Saturday, August 31, 2013

last splash

The Breeders spawned an alternative phenomenon with the fuzzy funky fusion of this underground classic.  Formed as a side project by the Pixies' Kim Deal and Throwing Muses' Tanya Donnelly, the group released the powerful 'Pod' to critical acclaim.  They recorded the transitional 'Safari' EP with Donnelly and Kim's twin sister Kelley before Donnelly would leave to form Belly.  By this point, the Pixies disbanded and Kim was able to pursue the Breeders as a full time gig.  

'Last Splash' was produced by Kim Deal and Mark Freegard at Coast Recorders & Brilliant Studios in San Francisco, California; and at Refraze in Dayton, Ohio.  The sessions featured Kim Deal on lead vocals, guitar, moog, and casiotone; Kelley Deal on guitar, kenmore 12-stitch, vocals, and lead vocals on "I Just Wanna Get Along"; Jim MacPherson on drums; and Josephine Wiggs on bass guitar, double bass, vocals, cello, and drums on "Roi"; with Carrie Bradley adding violin and vocals.  

Kelley admits:   “Everyone was so patient with me. Kim could have done my parts in a heartbeat. Anyone could have, really. I had people taping my strings for me; they knew my experience level. But my playing comes across as so naïve; there’s a vulnerability. There are so many things I’d do differently if I knew then what I know now, but it’s so unaffected, and I think people can hear that...There’s a lot of playfulness to 'Last Splash'."

'Last Splash' charted at sixty-eight in Germany, forty-four in Canada, forty-three in Sweden, forty-one in the Netherlands, thirty-three in the US, twenty-two in Australia, eleven in New Zealand, and number five in the UK.  The album was certified platinum in less than a year.  Kim considers:    “I think the album has aged fantastically.  If you wanted to look at particular songs, you could cram them into certain genres, but the album as a whole, I don’t hear a genre. So much new music is dated so immediately. Whether or not this album is your tea of cup, it certainly doesn’t sound dated ... We weren’t riot grrl and we weren’t grunge. Hopefully, we were joyful and natural.”

'Cannonball' hit number forty-four on the US pop chart, forty in the UK, thirty-five in the Netherlands, thirty-two on the US mainstream rock tracks chart, eight in France, and number two on the US alternative chart; and was named Single of the Year by the NME.  The video was directed by Kim Gordon and Spike Jonze.

'Divine Hammer' broke through to number one hundred and four on the US pop chart, fifty-nine in the UK, and number twenty-eight on the US alternative chart.  The video was directed by Kim Gordon, Spike Jonze, and Richard Kern.

'Saints' found its way to number one hundred and nine on the US pop chart and number twelve on the US alternative chart.

'Last Splash'
full album:

All tracks written by Kim Deal, except where noted.

1.  00:00  New Year
2.  01:56  Cannonball
3.  05:30  Invisible Man
4.  08:17  No Aloha
5.  10:24  Le Roi
6.  14:35  Do You Love Me Now? (Kim Deal, Kelley Deal)
7.  17:37  Flipside
8.  19:36  I Just Wanna Get Along (Kim Deal, Kelley Deal)
9.  21:20  Mad Lucas
10. 25:56  Divine Hammer
11. 28:37  S.O.S.
12. 30:10  Hag
13. 33:04  Saints
14. 35:36  Drivin' on 9 (Dom Leone, Steve Hickoff)
15. 38:58  Le Roi (Reprise)

Friday, August 30, 2013

sweetheart of the rodeo

The Byrds departed from an ambitious album concept to focus on traditional music during the recording of this seminal country rock masterpiece.  During the recording of their previous album 'The Notorious Byrd Brothers', David Crosby and Michael Clarke had left the band and remaining members  Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman hired sidemen to fill the void.  Hillman asked his cousin Kevin Kelley from the Rising Sons to play drums.  Gram Parsons, who had recorded 'Safe At Home' with the International Submarine Band earlier that year, passed an audition on piano; although he would focus on guitar.  

Parsons would later recall:    "Being with The Byrds confused me a little. I couldn't find my place. I didn't have enough say-so; I really wasn't one of The Byrds. I was originally hired because they wanted a keyboard player. But I had experience being a frontman and that came out immediately. And [Roger McGuinn] being a very perceptive fellow saw that it would help the act, and he started sticking me out front."

The sessions started at Columbia Studios in Nashville, TN and then continued at Columbia Studios in Hollywood, CA with producer Gary Usher.  The album features Roger McGuinn on acoustic guitar, banjo, and vocals; Chris Hillman on electric bass, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and vocals; Gram Parsons on acoustic guitar, piano, organ, and vocals; and Kevin Kelley on drums; with  Lloyd Green, and JayDee Maness on pedal steel guitar; Clarence White on electric guitar; John Hartford on banjo, fiddle, and acoustic guitar; Roy Husky on double bass; and Earl P. Ball and Barry Goldberg on piano.  During the Hollywood sessions, Lee Hazlewood filed a suit against Columbia contending that Parsons was still under contract to his LHI record label.  As this was being resolved, McGuinn rerecorded some of the vocals for songs on which Parsons had sung.  

Gary Usher reveals:   "McGuinn was a little bit edgy that Parsons was getting a little bit too much out of this whole thing...He didn't want the album to turn into a Gram Parsons album. We wanted to keep Gram's voice in there, but we also wanted the recognition to come from Hillman and McGuinn, obviously. You just don't take a hit group and interject a new singer for no reason...There were legal problems but they were resolved and the album had just the exact amount of Gram Parsons that McGuinn, Hillman and I wanted."

McGuinn describes the original concept for the album and how it changed:   "a chronological album starting out with old-time music. Not bluegrass but pre-bluegrass, dulcimers-nasal Appalachian stuff and then get into like the 1930s, advanced version of it, move it up to modern country, the 40s and 50s with steel guitar. [leading up to] electronic music..a kind of space music. It was a nice idea but harder to pull off than think of ... Graham kinda speared it into the country direction. I heard him as a jazz piano player. It took us a while to get a head of steam going with the country theme. I really liked it -- it was fun. I certainly enjoyed it. We went out to Nudie's, the rodeo tailor, and got some cowboy clothes and hats and I got a Cadillac, an El Dorado, and it was like a role  ... The Byrds had experimented with country music as early as our second album 'Turn! Turn! Turn!'with tracks like 'Time Between, 'Satisfied Mind' and 'Girl With No Name', but it wasn't until Chris Hillman met Gram Parsons at a bank in Beverly Hills and brought him over to our rehearsal studio that we decided to go to Nashville and record an entire album of country material. We were in love with the genre and as sincere as we could possibly have been, in recording those songs.  Our rock audience felt betrayed and the country community was weary of 'hippies' infiltrating their territory. I remember seeing the 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' cover on a bulletin board at a country radio station in Los Angeles. I was overjoyed . . . until I got closer and saw written in red DO NOT PLAY - THIS IS NOT COUNTRY."

Parsons was not happy with the final result and would leave the group before the end of the year:   "They had to pull a few things out of the can that weren't supposed to be used, things like 'Life In Prison' and 'You're Still On My Mind'. We just did them as warm-up numbers. We could've done them a lot better. They just chopped up the album however they wanted to.  He (Roger McGuinn) erased it and did the vocals himself and fucked it up. The producer (Gary Usher) decided it should go Hollywood freaky, and it wasn't the time for that. I thought it was the time for a 'Nashville Skyline' or something like the album as I remember it, a serious country album. It was a great album that might as well have never been recorded."

Hillman considers:  "The 'Sweetheart' thing was interesting; it's not my favorite Byrds' album. It's a noble attempt, and then when Roger had to do Graham's vocals over, it was affected. He knows how I feel. It's not Roger's thing to do that. Roger's strong in other areas where none of the rest of us are strong, but to do a country thing with a sort of strange, country accent became very affected and it lost it all. But, it was okay. Even my cousin played pretty good on that and he wasn't too good a musician. I know it left a good lasting legacy. There's a lot of times I run across young players who say, ''Sweetheart of the Rodeo' was what got me into country music.' You know, these guys were active, professional musicians."

'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' only reached number seventy-seven in the US and failed to chart in the UK; but it has gone on to be an enduring classic.

You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

Pretty Polly
(Chris Hillman / Roger McGuinn)

'Sweetheart of the Rodeo'
full album:

0:00 You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob Dylan)
2:41 I Am A Pilgrim (traditional, arranged Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman)
6:27 The Christian Life (Charles Louvin, Ira Louvin)
9:01 You Don't Miss Your Water  (William Bell)
12:56 You're Still On My Mind (Luke McDaniel)
15:26 Pretty Boy Floyd (Woody Guthrie)
18:06 Hickory Wind (Gram Parsons, Bob Buchanan)
21:44 One Hundred Years From Now (Gram Parsons)
24:46 Blue Canadian Rockies (Cindy Walker)
26:54 Life In Prison (Merle Haggard, Jelly Sanders)
29:45 Nothing Was Delivered (Bob Dylan)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

q: are we not men? a: we are devo!

Devo wrapped their new philosophy into the regressive robotic rapture of this new wave manifesto. The genesis of the band came from Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis while they were students at Kent State. It started as a joke about the absurdity of life and how human society had stopped moving forward and had begun to regress with herd mentality and willful ignorance. The ideas took on more serious overtones in the wake of the shootings in 1970. Mark Mothersbaugh joined the duo around that time and they began performing in various configurations over the next few years with Rod Reisman, Fred Weber at first and then Casale's brother Bob and Mothersbaugh's brother Jim and Bob joining the fun. In 1976, the band was featured in a documentary by by Chuck Statler called 'The Truth About De-Evolution' which won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and led to more exposure. Their demo tape made it to the hands of David Bowie and Iggy Pop; and Bowie declared them to be the band of the future. He was determined to produce their first album; but was unable to do so when he was involved in a film. Brian Eno stepped in and took the helm on their debut album before they even had a record deal. The sessions took place at Konrad Plank's studio located near Cologne, Germany with Bob Casale on rhythm guitar, additional keyboards, and occasional backing vocals; Gerald V. Casale on bass, additional keyboards, and lead vocals; Bob Mothersbaugh on lead guitar and backing vocals; Mark Mothersbaugh on keyboards, occasional guitar, and lead vocals; and Alan Myers on drums.

Gerald Casale recalls: "It was outside of Cologne in a place called Neunkirchen, and we were staying in this bed-and- breakfast type hotel that was a couple of steps up from a student hostel. There was no central heating, like everything in Europe. We were there in the winter under big down comforters, and we had to get up early in the morning because the schedule we were on was absurd. We'd get picked up and driven over the frozen tundra into this studio that was a converted barn in the country. The studio owner [Konrad "Conny" Plank] had a wife [Christa Fast] and kid, and we'd all eat breakfast with them in the morning. It was a selection of heavy meats - processed meats, sliced like Monsanto floor tiles. We didn't know what the hell it was, but they had a huge array, and this is how we started our day. It was insane...I do think that being isolated with no distractions probably was a good thing, because all we could do every day was work hard and concentrate. Obviously we produced an extreme-sounding record. It's so extreme-sounding that it's hard to date it. You don't hear it and go, "Oh, that's what they all did in 1978...At the time there was mostly disco and lightweight stuff, middle-of-the-road ballads and English punk...It was funny because Brian had worked through his Roxy Music phase and was into ambient stuff by then. He had done Music for Airports. He was into beauty by the time he got around to producing Devo, which was pretty strange because Devo was about this brutal, industrial aesthetic."

'Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!' was eventually released on Warner Brothers Records in the US and Virgin Records in the UK. It charted at number seventy-eight in the US, fifty-seven in Australia, twelve in the UK, and seven in New Zealand. The album takes its title from refrain of 'Joko Homo' which was inspired by the film 'The Island of Dr. Moreau'. The album cover features a drawing of professional golfer Juan "Chi-Chi" Rodríguez that was combined with a morphed picture of the faces of United States presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Their art films prefigured the age of MTV. Mark Mothersbaugh remembers how their video aesthetic developed: "Here’s what it was. Somewhere around 1974, a friend of ours, Chuck Statler, came over to where we were rehearsing. He said, “Check this out.” It was a Popular Science article all about laserdiscs. 'Everyone will have them next year!' it said. And they were described as whole albums which not only had sounds, but visuals. You could almost get a whole movie on them, the original ones, and they looked just like a vinyl record. And we thought, 'Damn! That’s the end of rock and roll, because the great artists are going to be the ones who are into both sound and vision.' We became totally convinced then that we wanted to make art for that world—the one beyond rock and roll, which we were sure was going to be populated by people who had something to say both visually and musically. Which felt good to us, since we were visual artists in college. So we were writing music that was saying good-bye to rock and roll. That’s what we thought we were doing: deconstructing music that was popular at the time—disco and concert rock, like Styx and Foreigner. The message for that music was “I’m white, I’m stupid, I’m a conspicuous consumer and I’m proud of it.” Disco, on the other hand, was music that was like a beautiful woman with no brain...Originally, our goal was to make our own films. We made short films. Actually, we predicted MTV five years before it happened—we talked about the idea of music television in interviews. But we didn’t realize it was going to be so awful. We were looking for a new art form, a new way to think about our relationship to culture, something smart, a light step forward. Instead we ended up with a Home-Shopping Network for music companies. The sad thing was that it didn’t have to be that way. In the beginning, MTV was getting bombarded by artists around the globe with short films that were not just about a Fleetwood Mac–lookalike band mugging in front of the camera, or some kind of retrofitted Tom Petty song. They were getting original, unusual things. I know this because MTV would have these contests that they asked me to help judge. MTV knew me, knew us, because by the time MTV started, we already had made all sorts of clips—we’d started filming them in maybe 1974—and so you would see one Devo song just about every hour. Anyway, that’s how I started helping to judge these contests. I remember one time, there was a band called Tone Set from Arizona. They were so cool. I was sure they were going to win. This was in the early ’80s and they were playing stuff similar to what became trance and rave music. They didn’t have guitars and they had an electronic drum kit. But I was voting with people from the music companies—managers, agents. And I think it was a band that just spoofed ZZ Top—spinning their guitars—that won. I remember our first album had a song on it which didn’t use any guitar. And a reviewer, I think he was from Rolling Stone, was totally incensed by that. [Laughing] It was different times back then. These days you pretty much have to sit on an electronic drill in a video for anyone to react."

'Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!'
full album:

1. Uncontrollable Urge - 0:00
2. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - 3:09
3. Praying Hands - 5:49
4. Space Junk - 8:37
5. Mongoloid - 10:51
6. Jocko Homo - 14:35
7. Too Much Paranoias - 18:14
8. Gut Feeling / Slap Your Mammy - 20:10
9. Come Back Jonee - 25:07
10. Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin') - 28:54
11. Shrivel-Up - 31:33

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! Live At The London HMV Forum:
1. Uncontrollable Urge - 34:41
2. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - 38:08
3. Praying Hands - 41:30
4. Space Junk - 44:50
5. Mongoloid - 47:27
6. Jocko Homo - 51:17
7. Too Much Paranoias - 57:06
8. Gut Feeling / Slap Your Mammy -59:39
9. Come Back Jonee - 1:04:06
10. Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin') - 1:08:32
11. Shrivel-Up - 1:10:59

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

let's get it on

Marvin Gaye moved from the political to the personal and found expression for his new ethos with the sensual slow jams of this seductive and spiritual celebration of love.  After the success of his landmark 'What's Going On' album, Gaye was able to secure more creative control over the recording process at Motown Records, which was in the process of relocating from Detroit to Los Angeles.  At the same time, he was in a personal crisis over his separation from his wife Anna Gordy Gaye, and the beginning of a new relationship with Janice Hunter.  Gaye became more and more involved in spirituality to cope with the guilt of his passion and the unresolved issues from his childhood.  The theme of romance became a metaphor for the love of God.

Gaye co-produced the sessions with Ed Townsend initially at Hitsville U.S.A.'s Golden World Records studio (Motown's Studio B) in Detroit, Michigan and then later at the new Hitsville West studios in Los Angeles, California.  Motown's ace session team The Funk Brothers laid down the grooves with Marvin Gaye on piano, vocals, and background vocals;  David T. Walker, Eddie Willis, Lewis Shelton, Melvin Ragin, Robert White, and Don Peake on guitar; James Jamerson and Wilton Felder on bass;  Paul Humphrey and Uriel Jones on drums; Eddie "Bongo" Brown on drums and bongos; Bobbye Hall Porter on bongos and percussion;  Ernie Watts, and Plas Johnson on percussion; Joe Sample and Marvin Jerkins on piano;  Emil Richards on percussion and vibraphone; Victor Feldman on vibraphone; The Originals on background vocals; and David Van DePitte, Gene Page, and Rene Hall on arrangements and conducting.  

'Let's Get It On' made it at thirty-nine in the UK; two on the US album chart; and number one on the US R&B album chart, the Cash Box chart, and the Record World music chart.  The album became the biggest of his career and helped to redefine the direction of soul music.  Gaye expressed in the liner notes:  "I can't see anything wrong with sex between consenting anybodies. I think we make far too much of it. After all, one's genitals are just one important part of the magnificent human body ... I contend that SEX IS SEX and LOVE IS LOVE. When combined, they work well together, if two people are of about the same mind. But they are really two discrete needs and should be treated as such. Time and space will not permit me to expound further, especially in the area of the psyche. I don't believe in overly moralistic philosophies. Have your sex, it can be exciting, if you're lucky. I hope the music that I present here makes you lucky."

"Let's Get It On"  became one of the biggest Motown singles of all time.  It worked its way to number thirty-one in the UK and took over the US charts, topping both the pop and soul charts and selling more than three million copies.

'Let's Get It On' 
full album:

Side one
1. "Let's Get It On"   Marvin Gaye, Ed Townsend 4:44
2. "Please Stay (Once You Go Away)"   Gaye, Townsend 3:32
3. "If I Should Die Tonight"   Gaye, Townsend 3:57
4. "Keep Gettin' It On"   Gaye, Townsend 3:12
Side two
5. "Come Get to This"   Gaye 2:40
6. "Distant Lover"   Gaye, Gwen Gordy, Sandra Greene 4:15
7. "You Sure Love to Ball"   Gaye 4:43
8. "Just to Keep You Satisfied"   Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover 4:35

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

the wind

Warren Zevon faced his mortality with the raw reflections of this emotional epitaph.  His twelfth and final album was begun as soon as he found out that he had terminal lung cancer.  Zevon revealed in his last interview:  "I've always been a little doctor-phobic and never have gotten checkups. I had this shortness of breath for a while. One of my best friends is my dentist, Dr. Stan. I used to say, 'If Dr. Stan can't fix it, call 911. I'm done.' I mentioned to him that I had shortness of breath. He said, 'Is it worse when you sleep?' 'Yes.' 'Well, we're going to a cardiologist.' I was lucky; I got all the shocking news in the course of one day. Now I feel like I'm irritating people because I`ve exceeded predictions that I only had a few months... I decided to start recording almost immediately, because it's the only thing I know how to do. It's so engrossing and engaging that it takes your mind off whatever minor business your life is going through...One of the reasons I can't complain about my present circumstances is that I've always written about death. Hemingway said all good stories ended in death, and I write songs about death and violence for some reason. Some of them are based on my upbringing and some are based on my reading habits. We live in a culture where violence is all around us and I found myself writing more songs about violence than romantic subjects. I like to think I have some goodhearted romantic impulses now and then, but for the most part I write a different kind of song...I'm more interested in communicating what meager ideas I think I have about living. I'm interested in saying goodbye to a few people, too...About 25 years ago, Jackson [Browne] said to me, you get by with a little help from your friends. This album I'm doing almost exclusively with my oldest friend Jorge Calderón. We're also working with people I've always wanted to work with like Ry Cooder. Dwight Yoakam is one of my favorite people to sing with because I'm so enraptured with his voice. Billy Bob Thornton has a voice that really blends well with mine, too. Sometimes you can get an emotional resonance from an actor-singer that you might not get from a musician...Everybody thinks the album is called 'Dirty Life and Times', after the first track and the oldest song. But even I am not cavalier enough to leave this world with that sentiment. The album's called 'The Wind', because it figures into one of the important songs of the album that I wrote for my girlfriend Kristen, and because the first song of significance that I wrote was "Hasten Down The Wind" that Linda Ronstadt recorded. The wind's always been my friend...It's gradually getting worse, naturally. There's certain medication that masks the symptoms. But I have no complaints. I expected it to be worse. I asked a friend of mine who's a cancer survivor if she thought I had a good chance of dying with my boots on, and she said yeah. So that's a hope...I have never liked the word "fans" because it seems very self-aggrandizing. I prefer to call them the customers, although that sounds callous. But I don't have anything to say to them that I haven't already said. Writing songs is an act of love. You write songs 'cause you love the subject and want to pass that feeling on. I've always said that songwriting was designed for the inarticulate. [Laughs.] Some songwriters might not agree or comply with that idea, but that's how I feel about it. So I don't have any big farewell speech."

'The Wind' was produced by Jorge Calderón, Noah Scot Snyder, and Warren Zevon.  The all-star sessions featured Warren Zevon on vocals, piano, keyboard, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar; Jorge Calderón on acoustic guitar, bass guitar, maracas, tres, Spanish-language vocals, and backing vocals; Don Henley, Jim Keltner, and Steve Gorman on drums; Ry Cooder on guitar and slide guitar; Bruce Springsteen and Brad Davis on electric guitar and backing vocals; Randy Mitchell on slide guitar and backing vocals; Tommy Shaw on 12-string acoustic guitar and backing vocals; David Lindley on lap steel guitar; Joe Walsh on slide guitar; Reggie Hamilton on upright bass; David Lindley on electric saz and backing vocals; Luis Conte on bongos, drums, and percussion; James Raymond on piano; Mike Campbell on electric guitar; Gil Bernal on saxophone; and Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, John Waite, Jackson Browne, T-Bone Burnett, Jordan Zevon, Tom Petty, and Emmylou Harris on backing vocals.

'The Wind' was released just two weeks before Warren succumbed to his illness on September 7, 2003. The album went to number fifty-seven in the UK and number twelve in the US.  It won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

"Disorder in the House" was performed with Bruce Springsteen.  It won a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Group or Duo.

"Numb as a Statue"

"Keep Me in Your Heart" 
"I don't think anybody knows quite what to do when they get the diagnosis. I picked up the guitar and found myself writing this kind of farewell. Instantly I realized I'd found what to do with myself. On reflection it might be a little bit of a "woe is me" song, but it made me realize what I was going to do with the rest of the time. It may be the last song on the album, but it was the first song I wrote."

'(Inside) Out' documentary

'The Wind' full album:

1. "Dirty Life and Times" (Zevon) 3:15
2. "Disorder in the House" (Jorge Calderón, Zevon) 4:36
3. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (Bob Dylan) 4:05
4. "Numb as a Statue" (Calderón, Zevon) 4:08
5. "She's Too Good for Me" (Zevon) 3:12
6. "Prison Grove" (Calderón, Zevon) 4:51
7. "El Amor de Mi Vida" (Calderón, Zevon) 3:34
8. "The Rest of the Night" (Calderón, Zevon) 4:41
9. "Please Stay" (Zevon) 3:34
10. "Rub Me Raw" (Calderón, Zevon) 5:44
11. "Keep Me in Your Heart" (Calderón, Zevon) 3:28

Monday, August 26, 2013


The Jeff Beck Group brought hard rock and the blues together with the prototypical metal magic of this raucous and radical revelation.  Beck formed the group after leaving the Yardbirds:    "When I joined the Yardbirds, I got the impression they just wanted my playing to enhance their group as much as possible. Right, so I just worked on the whole act until we got it down so great that we started bringing in bits of destruction to illustrate a point. Like an action painting— we all sort of threw our guitars at it...I stayed with them about two years...I think I contributed my fair share to the business, right? So move on and make way for Eric, Jimi, and the rest. The next album is going to be much further ahead, but not too far, because the Yardbirds were too far ahead of their times. Like now, groups all over the country are playing like the Yardbirds were playing. Maybe a bit better, more articulate and musically more sound, but it is still the same formula."

Beck took a chance on a raspy new singer, Rod Stewart:   "Some of the feedback from record labels was that my voice was too rough for big commercial success. There was also anxiety about whether I was conventionally pretty enough to make it. Essentially, in 1964, I was offering gravel and a big nose to a marketplace that wanted smooth and pretty. Ruthless old business, isn’t it?  Yet somehow Decca were persuaded to let me make a single. After the recording, I went to a pub in Soho where I spotted a bloke with back-combed hair a bit like mine and a big nose a lot like mine. The single was fated to die a swift and brutal death, but that chance meeting was the start of my still-firm friendship with Ronnie Wood.  Three years later, we both joined the same band. The Jeff Beck Group could in due course have been Led Zeppelin, except for one crucial detail: we had no original material. So Ronnie and I decided to meet up at his house one day, each with a pad of yellow foolscap paper, and wait for inspiration. An hour later: nothing. Not a syllable. We drank a bottle of wine. Still nothing. After about two-and-a-half hours, Ronnie’s mum came in and found us both lying on our backs.   ‘Well,’ she said, ‘you two aren’t much of a threat to The Beatles, are you?’"

Ron Wood started out playing guitar alongside Beck; but started playing bass to fill in for Dave Ambrose who kept missing rehearsals.  Wood considers:    “We had a nice feel between us.  There was never any competition. I used to respect his playing, and I still do...Some people thought, ‘Oh, you can’t go to bass, it’s an inferior instrument if you’re a guitarist,’ but it’s the other way around. I’m really glad I had that training on bass, because when I went back to guitar I had a whole new viewpoint...Bass to me then was strange; I didn’t know too much about it. I just played what I felt...It was [Beck's] show, and I should stay back.  It was kind of forced on him at the time, that he was the main man and shouldn’t accept any other offers. That was the way it had to be...Rod had to play down his role a lot.  He was still looking for a role at the time, too. That’s when I first met Rod - at the first rehearsal. He didn’t quite know what he was trying to do about showmanship either. So whenever he was uncertain, he used to run behind an amplifier and hide.” 

'Truth' was produced by Mickie Most and engineered by Ken Scott at Abbey Road Studios in London.  The sessions featured Jeff Beck on electric guitars, acoustic guitar on "Greensleeves", lap steel guitar on "Shapes of Things", bass guitar on "Ol' Man River", and vocals on "Tallyman" and "Hi Ho Silver Lining"; Rod Stewart on lead vocals; Ronnie Wood on bass guitar, backing vocals on "Let Me Love You"; and Micky Waller on drums;  with Madeline Bell providing vocals on "I've Been Drinking"; John Carter and Ken Lewis giving backing vocals on "Tallyman"; Clem Cattini on drums on "Hi Ho Silver Lining"; Aynsley Dunbar on drums on "Tallyman" and "Rock My Plimsoul (stereo mix)"; Nicky Hopkins on piano on "Morning Dew," "You Shook Me," "Beck's Bolero" and "Blues Deluxe"; John Paul Jones on bass guitar on "Hi Ho Silver Lining" and "Beck's Bolero", Hammond organ on "Ol' Man River" and "You Shook Me", and  arrangements on "Hi Ho Silver Lining"; Keith Moon on drums on "Beck's Bolero" and timpani on "Ol' Man River"; Jimmy Page on 12-string electric guitar on "Beck's Bolero"; and an unknown Scottish bagpipe player on "Morning Dew" and an unknown studio orchestra on "Love Is Blue".  

Ken Scott says:   "With 'Truth', it was before any of them were really known. It was just a bunch of great guys, and we had a blast recording it. When we were gonna start the next album, they came in after their first American tour and they had egos out the door. It was obvious very quickly we weren't gonna work well together. So the sessions got cancelled."  

The sound of the album was a bold new kind of heavy blues rock that presaged Led Zeppelin.  The session with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones influenced the direction of the band that they would form in the next year.  Stewart reveals:  "Well, we're all friends now and we've done all right for ourselves, but there was some bad feeling for a while.  Jimmy Page definitely built Zep (based) on us. There were four of us, and there were four of them. We'd be playing gigs and we'd see Jimmy and (Led Zeppelin manager) Peter Grant turn up at our show. And soon there's Robert and the rest of the lads. So, yeah ..."

'Truth' reached number fifteen on the US album chart.  Beck reflects on the album's influence on the development of heavy metal:   "They just took what I did with Rod and they magnified it to gigantic proportions [laughs]. The drum sound that we had originally was real. They weren’t tricks. There weren’t any Pro Tools or plug-ins or any of that sort of technical stuff. It was still on tape, but the actual building blocks of metal are definitely there. The attack on the chords and the heavy riffs and all that, that was there. I think Aerosmith will tell you how they were influenced, and Metallica, and all those people. Let them have it. Let them go and blow themselves up [laughs]."

"Morning Dew"  

"You Shook Me"  

"Rock My Plimsoul"  

"Blues Deluxe"  

in the studio footage:

reissue bonus tracks:

"I've Been Drinking" (Jeffrey Rod) 3:25

"Tallyman"   (Graham Gouldman) 2:46

"Love Is Blue"   (André Popp, Pierre Cour, Brian Blackburn) 2:57

"Hi Ho Silver Lining" (Scott English, Laurence Weiss) 3:46


full album:

Side one
1. "Shapes of Things"   Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith 3:22
2. "Let Me Love You"   Jeffrey Rod 4:44
3. "Morning Dew"   Bonnie Dobson 4:40
4. "You Shook Me"   Willie Dixon, J. B. Lenoir 2:33
5. "Ol' Man River"   Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II 4:01
Side two
1. "Greensleeves"   Traditional 1:50
2. "Rock My Plimsoul"   Jeffrey Rod 4:13
3. "Beck's Bolero"   Jimmy Page 2:54
4. "Blues Deluxe"   Jeffrey Rod 7:33

5. "I Ain't Superstitious"   Willie Dixon 4:53