The first version of the Jeff Beck Group existed in a transitional period in time, before bands like The Faces and Led Zeppelin came into being, and after Jeff Beck's ejection from the Yardbirds. It's all in the timing because it also followed the folding of bands like the Shotgun Express and the Birds, from which he recruited Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, then both still relatively unknown. Mick Waller on drums had known Rod Stewart from earlier Steampacket days and came to the band from the Brian Auger Trinity.
Truth was the first album by the group although it was released under the name Jeff Beck, who was simultaneously "enjoying" a solo career, masterminded by producer Mickie Most, and having hits with songs such as Hi Ho Silver Lining, Tallyman and Love Is Blue (shudder).
The truer heart of Jeff Beck was to be found on the B-sides and on this debut album, which was mostly left to Ken Scott, the engineer, to handle, whilst Mickie Most no doubt dreamt of one day discovering elfin girls in black leather cat suits with bass guitars.
After eighteen months of grafting on the road the band were pretty hot. It is a classic album, though the shortage of material does show, with versions of Ol' Man River and a throwaway filler in Greensleeves. This was inspired by Chet Atkins' version, though Mick Waller had previously recorded a rocked-up version of it for Joe Meek with the Flee-Rekkers back in 1960 as Green Jeans. Carrying on that tradition, several of the tracks are thinly disguised rewrites of well-known blues songs. Let Me Love You is essentially Buddy Guy's Let Me Love You Baby; Rock My Plimsoul is clearly BB King's Rock Me Baby (although BB himself nicked it from Lil' Son Jackson) and Blues De Luxe owes more than a little to BB's Gambling Blues.
There's also a reworking of Shapes Of Things, a Yardbirds hit that Jeff played on; a cover of Tim Rose's arrangement of Morning Dew; a version of Muddy Waters' You Shook Me with John Paul Jones (soon to be of Led Zeppelin) guesting on Hammond; and a rip-roaring rendition of Willie Dixon's I Ain't Superstitious, as recorded by the great Howlin' Wolf.
The album set a sort of blueprint for a genre that came to be known as heavy rock, made possible by developments in the technology of electrical musical instruments, amplification and recording equipment, of which Jeff and his sidemen were early adopters and experimenters. In the Yardbirds, of course, he had been a pioneer of feedback. The sound was developed on the second album, Beck-Ola, but with less light and shade than is found on Truth.
Rounding out the album is the instrumental Beck's Bolero, an earlier recording from July 1966. It had previously appeared on the B-side of Hi Ho Silver Lining and has the unique line-up supporting Jeff of Jimmy Page (12-string electric guitar), Nicky Hopkins (keyboards), John Paul Jones (bass) and Keith Moon (drums)! The tune is credited to Jimmy Page, though Maurice Ravel may have had a hand in it. On the album it is shorn of the backwards guitar part at the end but is newly mixed into rudimentary stereo.
This edition of the CD comes with 16 pages of booklet notes including an informative essay by Charles Shaar Murray, and a number of bonus tracks (all stereo except where stated): I've Been Drinking had been the B-side of Love Is Blue, and so was unlikely to have been heard by legions of Jeff Beck fans who would have avoided the single like the plague, and was an adaptation of Dinah Washington's Drinking Again. There are the first takes of All Shook Up and Blues De Luxe, the latter without the fake live effects that were overdubbed to the eventual master; the excellent 1967 single Tallyman (in mono) and its B-side, an earlier recording of Rock My Plimsoul, both from a time when Aynsley Dunbar was the drummer; and Hi Ho Silver Lining, first recorded by the Attack, and its B-side, the original mono, backward guitar mix of Bolero.
Finally, it includes the dreaded Love Is Blue (in mono). Where to begin with this blot in Jeff Beck's discography? It began life as L'Amour Est Bleu by the Paul Mauriat Orchestra, and with words added became Luxembourg's 1967 entry in the Eurovision Song Contest as sung by Vicky Leandros. It came fourth but was popular enough to be recorded by the likes of Andy Williams and Claudine Longet. It falls way outside Jeff Beck's comfort zone and suggests that Mickie Most must have had a very persuasive tongue.
on 28 September 2009
This is a really well produced cd version of Jeff Beck's first album. For those who do not know Beck, he was anaother of the Yardbirds famous guitarists (Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page being better known). Beck was even at the time of this album a superb guitarist capable of fireworks as great as Hendrix but also capable of good solid blues riffs, acoustic melodies and what one might call 'nice tunes'. This cd shows the breadth of the material recorded and Beck's wide range of styles and also exemplifies the tension between Beck's own love of modern blues rock style against the attempts to produce widely appealling pop material from his producer, Mickie Most. Perhaps the famous 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' exemplifies this in one song, a 'pretty' 60's type pop song but with a blistering guitar solo by Beck in the middle. He hated the song by the way. There are other contrasts between the different styles, 'Love is Blue' (a classic 60's style pop instrumental) could not be more different to 'You Shook Me' (a heavy rock blues), but Beck's talent shines through all the tracks and the vocals of an up and coming but then virtually unknown vocalist, one Rod Stewart, add to the quality of the end product. This cd has tracks over and above the original vinyl album and a good set of notes from both the original vinyl cover and extra information concerning this release, If you appreciate good guitar and have an eclectic taste for 60s/blues/rock, this cd will not disappoint.
on 23 February 2009
For any self respecting guitar fan "Truth" is a must have and is one of the milestone albums of the sixties. It ranks along side "Bluesbreakers" John Mayall's Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, "Are You experienced" Jimi Hendrix's Experience and paved the way for Led Zeppelin's debut album. Need I say more?
Co-incidentally, Led Zep's John Paul Jones and Jeff's old Yardbirds mate Jimmy Page pop up on three of the tracks, as well as The Who's Keith Moon and keyboard player extraordinaire Nicky Hopkins. Yet this is a group effort make no mistake. Beck's playing is powerfully inventive throughout, Rod Stewart's vocals are fantastic, Ron Wood's bass playing adds bluesy funk to the rhythm section complimenting Micky Wallers' famous "wallop" on drums.
At the time of its release this album contained a couple of "firsts" for me: first time I'd ever heard Rod Stewart sing and first time I'd heard blistering rock music like this in glorious stereo! Sadly for the Jeff Beck Group it also proved a first and last: pop impresario and producer Micky Most failed to develop the band in the same way that Peter Grant did for Led Zep (ah, what could have been) and where cover songs on ""Truth" often became definitive versions of the song, sadly they remained largely uninspired fillers on the follow up and the group's last album "Beck-Ola" - really, who needs cover versions of "Jail House Rock" and "All Shook Up"??
Favourite tracks? All, except the terrible one naff track here - "Blues Deluxe" - hence a 4 star rating for this rock classic.
on 26 March 2006
Although everything that has been said in the other reviews is absolutely true, what hasn't been mentioned is the degree of light and shade within the album. Ol' Man River is not an obvious choice for a heavy rock band, yet the performance is surperb, with masterful vocals and some tasty slide playing from Beck. The canned applause on Blues Deluxe is a little irritating, but the execution is excellent once again. Beck's acoustic performance of Greensleaves is a nice change of pace, while Beck's Bolero shows the sheer musicality of the band and their collaborators (Jimmy Page and Keith Moon on this particular track). There's good stuff in the bonus tracks especially I've Been Drinking. It's worth pointing out that this should probably be seen as a band album, with Beck first among equals. Rod Stewart's contribution is just to important to be ignored, and his phenomenal singing throughout just goes to show that he wasn't always naff. An excellent album, with some worthwhile bonus tracks.
on 7 November 2007
I am a bit of a Blues fan but have the original version of this on LP,perhaps I didn't realise at the time how much of a blues album it was as being a teenager got into pop-rock but time has changed me.
The bonus tracks are great and for me they should have been on the original as they are the best tracks on the cd.Rod Stewarts voice is about the best I have heard it and Beck's guitar playing has so much feel to it on the slower tracks.
on 1 December 2010
Well, where to start? Firstly, I would like to say that I think this album is a true masterpiece.
- Shapes of Things- A hit from Jeff's Yardbird career, good listen, nice vocals from Rod [Stewart]!
- Let Me Love You- Fairly heavy number with some tasty blues licks from Jeff!
- Morning Dew- Sounds like a cross between Led Zeppelin I/II and Disraeli Gears. Well worth a listen.
- You Shook Me- A very raw and dirty version of the Willie Dixon classic that is also featured on Led Zeppelin I.
- Ol' Man River- Nice performance from Rod but over all, not a highlight of the album
- Greensleeves- Pretty acoustic track, doesn't really fit with the album's feel but maybe you like that sort of thing.
- Rock My Plimsoul- Nice blues, amazing guitar solos, listen at maximum volume!
- Beck's Bolero- WOW. Written by Jimmy Page, featuring Keith Moon (Drummer in the world's greatest Rock'n'Roll band ever, The Who) amongst others. Listen for Keith's scream as the song goes into Led Zep mode at 1:32. Brilliant song. I would have paid the amount the whole album costs just for this track.
- Blues De Luxe- As the title suggests, really.
- I Ain't Superstitious- This track has a lot of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in it. Great really.
Not really necessary, just alternative takes mostly. Some new tracks with nothing new to say about them really.
So, if you like Led Zeppelin I, buy this album. If you like John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, buy this album. I you like music, buy this album!
on 19 August 2008
The woman in our local corner shop often has her Rod Stewart T-shirts on.
"Have you got the Jeff Beck albums yet?" I ask.
She smiles benignly as if to say; "Idiot! What would my Roddy be doing on a Jeff Beck album, I do wish he'd stop asking me that!"
Jeff Beck's first album after leaving The Yardbirds, and after enjoying (?) 2 or 3 chart singles on which HE took the lead vocals this album was an absolute blessing to hear; this was what we expected from a band fronted by him! And yes, regardless of my disbelieveing corner shop lady, her Roddy sings on all the original album tracks, and makes an especially fine job on every one of them, and would surprise quite a few of those disbeliever's in the process with 'Ol Man River' for starters.
And as if the first 10 tracks were not enough for a more than satisfying first album from The Jeff Beck Group, here we have 8 bonus tracks consisting of B-sides, mono mixes, AND Jeff's 3 chart singles in 'Hi-Ho Silver Lining,' 'Tallyman' and the totally instrumental 'Love Is Blue.'
We must be grateful that we had TWO albums from this band before Rod and Ron Wood split to join up with The Faces, but it was their destiny as much as it was Jeff Beck's to do his jazz-rock thing; though for most of his fans, his blues is far more to our taste and it's where he belongs.
on 2 March 2013
Being an old hippie I don't know why I didn't buy this the first time around. As least I have put the oversight right now. Being recorded in around two days, things are a bit rough, but as the musicianship is excellent, it just gives it the feel of a live recording. In addition to the man himself you have Rod Stewart phrasing like Janis Joplin, Ronnie Wood proving he is a top notch bass player and Nicky Hopkins enjoying his finest hour (well 40 minutes) , not to mention cameos by Keith Moon and John Paul Jones. I wish more contemporary bands could cook up a storm like this.
on 2 October 2013
Had this years ago on vinyl; and have tried to find it on CD for ages without success; and apart from the nostalgia kick; listening to this reminded me just what a ground breaking album this was when first released. I only needed to listen to the first three tracks to remember that. As ground breakers go; I rate this right up there with the best - Led Zep 2; Dark Side of the Moon; Hotel California et al. I guess these days it would probably appear mundane to anybody under 50; a work colleague who's 44 thought it was simply a Rod Stewart album; and was surprised I had it. I could neither justify the energy or time needed to tell him who this album was made by and exactly how it shaped future blues / rock music for the next 15 years or so. Still I love it and I'm really pleased we've been re aquainted again after all these years.
Jeff Beck is inventive, fluid and more than a little odd, Rod Stewart is relaxed and sounds great, Ronnie Wood is an excellent bassist (surprise, surprise) and Mick Waller sounds like Mitch Mitchell's long-lost twin. It's an old, old album now and the production is rough and varies from track to track, but this is a great classic album. As you may have read somewhere, there is quite a similarity between it and Led Zeppelin I, although the latter has a drama and grandeur that Beck's more ragged mob can't match (well, nor could even Zep themselves). But you should have this album if you want to own all the original blueprints of the hard/heavy rock world. It ranks alongside Black Sabbath's first, Deep Purple In Rock, Cream's Wheels of Fire and Are You Experienced? in that nobody really influenced these guys. They were out front ploughing a new furrow.