Album no. 128/1001
You might remember Jeff from Yardbirds. He’s struck out on his own (sort of?), and this is his first solo effort. If you like electric blues this is for you.
This album took off following a tour of the US. It made it to number fifteen in the States, and failed to chart in the UK. The sixties were weird. Despite being the big name on the cover, Jeff doesn’t sing on the album (and only wrote three of the songs). Instead, the vocal duties are picked up by a little-known London lad by the name of Rod Stewart.
Ronnie Wood is on guitar as well, before his Rolling Stones days. Lots of famous folk played on this album, including Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, John Paul Jones, and Nicky Hopkins (who also did a lot of work with the Rolling Stones).
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: Not once.
CL: Nope. I enjoyed his work with Yardbirds though.
NK: I really like ‘Beck’s Bolero’ for some reason. 2.56 of guitar playing basically, which is not normally my favourite thing, but it was pretty varied. Also I quite liked the version of ‘Ol’ Man River’ which is on this, which is also not normally my thing. It’s a weird track to find on this album alongside all the blues jams.
CL: ‘Morning Dew’ is pretty banging, but I feel like there’s A LOT of guitar wanking going on here. If this listening experience has taught me anything, it’s that the guitar as a lead instrument needs to be very carefully measured out. Like medicine. Too much, and you overdose pretty quickly.
NK: Listening to this the first time through I thought ‘man Jeff’s singing really sounds like Rod Stewart on this’. Guess what, turns out Jeff didn’t do the singing, IT WAS BLOODY ROD STEWART. My main takeaway from this is that I am a goddamn idiot. Ronnie Wood was playing guitar as well. So much I didn’t know about the Jeff Beck group.
CL: That makes so much more sense. I don’t like Rod Stewart any more after hearing him here.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: This is kind of an unhurried blues rocker. It’s verging on being heavy, but doesn’t quite get there. It’s good if you want to hear some progress towards heavy rock, but also if you like Rodney Stewpot and want to hear him trying something very different.
CL: When you want to pretend you’re heaps good on guitar.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I got a real proto-heavy metal/blues/early Led Zeppelin vibe from this. Jimmy Page has a writing credit on ‘Beck’s Bolero’, and it’s not a big leap to see him picking up some ideas. I’m not super convinced that Rod Stewart is the right singer for this sort of music. I like Rod, but he’s not quite up to being heard over all the guitars. ‘You Shook Me’ is a good example; I can absolutely imagine Zeppelin doing it, but Rod just isn’t quite raw enough (I think ‘Ol’ Man River’ is Rod’s best song on this). That said, I can definitely see this being influential on the heavy blues based rock/metal that is coming up.
CL: To be honest, it just sounds like another adventure into ‘how can I make my guitar sound like it’s doing exciting things part vi’.
Will you be listening again?
NK: Yes, even if it’s just to be confused by finding Rod Stewart trying to be Led Zeppelin.
CL: MMMMMMM. I don’t know. There might be a couple of songs, but not the whole thing.
Listen to Truth on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.