Jeff Beck

Beckology

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This triple-CD set -- obviously modeled after the four-CD Eric Clapton Crossroads box -- was the first attempt to survey Jeff Beck's entire career. In actual fact, that would be a hopeless task, given the amount of anonymous session work that the guitarist did circa 1964-1966, but Beckology still manages to touch a few unexpected bases, even as it strings together all of the obvious and most of the important sides in Beck's output. Disc one opens with the most alluring part of the entire set, three demo tracks left behind by Beck's 1963-1965 group, the Tridents; the first official releases by this band are of far more than academic interest, presenting a first-rate blues/R&B outfit supercharged by Beck's guitar and Ray Cook's drumming, doing killer Jimmy Reed and Bo Diddley material, and even showing off Beck's prowess as a singer. The next 15 tracks represent the core of the Yardbirds' output during Beck's tenure, which lasted from March of 1965 through the summer of 1966 -- anything here could justify a place on a Yardbirds best-of set; the makers have rounded this disc out with four live cuts by the band from the BBC archives, including Beck's extraordinary homage to Elmore James' guitar playing on "The Sun Is Shining" and the unheralded group original "Love Me Like I Love You", and finish the platter with Beck's first three solo single sides, two of which, "Hi Ho Silver Lining" and "Tally Man," comprise the guitarist's brief, achingly beautiful virtuoso digression into trippy psychedelic pop, before he broke through to the more fertile field of what came to be known as heavy metal. Disc two is all of that, made up of the core of his output with the Jeff Beck Group and Beck Bogert & Appice, the latter filled out with a pair of previously unissued tracks: a live version of "Blues Deluxe/BBA Boogie" and "Jizz Whizz." Disc three skips across Beck's instrumental sides off of Blow by Blow, Wired, and There and Back and his tour with the Jan Hammer Group from the later 1970s, and wraps up with ten songs from Flash and Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop, sandwiching some key odd singles and Beck's contributions to the soundtracks of the movies Twins and Porky's Revenge. There are flaws in this set, to be sure; originally conceived as a four-disc retrospective, it was reduced to three, over Beck's wishes that some proposed cuts be omitted and Sony Music's timidity over the sales prospect of the four-CD set. But it is a good package within those boundaries, with fairly thorough annotation accompanied by great photos and a Pete Frame family tree, and, above all, excellent tape research -- not only were the right masters (i.e., the mono masters) used on "Hot House of Omagarashid" and "Lost Woman," but this is also the only CD package to combine the Yardbirds' 1965 catalog material with their 1966 tracks (owned by separate parties who will not get together). The mastering of it all is so clean that it put most of the older versions of this material to shame at the time.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:16
2 5:49
3 3:27
4 2:36 Spotify
5 2:28 Spotify
6 2:31 Spotify
7 3:38 Spotify
8 3:24 Spotify
9 2:36 Spotify
10 2:24 Spotify
11 2:21 Spotify
12 2:54 Spotify
13 2:39 Spotify
14 3:07 Spotify
15 3:11 Spotify
16 3:01 Spotify
17 1:48 Spotify
18 2:22 Spotify
19 2:29 Spotify
20 2:42
21 3:56 Spotify
22 2:50 Spotify
23 2:52
24 2:42 Spotify
25 2:51 Spotify
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