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

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