Jeff Beck Group - In Concert For The BBC 1972 [LP] Limited vinyl (import)
Limited Import Only Vinyl LP!
Having documented Jeff Beck’s activities in 1967 (R&B28) and 1968 (R&B86) we now turn our attention to 1972 and the second incarnation of The Jeff Beck Group. Following an enforced period of inactivity caused by a car accident – immortalised in the Faces’ song Rear Wheel Skid – Beck put together an entirely new group. Max Middleton on keyboards brought a more jazzy feel to the band, whilst the addition of drummer Cozy Powell ensured a powerful beat. Replacing Rod Stewart on vocals proved more of a challenge. After a false start with Alex Ligertwood, Beck settled on the relatively unknown Bob Tench. This line up would record two LPs, Rough And Ready (released October 1971) and Jeff Beck Group (May 1972). There was also an LP of cover versions recorded at the Motown studios in Detroit which was never released due to Beck’s unhappiness with the results.
Rolling Stone magazine gave this version of The Jeff Beck Group a mixed reception. Rough And Ready was described by Stephen Davies as “a surprisingly fine piece of work from a man who wasn’t really expected to come back.” John Mendelsohn was a lot less impressed with Jeff Beck Group. Although he describes Beck as a “peerless rock and roll guitarist” he criticises the record by saying that Beck “showcases his brilliantly idiosyncratic instrumental style in the context of a band upon which he himself has imposed severe stylistic restrictions.”
Opening number Ice Cream Cakes performed the same function on Jeff Beck Group and features a lyrical solo from Beck, the song ending with a call-and-response session between Beck and Middleton. Morning Dew provides a comparison with the first Jeff Beck Group who recorded a cover of this Bonnie Dobson song on their Truth LP (1968). Vocally Tench is less prominent than Rod Stewart but Middleton’s acoustic piano underpins the song effectively. Eventually the band drop away to leave Middleton playing unaccompanied which provides the bridge into Going Down. This song was written by Memphis musician Don Nix for his band Moloch: after Beck recorded it for Jeff Beck Group it would be covered by many other groups including Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, the Who and the Rolling Stones. Don Nix later admitted that the song was autobiographical, detailing how he fell out of a two-storey window and landed in a rubbish bin. The lengthy New Ways / Train Train medley features a short solo from Powell, followed by a duet with Beck and Tench singing a snatch of the venerable Plynth.
Side two starts with an extended Definitely Maybe, an elegant instrumental before it was an Oasis LP. Ain’t No Sunshine was never released on a Jeff Beck Group LP, a missed opportunity since this Bill Withers song is well suited to Tench’s vocal style. Middleton switches to electric piano for a more soulful feel. Got The Feeling gives Chaman the chance to solo and showcases Beck’s dexterity on wah wah. Finally an up-tempo Let Me Love You again harks back to Truth. Beck echoes Tench’s vocal line whilst the audience sing and clap along before a stinging Beck solo brings the song and the concert to a rousing conclusion.
Soon after this concert Beck’s management announced that the second Jeff Beck Group was no more. Apparently “the fusion of the musical styles of the various members has been successful within the terms of individual musicians, but they didn’t feel it had led to the creation of a new musical style with the strength they had originally sought.” What had actually happened was that the rhythm section of Vanilla Fudge had become available allowing the ever-restless Beck to form a power trio with Tim Bogert on bass and drummer Carmin Appice. Many other collaborations with other musicians followed and even today Beck seeks out new sounds and new musical partnerships, of which Johnny Depp is the most recent. But there never was another Jeff Beck Group.
All tracks recorded live for BBC radio In Concert at the Paris Theatre, London on June 29th 1972
1. Ice Cream Cakes (Beck)
2. Morning Dew (Dobson) /
3. Going Down (Nix)
4. New Ways / Train Train (Beck)
1. Definitely Maybe (Beck)
2. Ain’t No Sunshine (Withers)
3. Got The Feeling (Beck)
4. Let Me Love You (Beck, Stewart)