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Jeff Beck's Flash Guitar Boogie

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					British guitarist Jeff Beck learned to play by listening to the recordings of blues artists
Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy, rock and roller Chuck Berry, jazz musician and
inventor of the electric guitar Les Paul, and rockabilly players James Burton and Cliff
Gallup, lead guitarist of Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps. This eclectic education
enabled Beck to explore a myriad of musical genres and inspire the imaginations of
listeners for years to come.

Beck burst onto the rock landscape as the lead guitar player of the Yardbirds,
replacing Eric Clapton. Confronted with the challenge of following in the footsteps of
"Slowhand", Beck's unique style began to develop. His fuzz box drenched leads on
"Over, Under, Sideways, Down", "Shapes of Things", and Heart Full of Soul" (in
which he emulated the sound of a sitar), took the Yardbirds into a space age sonic
territory that few other pop bands inhabited. Beck also took Chuck Berry's
instrumental "Guitar Boogie", added his trademark flash guitar riffs, and created
"Jeff's Boogie".

After his stint with the Yardbirds, Beck went on to form the first Jeff Beck Group,
with Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood on bass. Their first album was the
masterpiece "Truth", which opens with a hard rock reworking of the Yardbirds' pop
single, "Shapes of Things". "Rock My Plimsoul" was based on the blues standard
"Rock Me Baby", and Howlin' Wolf's "Ain't Superstitious" included a workout with
the Wah Wah pedal. Beck showed his versatility on the acoustic "Greensleeves", and
the Tin Pan Alley classic, "Ol' Man River". On a remake of classical composer
Maurice Ravel's "Bolero", titled "Beck's Bolero", Beck jammed with guitarist Jimmy
Page, bassist John Paul Jones, piano player Nicky Hopkins, and drummer Keith
Moon.

The follow up to "Truth" was "Beck-Ola", which included covers of Elvis Presley's
"All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock", as well as rockers "Plynth (Water Down the
Drain)" and "Rice Pudding". While it didn't have the variety of musical styles found
on "Truth", "Beck-Ola" stands on its own merits as a Beck classic. Unfortunately,
after only two albums, the first Jeff Beck Group disbanded as Stewart and Wood went
on to join The Faces.

Jeff then formed the second Jeff Beck Group, with singer Bobby Tench and
keyboardist Max Middleton. Their first release, "Rough and Ready", stirred R & B
and jazz influences into Beck's blues/rock gumbo, with tunes like "Got the Feeling",
"Situation", New Ways/Train Train, and "Jody".

"Rough and Ready" was almost entirely written by Beck, while their next album, "Jeff
Beck Group", produced by Booker T and the MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, was
populated with covers like Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You" and
Ashford and Simpson's "I Can't Give Back the Love I Feel for You". "Definitely
Maybe" was colored with multi-tracked Wah Wah and slide guitar overdubs. The
album's centerpiece was a remake of the Don Nix song "Goin Down", on which Beck
used the Stratocaster's whammy bar to create incendiary solos.

Beck's next band, Beck, Bogert, and Appice, emphasized the heavy metal side of
Jeff's playing. This group also released only two albums, "Beck, Bogert, and Appice"
and "Live in Japan". While not reaching the artistic heights of Beck's other projects,
they did manage one signature song, a blazing version of Stevie Wonder's
"Superstition".

Next, Jeff began his foray into jazz fusion, again aided by keyboardist Max Middleton.
The result was "Blow by Blow", which was produced by "the fifth Beatle", George
Martin, and reached gold record status. The album contains the classic "Freeway Jam",
and another Stevie Wonder tune, "Cause We've Ended as Lovers", a ballad that
features "pinch harmonics", a technique perfected by guitarist Roy Buchanan, to
whom Beck dedicated the song. On the Beatles' "She's a Woman", Beck's voice and
guitar were mixed together with a talk box, a pedal which creates the effect of the
player "speaking" through the guitar.

Beck's next release, "Wired", began a collaboration with keyboardist Jan Hammer.
The disc's best moments were "Led Boots", "Come Dancing", "Blue Wind", and jazz
bassist Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat". "Jeff Beck and the Jan Hammer
Group Live" showcases Beck and Hammer trading solos on the definitive version of
"Freeway Jam".

Keyboardist Tony Hymas joined Beck on "There and Back", whose standout tracks
include "Star Cycle", "The Pump", "You Never Know", and "Space Boogie". Beck
then embarked upon the "ARMS Concert Tour" with Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Bill
Wyman, Charlie Watts, and Steve Winwood. Proceeds went to Action into Research
for Multiple Sclerosis, a London based charity championed by Small Faces bassist
Ronnie Lane, who suffered from M.S.

Further highlights of Beck's resume include "Flash", produced by Chic guitarist Nile
Rogers, "Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop", after which Beck toured with blues guitarist Stevie
Ray Vaughan, and "Crazy Legs", Jeff's tribute to his hero Cliff Gallup.

Recently released on CD and DVD, and containing classics that span the stylistic
changes of his celebrated career, "Performing This Week...Live at Ronnie Scott's"
proves that Jeff Beck continues to add to his legacy as one of the world's greatest
guitarists.

				
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posted:1/19/2011
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