire as he jumps back and forth from the infectious melody line to screaming flashes of brilliance. Max also shines as he bangs out a hot keyboard ride towards the end. The album closes in a very prog mood with the 5/4 lilt of "Diamond Dust." Once again the rhythm section is tighter than an opera diva's girdle and Sir George's discreet but inspired symphonic score creates a hypnotic atmosphere for Beck and Middleton to stretch out inside. Many artists over the years have attempted but few have achieved such a splendid balance of orchestration and fusion. Simply magnificent.

Jeff probably had to wade through a horde of cynics, head-shakers and doomsayers when he delivered this album to his label but he knew that the superb quality of the music would triumph and he was right. There's not a weak track to be found and this landmark recording stands the test of time spectacularly. If you've ever wondered what the fuss is about JB and why so many guitar gods hold him in the utmost esteem, "Blow By Blow" should answer any questions you may have.

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars A very listenable combination of funk, rock and blues. This always provides a nice alternative when I need some straight-up guitar rock and am not in the mood for Satriani. Hearing this interesting combination of tunes has led me to explore more of Beck's work (some of which I'm glad I found, other pieces not so much). At any rate, Beck is at his best here, providing lots of tones and effects, while giving plenty of room for the band to make meaningful contributions. This is great music and not simply fancy guitar driven rock.

You Know What I Mean, She's a Woman, Constipated Duck. Here we open with a funky rocker, a playful lighter tune, and then move back into funk. Pretty catchy melodies, and there are plenty of guitar overdubs to keep you interested.

Air Blower, Scatterbrain. These two pieces really play as one, and they are the highlight of the album. These are heavy-jazz songs with just enough funkiness to give them a nice bite. Air Blower starts with a great groove and finishes with a great bluesy section, which leads perfectly into the killer drums that open Scatterbrain. This piece ROCKS throughout, and you will never get bored. Here all musicians are firing on all cylinders, and Beck does a great job of not dominating the action.

Cause We've Ended as Lovers. A slow, bluesy number that builds nicely. The notes just ooze out of Beck's guitar, and the keys are perfectly restrained but ever present.

Thelonius, Freeway Jam. The funky rock from the start of the album is back and better than ever. Freeway Jam is especially energetic and toe-tapping. We've been waiting for Beck to REALLY cut loose, and here we get it! You can just tell the boys loved playing this song.

Diamond Dust. A very mellow and restrained close to the album. It really works, in large part because it adds another dimension to the styles covered throughout the rest of the album.

All in all, a very solid album. Great music, though not necessarily progressive throughout. Few people would be able to resist enjoying this music, and it's my favorite from Beck (though I'm still expanding my exposure to his work).

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars After the disastrous BBA project (even if the double live album, released only in Japan, is much better than their sole album), Jeff Beck definitely left the rock realm for the next few years and entered the jazz-rock/fusion (as already hinted with 71's R&R album) where incredible critical acclaim finally met a bit of a commercial success (all things staying relative since we're talking of jazz rock albums). For many, BBB and Wired are often regarded as Jeff's apex and in a strange way, I can't deny it is the case. While BBB has some real fine moments, I could never help wonder why so many made mountains out of this molehill.

While Beck & Co, reach some real peaks with Scatterbrain (but listen to the live version in 78) and the slow Cos We Ended Up As Lover and the wild Freeway Jam (also present on the 78 live album in a livelier version), there are a bunch of tracks that this writer finds incredibly boring, unable to cast a sort of torpor that seems to muffle the group in the slower tracks. Again as in BBA, Middleton is present with ghis favourite Fender Rhodes electric piano. I know some will have death threats ready for me when they will read that I fond most of the other tracks little more than uninteresting and even one of two fillers. The Beatles' She's a Woman is very deceiving and the Monk tribute Thelonius is just a miss. Even the lengthy Diamond Dust is a just plain boring and overstays its welcome. A big part of the negative critics I have for this album are aimed at Sir George Martin's unsufferably horrifyingly cheap and cheesy string arrangements; much like he's sullied Stackridge's bowler Hat album and to a lesser extent Mahavishnu's Apocalypse album.

As I said above, this writer's opinion is most likely to contrast sharply with other usually over-appreciative opinions, so see for yourself on BBB and Wired. Difficult to give less than three stars though!!

Review by Kotro
4 stars And now for something completely different

Following the end of another Jeff Beck Group and the apparent lack of success with Beck,Bogert and Appice, the man decided to embark on a solo adventure by jazzing it up a bit. From the Group he eventually kept the company of keyboardist Max Middleton, and I suppose it's no coincidence, since Middleton always seemed the more jazz-oriented of his fellow band members. Giving a hand to Beck on his proper solo debut are also reggae men, ex-Vagabonds Phil Chen on bass and former Bob Marley collaborator Richard Bailey on drums. Last but definitely not least, George Martin (yes, THE George Martin aka the Fifth Beatle) as producer and arranger - a weird recipe indeed, but one which turned out quite successful.

This seemingly musical delicacy is introduced by You Know What I Mean. A funky guitar and Fender Rhodes opening (quite catchy) is shortly heard before we are presented with the fuzz guitar, soon abandoned for the more classical electric guitar sound, leaving all the groove to the Fender Rhodes and the rest of the band. Funky, jazzy and still with a lot of good old rock thrown in between - if this isn't fusion then I don't know what is. The opening track is followed by She's A Woman, a Beatles cover, here delivered with a reggae beat that would pass for a full reggae song if not for Jeff's jazz-rock, very unreggaeish soloing. Amusing, nevertheless. Just like the first track, it simply fades away as the next track, Constipated Duck, is introduced. This one features the greater presence of the keyboards and drumming, and it's a bit more reminiscent of the instrumentals Jeff Beck managed to include in his previous albums with the Jeff Beck Group. Max Middleton's job is especially noteworthy on this, once again, very groovy track (you can see the influence of Stevie Wonder from afar). AIR Blower follows (the name is, apparently, a reference to the George Martin studio where the album was recorded). We hear again the fuzzy sound from the first track, but this time the music is faster (sublime work from the keyboards, bass and drums - hard to believe they're only three members). Jeff Beck rocks out freely with is guitar, getting a chance to display some fine licks. This is the only track penned by all four members of the band, which probably explains why it showcases perfectly both each one's individual qualities, as well as some tight collective playing. The fast paced is abandoned halfway after a Middleton solo in favour of a slower rhythm, where Beck really takes the spotlight. Suddenly we are introduced to a short drum solo that links this song with the next - Scatterbrain. This is probably my favourite track from the album. The rhythm is again fast paced, with the entire band playing lightning speed, accompanied by George Martin's excellent orchestral arrangements. This song is a real musical tornado - you can't help being sucked by its awesome energy. It's like a Hitchcock soundtrack on speed. And what a finale! One could not ask for a better closer to Side One than a track that makes you want to hear more and more.

Cause We've Ended As Lovers opens Side Two, this time a Stevie Wonder original - if you remember well, I hated the Stevie Wonder cover on the Jeff Beck Group album. But this is different: as an instrumental track, without vocals to mess it up, the spotlight is on Jeff Beck's guitar work, which he delivers simply perfectly - for this song is pretty much a six-minute guitar solo, and there is not a dull moment in it. The "lovers" to which the title refers to have got to be Beck and his guitar. Again without space for a break, the song segues into the next track, Thelonius, another Stevie Wonder piece, less emotional and once again more funky than the previous. And also unlike the previous, it doesn't offer much interest. Max Middleton's Freeway Jam is a different deal, however - once more, a pretty much fast moving track featuring some great interplay between the Fender Rhodes and Jeff's guitar, with a special mention to the great drum work. Diamond Dust is another outside contribution, this time from Motown songwriter Brian Holland. The music is quite sweet and delicate, in the vein of Side Two's opener, but this time with the added flavour provided by the beautiful orchestral arrangements by Sir George Martin, which prove to be an excellent company for Beck's electric guitar and Middleton's piano. They are especially strong on this track, rivalling anything he'd done for The Beatles. Throughout its more than eight minutes, we get a chance to hear great solo work from Beck, Middleton and Bailey. It is a shame that such a beautiful track ends so abruptly, leaving this poor listener waiting for something a bit more climatic and rewarding. Oh well.

Apart from the cover She's A Woman, which features vocals delivered through a talk box, the entire album is instrumental, always a hard road for a rock musician to follow - the music alone must always offer enough points of interest, otherwise one might divert his attention to other tasks. Blow by Blow avoids that trap with grace, as if Beck had been doing this for ages. Most of the songs on this album do indeed keep you interested, either by their contagious groove, their sheer power or their enticing beauty. Thelonius is probably the least interesting track, but its only one of nine tracks. The album really displays Jeff's creativity - apart from She's A Woman (on which he certainly put his finger), he is responsible for penning (alone, with Max Middleton or with the entire band) all tracks on the first side. On the other hand, he also appears to feel extremely comfortable playing songs not written by him, as showcased by Side Two, where all the songs are penned by others - this would prove to be a trend in his next album, with mixed results. Because of this versatility, availability, creativity and delivery, Blow by Blow is rightfully considered a true monument is popular instrumental music. It is a successful endeavour by a hard rock artist into the unfamiliar territory of funk and jazz, an experimental journey showcasing so many diverse styles of playing that would alone grant Jeff a place in the pantheon of Guitar Gods.

Review by Negoba
3 stars Essential Guitar Nerd Music

Jeff Beck's Blow by Blow is an album that carries with it a lot mixed feeling for me. For one, it marks a big choice in my life, the one where I chose not to do music for my career. The singer of my band and I were planning to head to California to pursue serious music, and I backed out. He never forgave me for it and as a token of his appreciation took my copy of Blow by Blow with him to LA. He's a successful recording engineer now, I'm a hobbyist. Oh well.

This album is probably Beck's best work, which is a mixed compliment. Freeway Jam and Scatterbrain are among the highlight tracks of his career. There are many lessons to be learned by any guitarist on how to pull emotion out of the instrument (though David Gilmour and Andy Latimer are better in this regard. In fact, I think Latimer is pretty much everything Beck wishes he was but isn't). Beck's chops are strong, though his tone is big and annoyingly fuzzy much of the time. The music is mired in 70's cliché's from soft jazz to typical funk, and the soloing never really brings the music beyond the time period.

Of course 1975 was a time when jazz-rock jamming was probably at its peak, and this is one of the most rocking. It's a little directionless, but it's a fun ride. Drumming during this time period has a unique sound, complex but loose, some of the best of the entire rock era. This style is on full display on this album, courtesy of Richard Bailey. Similarly, Phil Chenn's bass is big toned and funky, Max Middleton's keys dextrous but tasty.

There are great jams here, but just not a lot of sense of tension and release. The main theme of Scatterbrain is absolutely essential listening for any rock guitarist. Historically, this influenced many many guitarists, including many of my heroes when I was learning the instrument. I was supposed to love this, and after dozens of listens, it just never moved me the way contemporary Tommy Bolin did. Blow by Blow is without a doubt part of the canon of a guitar nerd's library. But for me it never gets beyond the love of the instrument to true communication, never out of the head and into the soul. Good but non-essential.

Review by The Sleepwalker
4 stars Blow By Blow is a very jazzy album by Jeff Beck, the album is fully instrumental, with Jeff Beck being a great guitarist, it is far from dull. The album is full of jazzy guitar solo's, nice licks, smooth riffs and also, lots of synths. Jazz has always been a music style with musicians who play their instruments with feeling. Jeff Beck is one of those musicians, just as my all-time favorite guitarist, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck isn't a guitarist who shreds all the time or bases his guitar playing around exciting techniques, no, feeling is first.

The album kicks of with the smooth "you know what I mean", a great opener, Jeff plays some great solo's and the song has a smooth, lovely rythm, also the song is full of synths that give the song just that final thing it needs to be as good as it is.

The second song is probably my least favorite from the album, it's "She's A Woman", a cover of the song by The Beatles. The song is full of Talk Box and guitar, the rythm however doesn't attract me, I don't think this is a very good song, but it's just a matter of taste.

"Constipated Duck" is next, an up-tempo jazzy song with a very catchy main riff and lots of smooth licks and slapped bass. Though this song isn't as good as good as most songs on the album, it's a very decent one.

The next song "Air Blower", is one of my favorites. It has a kind of cheesy synth riff, but it's nice, also the song is full of great guitar solo's. The rythm section in this song is great, a catchy bassline, and the smooth drums which really go crazy at several moments, together with the Wah-Wah rythm guitar this gives the song a very complete sound. Near the end the rythm will slow down and the song will become very dreamy, it segues into "Scatterbrain", which can be seen as the second part of "Air Blower", it is a very different song however. The song has a powerful fast riff and some fantastic solo's, in which Jeffs guitar sounds amazing, the sound has a very low tone, but sounds incredible. The song is apart from the solos not very varieted, but that doesn't really matter, it's a great song.

"Cause We've Ended As Lovers", a cover of a Stevie Wonder song is much softer than most on the album, it is very dreamy with slow drums and lots of bends by Jeff Beck. The second half of the song however is much more powerful, Jeff plays the guitar faster and more aggresive and the sound is more filled up. After the climax the song slows down again. Probably the best so far.

Next is "Thelonius", which I just as "She's A Woman" haven't really enjoyed, the bassline is too cheesy for me and the guitar just doesn't do it this time. One of the flaws of this album, definitely one I mostly skip.

"Freeway Jam" however is much better, it's an upbeat song with lots of fantastic guitar playing, the song has a very catchy harmonized riff, once again great bass playing can be heard and lots of Fender Rhodes. One of the best songs on the album, very smooth but still very agressive and pretty bombastic.

The final track is the eight minutes long "Diamond Dust", also one of the absolute highlights of the album, it's very different from what you've heard before. The song starts out with haunting strings and soft guitar and piano playing. After about three minutes Jeff starts the soloing, still the guitar is not very loud, just smooth, it fits in the song very well. The song slowly gets more jazzy, the strings disappear and a Fender Rhodes takes a big role in soloing, now and then some strings make their return, just to give it the haunting, epic feel. The only negative thing I can say about this song is that the ending is pretty sudden, just when the strings return for a dramatic return the song ends pretty quickly, nevertheless it's one of the best song of the album, definitely the most dramatic one.

Blow By Blow is a fantastic album, it is not a true prog album, but just as the genre it is placed in says, it is prog related. If you like progressive rock and jazz, and you are intrigued by guitar playing with feeling above technique, you might want to take a look at this excellent album.

Review by The Quiet One
4 stars Funky Blow

Jeff Beck's most famous work, Blow by Blow, released in 1975, shows a mature Jeff Beck leaving his blues roots behind and focusing in his outstanding guitar show-offs not heard often by many. However as his guitar style matured, his writing skills seemed to just end up in funky jams in which there's pretty much zero variation, they stay as they are with an average funky rhythm generally backing-up Jeff's show-off; even though the band is capable of more (clearly shown in the longer tunes), Jeff just seemed to care for himself this time, not a totally bad thing mind you since this is a solo work after all.

Blow by Blow is a case where the guitar solos standout and take the lead in all of the compositions, and while the compositions are rather simple you care less since Jeff's guitar distracts you from that. However, stating that, I have no right to say that this album is on the heights from all those classic jazz jock albums as Where Have I Known You Before, Inner Mounting Flame, Hot Rats, etc, fom the composition side of things.

Blow by Blow stands as an excellent bag of stunning guitar solos full-filled with catchy funky/jazz rhythms, with solid bass, plenty of clavinet and electric piano, but nothing way too exciting or adventurous for the avid jazz rock/fusion fan. The highlights are, without hesitating, 'Scatterbrain', 'Cause We've Ended as Lovers' and 'Diamond Dust', the only three instrumentals on the album that don't have the simplistic funk style, quite on the contrary, they have really good arrangements, including George Martin's orchestral contribution.

Don't get me wrong, I love Jeff's guitar on this album and on his following, Wired, but due to his writing skills, this album doesn't deserve to be a classic Jazz Rock/Fusion album, however it does deserve to be a classic of guitar solos, and it's undoubtedly a solid funk-jazz album, and for that it gets the 4 stars. (mind you that if you want top-notch Jazz Rock/Fusion don't start with this one)

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After having Truth in my collection for quite some time I didn't really have any plans on exploring the rest of Jeff Beck's discography. Those plans had to be readjusted for this particular occasion after seeing this album in one of my friends' CD-collections. Considering that this particular friend didn't have much of a collection since it literally consisted of 30-40 carefully picked albums. The inclusion of Blow By Blow did in fact peak my interest and after hearing some of its highlights I just had to hear the rest!

After listening through the album in its entirety for the first time it was safe to say that this release didn't have much in common with Beck's early material! Gone were most of the blues-passages and if anything I'd say this music sounded more like pure fusion and nicely crafted such as well. To tell you the truth I've never been a fan of guitar driven fusion so I usually try to stay away from solo albums from the likes of Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin. With that in mind some of the more wailing guitar sections were too much for my ears, still I did manage to appreciate the overall atmosphere and there were even a few highlights scattered here and there.

The most notable highlights here are the two Jeff Beck/Max Middleton penned compositions You Know What I Mean and Scatterbrain. I like the former for its playfulness and the latter for going beyond fusion territory and actually reminding me of a light version of RIO/Avant-Prog!

Not being a fan of the guitar driven fusion has taken its toll on my final rating and I definitely envy everyone who is into this type of music because they're going to have a real blast with this material. For me, this album is somewhere between the excellent and good ratings and I'll have to go for the latter which may be unfair but that's just how I roll!

***** star songs: Scatterbrain (5:39)

**** star songs: You Know What I Mean (4:07) Constipated Duck (2:48) Air Blower (5:10) Cause We've Ended As Lovers (5:42) Diamond Dust (8:26)

*** star songs: She's A Woman (4:31) Thelonius (3:17) Freeway Jam (4:58)

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars An album that I played till I had to replace it due to wear back when it came out, I had been a long-time and avid Jeff Beck fan (as I remain) before this release, I remember being quite surprised at the smooth, polished feel of this album, these songs--especially after more in-your-face rock albums like Truth, Beck-ola, Rough and Ready, Group (which we all called "orange"), and 73's Beck, Bogert and Appice, but then I also knew and loved his gorgeous work with Stevie Wonder on "Talking Book." He was by far and away my favorite guitarist at that time. This album made me appreciate Jeff's talent for control, restraint, and melody even more than his previous work. Plus it was an album that could be played as background music with a girl--which was essential at that point in my life. The song "Cause We've Ended as Lovers" remains one of the pinnacles of rock guitar musicianship--on a par with the legendary Roy Buchanan (a later discovery)--and one of the most beautiful instrumental rock songs ever created. "Freeway Jam" has always been one of my go-to pump you up songs. What a melodic hook and what guitar pyrotechnics! And "Diamond Dust" with its amazing orchestration has the emotional impact that I've rarely felt equalled besides Side One of Eberhard Weber's 1976 release, "The Following Morning." Pure gorgeousness. The contributions of producer George Martin (though many of which were denied due to record label contract disputes) are critical to the success of this album as are the uncredited contributions of funk by Stevie Wonder on clavinet, but it's Max Middleton's keys and the AMAZING drumming of 17-year old Richard Bailey that are the most essential. While I have never considered this album a masterpiece (there are too many songs that I routinely skip--as I did even back then), it is a shining testament to an amazing artist--a guitarist with unsurpassed innovative creativity. As I listen to the album in its entirety today--for the first time since the 1970s--I am shocked at how very like the work of the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and Eumir DEODATO this sounds. In 1974 this was, I realize, of its time but it also feels quite ahead of its time in terms of the way if successfully fuses so many of the styles and sounds that were popular at the time. I'm also quite astonished at how little credit I've (or anyone has) given to bassist Phil Chen. He's amazing! Especially on Side One (which is the side I usually skipped).

Five star songs: "Freeway Jam" (4:58) (10/10); "Cause We've Ended as Lovers" (5:42) (10/10); "Diamond Dust" (8:26) (10/10); "Constipated Duck" (2:48) (9/10); "Air Blower" (5:18) (9/10), and; "Scatterbrain" (5:40) (9/10).

Four star songs: "You Know What I Mean?" (4:05); "She's a Woman" (4:31), and; "Thelonius" (3:16). A timeless masterpiece of jazz fusion putting on display many of the styles popular at that time from one of, if not THE, best, most talented and gifted guitarists of all-time.

Review by Neu!mann
5 stars I didn't realize how familiar I was with this album until I heard it for the first time, recently. Maybe the music of Jeff Beck was more ubiquitous in the 1970s than I remember, or else my cultural radar was better tuned as a kid than I give myself credit for. Either way, it's hard not to award five stars to an album that sidestepped so easily into my brain stem.

The polite but impeccable Funk Rock grooves here may not sound all that special to younger listeners, but for those of us able to clearly recall the middle 1970s the album stands tall as a quintessential artifact of its era. "Freeway Jam" is of course one of the classic fusion funkathons of all time, ranking right up there alongside Joe Zawinul's "Birdland" and "Ju-Ju-Man" by Klaus Doldinger (both released more or less around the same time). And yet the Beck tune feels oddly unfinished, like a demo tape made to capture the live-in-the-studio energy of an ace quartet. The fade-out is unforgivable, but just try to listen to the song on an actual freeway without pushing the pedal to the metal.

Elsewhere it's melodies like the album opener "You Know What I Mean" and the Space Funk jam of "Constipated Duck" (gotta love such a perfectly descriptive title) that make listening to "Blow By Blow" something more than an air-guitarist's nostalgic wet dream. Check out, for example, the trademark crunch of Max Middleton's clavinet: an instrument every bit as emblematic of the '70s as its upscale cousin, the Mellotron.

The back-up band is superlative, perhaps lacking the instrumental fire and virtuosity of later collaborators like Jan Hammer and Narada Michael Walden (see the album "Wired", released one year later), but together providing a mellow, relaxed vibe perfectly suited to the music. Of course the core of the album belongs to Beck himself, as always a magician with his instrument, and without ever indulging in the empty pyrotechnics of other guitar heroes.

I was surprised to discover this was actually his first truly solo effort, but he was by then a veteran of several other bands, with more than a half-dozen albums already to his credit. All that experience paid off handsomely when "Blow By Blow" was recorded: the album emerged fully formed and whole, first in 1975 and much later, with a reassuring sense of déjà vu, in my own belated consciousness.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Anchored in the heart of jazz-rock, Jeff Beck's first Group-less solo album finds our hero veering between dirty funk, mellow blues, and even some soul (helped out in this regard by none other than Stevie Wonder, returning the favour after Beck's contribution to tracks such as Superstition). Although Jeff's technical skills are what are really showcased on this album, he also shows remarkable discipline, never indulging in empty technical showboating to the detriment of the intended emotional impact of a composition. He also clearly doesn't take himself too seriously - as witnessed by track titles like Constipated Duck - and allows his backing group a fair share of the spotlight to boot. (Max Middleton, in particular, does some really neat work on the keyboards). A solid set of technical exercises, the album's real failing in my eyes is that it seems to have no artistic statement to make beyond "Hey, this Beck guy can really cook on the guitar".
Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album was my introduction into the world of jazz fusion and what a way to unravel a genre! "Blow By Blow" is the first solo effort by Jeff Beck and quite possibly his finest work. Together with a superstar team of talented musicians and production and arrangement talent by GEORGE MARTIN, "Blow By Blow" is 45 minutes of virtuosic jazz fusion bliss. The album's mood fluctuates over the course of listening, with funk and blues rockers like "You Know What I Mean" and "Freeway Jam" counteracting soulful and mystical ballads like "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" and "Diamond Dust". However, Beck and the crew are always sure to expand both intelligently and sensitively on musical ideas, blending and balancing technical marvel and emotion into a seamless musical experience, letting the varied styles of the album work to complement each other.

As far as a "track-by-track", there isn't a single track on the album that I'd consider weak, only "well-done" as opposed to "masterfully executed". "She's A Woman", a Lennon-McCartney co-pen, is one of the most inventive Beatles covers I've ever heard and Stevie Wonder's collaborations to the album are great showcases of the songwriting and playing talents of all those involved. The true masterpiece of the album (after great difficulty making the decision) in my opinion would go to the side 1 closer, "Scatterbrain". After a segue from "Air Blower", this track doesn't hesitate to get going right out of the gate and doesn't back down until the side ends. Richard Bailey's drum work is top-notch, the breakneck 9/8 performance is tight from the entire group and George Martin's arrangements do the song great justice. Don't be alarmed, however; the song isn't just a muddled sea of overblown virtuosity, it contains many great musical moments and is a fascinating, profound listen while not a challenging, inaccessible one.

"Blow By Blow" is a special delight for all of those who love jazz fusion, virtuoso guitar performances in general or just anyone looking for a soothing yet interesting album to listen to. A must-have!

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars After almost a decade after leaving the Yardbirds, several lineup changes as The Jeff Beck Group and a noble effort as part of the super trio Beck, Bogert & Appice, JEFF BECK finally struck gold with his fifth release BLOW BY BLOW which slowly oozed out of him over the years preceding. After the dissolution of the BBA project BECK was left without a sense of direction having even auditioned with The Rolling Stones before finally realizing his destiny was to go solo without a band attached to his name. Eschewing the bluesy rock sounds of his past, BECK took the jazz-rock aspects that had been gestating and entered the full blown jazz-fusion scene.

Having honed his chops with BBA, BLOW BY BLOW found BECK at the top of his game with jazz funk grooves as the basis for his tasty soling style and rhythmic virtuosity. The album found great success right out of the gate by hitting #4 on the Billboard album chart and going platinum. BLOW BY BLOW remains BECK's all time best seller as well as most respected and revered moment in the sun. Eschewing a vocalist altogether, BECK asked Max Middleton from his earlier days to return as keyboardist with Jamaican born bassist Phil Chen and drummer Richard Bailey along for the ride. Two tracks were donated by Stevie Wonder who sits in on "Thelonius" with his clavinet albeit uncredited.

The album is a powerhouse of jazzy funk rock fusion with nine strong tracks made all the better by George Martin's flawless production skills and orchestral arrangements. Unlike previous efforts JEFF BECK executes flawless performances with each track carrying its weight replete with chunky bass grooves, Jan Hammer meets Herbie Hancock styled keyboard workouts and perfectly executed percussive backing. BECK himself delivers some of the tastiest guitar chops in all of the 70s jazz-fusion world ranging from behind the scenes rhythmic backup to fully fueled in the spotlight soloing. While not as lightning fast as John McLaughlin or John Abercrombie, BECK rather focused on a diverse palette of tones, timbres and mood setting licks that defined him as a true original.

While the inclusion of cover tunes was primarily a hindrance on previous efforts, on BLOW BY BLOW the inclusion of an instrumental version of The Beatles' "She's A Woman" proved that BECK could indeed master the art of reinterpreting another artist's material with great success. In addition to the BECK originals on this one is the track "Diamond Dust" written by Bernie Holland of Hummingbird, a Max Middleton original with "Freeway Jam" as well as two tracks written by Stevie Wonder. In retrospect it made sense for BECK to steer himself into the world of jazzy funk rock after having played on Stevie Wonder's "Talking Book" and the inclusion of so many Wonder songs as covers. On this one all of his influences, inspirations and talents came to fruition without missing a beat.

What makes BLOW BY BLOW such a beautiful masterpiece of music is how everything comes together. Addictive funkified bass grooves and jazzed out keyboard antics are topped off with the perfect triumvirate icing on the cake via BECK's inventive guitar riffs and daring solos that add all the right tones and sound effects to craft the perfect bridge between full blown jazz fusion and danceable funk rock. Although officially an instrumental album, BLOW BY BLOW is punctuated by moments of vocoder use which adds an interesting underlying element to the mix. Also prominent is the perfect use of percussion which drifts to and fro between the jazz and rock paradigms.

Despite all the perfection of the musicianship, interplay, production and mixing, it's really the strong material that carries through with a diverse roster of addictive tunes that scream out more fun than a barrel of monkeys. While BECK's guitar antics are the star, this is truly a band effort with each instrument proving to be an essential ingredient for the compositional fortitude. Having found his true calling at last, JEFF BECK would crank out a couple more jazz-fusion albums before falling off the bandwagon again in the 1980s but no matter how you slice it, BLOW BY BLOW was without a doubt his finest moment when everything came together in prodigious perfection.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The high water mark for guitar master Jeff Beck. This album finds Jeff in jazz fusion territory with an impressive array of expert help in musicians Max Middleton on keys and Richard Bailey on drums and producer George Martin. Stevie Wonder also makes an uncredited appearance. Beck can make ... (read more)

Report this review (#2121013) | Posted by tdfloyd | Friday, January 25, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the only masterpiece from Jeff Beck that qualifies for 5 stars also at the Progarchives. The songs are well composed, there is enough instrumental prowess and intensity, the album does not necessarily drags on for too long. Thankfully, all the songs are without vocals. The music is domin ... (read more)

Report this review (#1939901) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's interesting how those things work: I have known (and had) the Blow By Blow record for a long time, and I always liked it, but haven't listened to it in a while. And now I understand why: there is a huge scratch on Side B, which prevented me from playing it, so it has been a kind of "half-album" ... (read more)

Report this review (#924677) | Posted by Argonaught | Tuesday, March 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Jeff Beck can play some good fusion type guitar, and this record is an appropriate example of it. "Blow by Blow" has some killer sounds on it. "You Know what I mean" is a great way to start the set off. It is funky and has some hints of fusion in it. Jeff gets right to the business of jamming ... (read more)

Report this review (#278733) | Posted by Keetian | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Funky, explosive, soaring, unadulterated, and at times delicate: Blow by Blow is a record where the well established Jeff Beck ventures out of the rock and roll universe and lands himself alive in the middle of the fusion colony. By 1975, fusion had lost some of its initial spontaneity and dri ... (read more)

Report this review (#236358) | Posted by mr.cub | Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The addition of Jeff Beck's discography to PA is long overdue! I'll begin the first of many Beck reviews to come with 'Blow By Blow'. This is one of the absolute pinnacle recordings of jazz/fusion from the 70s. In many ways it helped redefine the genre. Beck assembled a band worthy of his ... (read more)

Report this review (#118690) | Posted by Disconnect | Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Excellent album indeed! Used to listen this a lot few years ago. This album is classic Beck from beginning to end: Great fusion, amazing rock and master solos. Maybe Beck's most recognisable album, but for reason. Pros: Almost every song has a hook which takes you with the music. Usually the ... (read more)

Report this review (#118626) | Posted by Ounamahl | Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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