Beck-Ola (Jeff Beck)

Beck-Ola
(Jeff Beck)

Famous sleeve note on its back cover:
“Today, with all the hard competition in the music business, it’s almost impossible to come up with anything totally original. So we haven’t. However, this disc was made with the accent on heavy music. So sit back and listen and try and decide if you can find a small place in your heads for it.”

Beck was reacting to the success of peers and competitors like Cream and Led Zeppelin here, bands that had been all over the charts with a hard rock sound soon to be dubbed heavy metal, and indeed, his sound employs much the same brand of “heavy music” as theirs, with deliberate rhythms anchoring the beat, over which the guitar solos fiercely and the lead singer emotes.

This album could have established Beck in the same league as the guitar heavies of that era. He had the innovation of Page, the tastefulness of Clapton, and nearly as visionary as Hendrix. But Beck’s career was hounded by unfortunate circumstances. Rod Stewart left the band and Beck was never able to get a charismatic singer to seek a wider audience. After, Beck also featured in a vehicular accident. Also, his shift from rock to jazz fusion may have thrown off some of his followers too.

But overall, this is a great album with Stewart, Ron Wood, and Nicky Hopkins (remember “Tin Man was a Dreamer”) lending their share of talents.

footnote:
Yes Virginia, before Rod Stewart became successful with his recent rehash of old standards and before he traversed the boulevard of pop/dance rock in the 80’s, he was a certified rock vocalist. Listen to his rendition of Elvis’ “jailhouse rock” and “water down the drain” from above album. This of course is not to mention his classic “every picture tells a story”

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