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Jeff Beck - Jeff Beck Group: ‎Rough And Ready CD (album) cover


Jeff Beck


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.30 | 53 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Traditionally Beck's second group is overlooked and even often a bit derided by fans (casual or confirmed), which I find tremendously unjust, because this group actually rocked quite hard. I guess some people tend to over-rate the Stewart/wood line-up and most progheads will directly look up to the future JR/F albums such as Blow, Wired etc... But get a load of this line-up for a second: Cozy Powell as a drummer, Max Middelton a jazzy keyboardist and a solid funky Clive Chaman on bass, leaving the uneven Bob Tench on vocals. Indeed this might be where the problem lied in this group, Jeff Beck being unable to find a better singer, even if Tench is far from catastrophic, but I wouldn't call anything more than apt. Very boring and sinister artwork, BTW: couldn't the Epic label find something better?

Musically speaking we have a fairly typical 70's rock, a cross between hard rock, funk/blues/jazz and commercial rock that has many pleasant moments, but once the needle lifts away from the wax, no real urge to replay it soon, but you know that next time you will, it will be another pleasant but unfocused ride. Indeed, between the funk rock of Got The Feeling (Middleton's jazz piano solo rocks my socks off), and the funky-jazzy Situation (the most attractive track commercially on the album) with Middelton's superb Fender Rhodes excursion the rough New Ways/Train Train (good Beck solo) and the closing Jody on the one side and the lesser tracks like Short Business (still too long) and Been Used (I'd say wearied and worn) on the other, the album glides effortlessly but a bit passionless as well.

But I shall not forget the album's highlight, the superb Max's Tune (8.5 mins long too), where the whole group shows the incredible delicateness of Brian Auger's Oblivion Express' better moments (let's call it the Chaman factor) and some definite hint as to where Beck would head in the second part of the decade. Middleton is the hero of the album, but Powell's powerful but jazz inclined drumming is amusing (who would've thought this jazz touch from the hardest hitting drummer around) and Beck being his usual himself >> couldn't possibly be a bad album, either.

Not exactly worth the detour/acquisition, but it is much worth lending an ear to it. But again, the songwriting and the singing are what keeps this album from being better known.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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