Friday, 10 June 2016
"Truth" by JEFF BECK (2005 EMI 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...
"...Rock My Plimsoul..."
Jeff Beck's debut solo LP was always going to be a barnstormer - and with a band featuring talent like Rod Stewart on the microphone and Ronnie Wood on second guitar - plus contributions from friends like Jimmy Page, Nicky Hopkins, Aynsley Dunbar and Keith Moon - that's what 1968's "Truth" gives you – a staggering start. Never mind that some claim it even kick-started a subtle but definite move away from Blues-Rock to Hard Rock into the bargain. There's a lot to assess...so once unto the riffage...guvnor...
UK released May 2005 - "Truth" by JEFF BECK on EMI 873 7492 (Barcode 724387374928) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with eight Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows (70:37 minutes):
1. Shapes Of Things
2. Let Me Love You
3. Morning Dew
4. You Shook Me
5. Ol' Man River
6. Greensleeves [Side 2]
7. Rock My Plimsoul
8. Beck's Bolero
9. Blues De Luxe
10. I Ain't Suspicious
Tracks 1 to 10 are his debut LP "Truth" - released July 1968 in the UK on Columbia SX 6293 (Mono) and Columbia SCX 6293 (Stereo) and in the USA on Epic BN 26413. Produced by MICKIE MOST - it peaked at No. 15 in the US LP charts ((no UK chart placing).
11. I've Been Drinking (Stereo Mix) - originally the Mono UK B-side to "Love Is Blue" released as a 7" single on Columbia DB 8359 in February 1968
12. You Shook Me (Take 1) - First take without piano that was overdubbed on the Final Version - Take 7
13. Rock My Plimsoul (Stereo Mix) - originally the Mono UK B-side to "Tallyman" released as a 7" single on Columbia DB 8227 in July 1967
14. (Beck's) Bolero (Mono Single Version with Backwards Guitar) - originally the Mono UK B-side of "Hi Ho Silver Lining" released as a 7" single on Columbia DB 8151 in March 1967
15. Blues De Luxe (Take 1) - Previously Unreleased (Take 7 is the Master)
16. Tallyman - originally the Mono UK A-side - released as a 7" single on Columbia DB 8227 in July 1967
17. Love Is Blue - originally the Mono UK A-side - released as a 7" single on Columbia DB 8359 in February 1968
18. Hi Ho Silver Lining (Stereo Mix) - originally the Mono UK A-side - released as a 7" single on Columbia DB 8151 in March 1967
JEFF BECK - Electric Guitars, Steel Guitar on 1, Acoustic Guitar on 6, Bass on 5 and Lead Vocals on 16 and 18
ROD STEWART - Lead Vocals
RON WOOD - Bass
MICKY WALLER - Drums and Percussion
KEITH MOON of THE WHO - Drums on 8 and 14 - Tympani on 5
JIMMY PAGE of LED ZEPPELIN - 12-String Electric Guitar on 8 and 14
JOHN PAUL-JONES of LED ZEPPELIN - Organ on 4, 5 and 12 - Bass on 8, 14 and 18 - String Arrangements on 18
NICKY HOPKINS - Piano on 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 14 and 15
AYNSLEY DUNBAR - Drums on 13 and 16
CLEM CATTINI - Drums on 18
MADELINE BELL - Backing Vocals on 11
JOHN CARTER & KEN LEWIS - Backing Vocals on 16
The 16-page booklet is a very tasty affair - new liner notes from noted writer and music historian CHARLES SHAAR MURRAY with contributions from the Guitar Maestro himself - black and white photos of the band (Rodders in full microphone manhandling pose) - guests like Nicky Hopkins - and a wonderful Modtastic photo of the pre "Truth" band with Aynsley Dunbar on Drums instead of Mick Waller (he features on Page 8). CSM keeps it light and witty whilst pouring on the factoids - guitar beginnings with The Yardbirds - the 'Jeff-Rod' writer's credits Beck and Stewart used on the album sleeve - both Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and The Who's Keith Moon contributing so much to that old Paul Robeson chestnut "Ol' Man River" (Organ and Tympani) - an unlikely and very unhip choice for a cover version - and yet one that 'so' works. Long-standing EMI/Abbey Road Audio Engineer PETER MEW carried out the fantastic Remaster - all that latent power now suddenly to the fore - threatening almost all of the time to get snotty, rowdy and salacious with your amp and speakers. Great stuff...
It opens with an oldie done in a new way - a cover of The Yardbirds 1966 hit "Shapes Of Things" - Beck's witty liner notes advising that you crank the track - even if you have the vicar over for afternoon tea. Immediately your struck by the updated heavier guitar sound and Rod's ridiculously good voice – wow – what a combo this band made. The original song "Let Me Love You" starts the first of four 'Jeffrey Rod' writer credits - two more originals in the shape of "Rock My Plimsoul" and "Blues De Luxe" with the last being an 'Arrangement' credit on the old madrigal "Greensleeves". His playing on "Let Me Love You" is fantastic - Stewart singing along with Beck's playing and vice versa. They then take a stab at Tim Rose's "Morning Dew" - a track on his explosive "Tim Rose" debut album on Columbia Records. You can hear why Rod wanted the song - it has that 'soulful' rock thing at its core. The remaster brings up that great wah-wah playing and Ron Wood's sweet bass playing. While you can just about catch Nicky Hopkins Piano tinkles if you listen real close - we still don't seem to know who the 'mysterious Scottish bloke' is on the Bagpipes?
Their brilliant cover of Howlin' Wolf's "You Shook Me" (penned by Willie Dixon) keeps in lean, hard-hitting and dirty - 2:31 minutes of great Blues-Rock. The old nugget "Ol' Man River" gets a kick in the privates too - Moonie's huge tympani drums giving it an epic feel while Zeppelin's JPJ gives it tasteful organ fills. I'm still not convinced if I admire the track more than I like it - but Rod's vocals are truly awesome and Beck's speaker-to-speaker guitar slides are worth the admission fee. Side 2 opens with a clever and beautiful Acoustic Guitar interpretation of "Greensleeves" - Beck sounding like he's Gordon Giltrap all mellowed on a pile of mushrooms. One of my raves is "Rock My Plimsoul" - a Rodders/Beck boogie tune said to bare a close resemblance to B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby". Beck's guitar fills are superb - panning your speakers like Page gone Bonzo on his axe (I love those "over here" calls from Rod). It ends on a one-two - the Slow Driving Blues of "Blues De Luxe" and a fabulous guitared-up cover of Willie Dixon's Wolf showcase "I Ain't Superstitious". It ends the album on a high...
Excluding the awful pop of "Hi Ho Silver Lining" (even if it is Stereo here) - the Bonus Tracks offer up a very cool selection - most of which is killer. The Take 1 version of "You Shook Me" contains Organ instead of Piano and wild guitar playing - someone clearly devouring too much Hendrix for breakfast. "Blues De Luxe" has Rodders laying into the vocals with a passion and at 7:31 minutes - Beck gets to stretch out while Hopkins lays down a Mississippi piano background dripping with ache and feel. The rare single sides are good too and make for quality fan-pleasing extras.
Jeff Beck would briefly dent the LP charts with the even heavier "Beck-Ola" in July of 1969 - but my heart has always been with this raucous, rough and ready starter album - "Truth". And what it must have been like to see this line-up 'live' - giving those tunes what for in some sweaty bar...lost in the music they loved...