Jeff Beck’s position in the pantheon of great electric guitarists is indisputable. As visionary a musician as Jimi Hendrix, Beck made his name as the second of three hall of fame stringbenders for the legendary Yardbirds (following in the “Slowhand” shoes of Eric Clapton and preceding the pre-Zep/session gigging Jimmy Page). Known for his blistering leads and the wild chances he took as one of the first axemen to widely employ feedback during a solo, Beck immediately launched his solo career upon leaving the Yardbirds in 1967. Together with vocalist Rod Stewart and multi-instrumentalist Ron Wood on bass, he cut a pair of albums that expanded on the greatness of his previous work.
A year after Truth, Beck & company returned with the even thicker sound of Beck-Ola, an album often sited as one of heavy metal’s firestarters. Along with Stewart, Wood and pile-driving new drummer Tony Newman, the album features the inspired addition of storied session man Nicky Hopkins on keyboards. Hopkins added welcome texture to the album’s seven tracks, most notably on the Hopkins-composed “Girl From Mill Valley.” Elsewhere, group tears through two Elvis Presley covers and four band compositions with an intensity that practically leaps from the stylus to the speakers.
Could a band this heavy, this hard-hitting last? Unfortunately no, it could not. Following the completion of the album, the group splintered on the eve of the Woodstock festival with Stewart and Wood leaving to join the Faces. Of course, Beck went on to future triumphs in a variety of genres and styles and Stewart and Wood found wider fame and fortune as well. How fortunate, then, that we have this time capsule from June, 1969, to document their seminal collaboration. Relive those electrifying moments on this superb Sundazed Music reissue, sourced directly from the original Epic analog session tapes and purposely pressed on high-definition vinyl. It’s guaranteed to leave you “All Shook Up!”
1. All Shook Up 2. Spanish Boots 3. Girl From Mill Valley 4. Jailhouse Rock 5. Plynth (Water Down the Drain) 6. The Hangman’s Knee 7. Rice Pudding