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The Best Of Jeff Beck

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A fan favourite, the wandering yet always sweetly melodic playing on Freeway Jam rides past a funky, jazz-fusion backdrop that showed Beck was already moving in far more adventurous waters than his former blues boom alumni.

But, as I said, the Yardbirds were always a singles band rather than albums, so the best thing to do when listening to this album is to get the extended version in which appear Happenings Ten Years Ago and Psyco Daisies, the only two songs that Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page recorded together in the band, which are a huge treasure for any lover of the six strings. The stand out track would be "The Pump" and possibly "The Golden Road" too, but everything else feels like offcuts that he has picked up and repurposed. Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood departed soon after to form The Faces, taking some of this loose-limbed boogie with them, but Spanish Boots’ power is inimitable. Imelda May appears for “Lilac Tree”, a very pretty ballad, and Josh Stone gives us a rip roaring performance of “I Put A Spell On You”, and sounds like she really means it. He didn’t, instead forming the Jeff Beck Group where he handed singing duties to Rod Stewart and, over two albums, 1968’s Truth and 1969’s Beck-Ola, provided the hard rock and heavy metal prototype.While 'Rough and Ready' showed a rejuvenated Jeff Beck attempting to merge a soulful Memphis sound with AOR-friendly hard rock, 1972's eponymous follow-up captures the restless guitarist already moving on; creating a tougher-edged sound that fused his searing rock sound with the structureless free-formed jazz leanings. Flash was released in 1985 and won a Grammy for “Best Rock Instrumental Performance” for the composition “Escape.

Hunt down this excellent three-CD box (released in 1991 but, sadly, currently out of print) for a comprehensive overview of Jeff Beck’s career spanning 1963 to 1989.

This is a bit of a toss up, but it’s important as it re-introduces us to new Jeff Beck music, a fresh new approach with the help of Nile Rodgers on production.

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