Jeff Beck – Beck-Ola

Originally released in September 1969, left Beck's second album read like a superstar summit meeting, but for the guitarist it was just another day at the office. He'd already replaced Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds, supported The Beatles in Paris, and appeared in Antonioni's movie Blow-Up, livening up the psychedelic club scene with some extreme axe-mangling GBH.

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Originally released in September 1969, left Beck’s second album read like a superstar summit meeting, but for the guitarist it was just another day at the office. He’d already replaced Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds, supported The Beatles in Paris, and appeared in Antonioni’s movie Blow-Up, livening up the psychedelic club scene with some extreme axe-mangling GBH. Featuring JB Group regulars Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Nicky Hopkins and Tony Newman, Beck-Ola signified an ability to fuse guitar heroics with post-British blues boom vitality, plus a side order of West Coast whimsy?he’d just guested on Donovan’s Barabajagal?and a nod at something folky.

“All Shook Up” and “Jailhouse Rock” were retooled and raw, although Stewart’s whelpish growl with gravel in his tubes appalled rock’n’roll purists. In fact, Beck’s roots were as art school as anyone’s. His sparkling lead lines on the hippified “Girl From Mill Valley”, enhanced by Hopkins’ delicious keyboard melodies, seem inspired by Swinging London and the R&B movement.

Hanging with Rod and Ron just before they joined The Faces tested Beck’s poker-faced demeanour. The jammy “Rice Pudding” and “The Hangman’s Knee” almost have a smile around the edges. With takes on Elvis and assaults on BB King covers, Beck-Ola stands strong, without ever indicating it satisfied the mainman’s restless spirit.

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