Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Virtuoso Rock guitar from Jeff Beck back in the day

This disc is a How To clinic for aspiring guitar players.

This disc is a How To clinic for aspiring guitar players.

Jeff Beck has had a tremendous career. A Hall of Fame career, in fact, as he was just inducted a month ago. You’re familiar with his work with The Yardbirds (they had most of their hits during his relatively brief tenure) and with the Jeff Beck Group (fronted for a time by Rod Stewart). He has played with EVERYBODY. I think my daughter recorded a song with him for a tribute album in 2003. In a career like that, though, some recordings tend to get lost. I want to dust one off today: the 1989 masterwork, Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop.

Mr. Beck collaborated with two other witches on this release. The first was jazz, classical, and rock keyboardist Tony Hymas. Hymas studied at the Royal Academy of Music and was pianist and composer for the Ballet Rambert. He has released many discs with symphonies and chamber music by Debussy, Satie, himself, and others and he also has a thriving jazz career, having performed and recorded with a variety of jazz sombodies.

The other collaborator was drumming octopus Terry Bozzio. Bozzio played percussion for Frank Zappa from 1975 until he stopped recording and was a founding member of Missing Persons. The story goes after his audition for Zappa, all the drummers behind him in the line left, and he was accepted. Check out the photo (courtesy of Wikipedia) of his kit.

They would give him more drums, but his arms aren't long enough.

They would give him more drums, but his arms aren't long enough.

Add to this the considerable talent of Jeff Beck and you have an instant classic. And it was; it won a Grammy. The whole disc is great, but here are my faves.

  • Guitar Shop – Sit back and relax as Jeff Beck coaxes every sound a guitar can make out of his instrument. The industrial percussion and deconstructive guitar work earn this song its name. I can almost see pneumatic wrenches and hydraulic pumps if I close my eyes.
  • Savoy – There are only 3 guys playing this song? Are you kidding me?
  • Behind the Veil – They slow it down a bit for this Reggae-influenced melody. Bozzio’s work is perfect for this song, dropping tom- and rim-shots at precisely the right moments.
  • Big Block – Hope you got your breath back, because they kick the doors in on this one. I’ll tell you, it’s a shame Beck doesn’t play with any tone or this wouldn’t sound so flat (does the sarcasm come through in print?).
  • Stand On It – The guitar is dirty, and the drums stomp all over you, but it is Hymas’ keyboards that make this sound so titanically big.
  • Two Rivers –The trio displays their impressive artistic range in this beautiful and dreamy piece.
  • Sling Shot – Terry Bozzio plays like an abductee trying to kick his way out of a car trunk. Honestly, the power, speed, and relentless attack he pours into this song are amazing to hear. My favorite drum fill (not in the sample) occurs 2:20 in when he won’t let the end of the phrase go and shakes it like a dog with a squirrel.

I have a friend who had a bad experience with mushrooms while this album was playing and now he can’t listen to this disc anymore. Sucks to be him. For me, this is a disc I never get tired of hearing end to end.

http://www.jeffbeck.com/
http://www.terrybozzio.com/index.html
http://www.tonyhymas.com/

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May 6, 2009 - Posted by | Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Rock

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