Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Best of Beck
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
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A great starter set from a man who must be heard...
Brian J. Sleeman | Marquette, MI USA | 12/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When you're dealing with an artist who is not in the traditional mainstream, such as Jeff Beck, a good starter set that tries to tap into each of his various genres with his "hits" from each is a must, imo, unless you've got a lot of money to burn, in which case you could get in touch with me and I could help you...Anyway, this disc does a good job of that. It showcases him at his best (imo) - when he's left alone with his guitar to provide the vocals - in tracks such as "Freeway Jam," "Beck's Bolero" (a Jimmy Page composition), and particularly "Where Were You," a galactic and breath-taking instrumental solo which provides *the* definitive track of his unique and glowing tone. It also gives a good representation of the few occasions where other artists have taken on the vocal responsibilities, most notably Rod Stewart, who got his first start as a part of the Jeff Beck Group. It covers a nice mix of his jazz/rock fusion work, more radio-friendly tunes like "People Get Ready" (a favorite of mine even though I'm no fan of Rod Stewart - Beck's guitar's voice blows away Rod's in this elegant and masterfully played cover), and his harder rock covers ("Shapes of Things" and "Jailhouse Rock") that proved to be a prototype for Led Zeppelin. The only thing I'd ask for in changing this set is including some of his more bluesy covers, specifically from his days with The Yardbirds ('course, he took over for Clapton when the group strayed into pop territory). It's understandable that they've been dropped, however, when you consider the difficulty of the task of trying to include bits and pieces of everything this uniquely talented and varied artist has done. Jeff Beck is guitar hero of the guitar heroes, and if you're a fan of jazz, rock, techno (this guy basically invented it), or of guitarists in general, it's important to tap into the works of this man and find out why. Don't rush into it with impatience and expect nothing but blaring solos - you won't find much of that here (as David Gilmour of Pink Floyd said, one of the things that makes Jeff Beck great is that he *can* play it loud, but he doesn't need to). Instead you'll need to give it time, patience, and an open mind, and only then you will come to appreciate the true genius of this master of the electric guitar. This disc provides a solid starting point from which to decide which direction of his you'd like to proceed in should you find one of his styles more to your tastes than others.My other recommendations for Jeff Beck material:Three-Pak, any of the albums by The Jeff Beck Group, and his guest work on Roger Waters' "Amused to Death" - that CD being the one that initially turned me onto Jeff with the fiery solos he contributes"
Difficult to Anthologize
Brian D. Rubendall | Oakton, VA | 04/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"British guitar god Jeff Beck has had one of those careers that is not easy to anthologize. He has a reputation for being "difficult," doesn't sign his own songs and only occasionally writes his own material. Combined with the fact that he's had only a very small number of obvious hits, and any single disc anthology is going to seem inadaquate. Nevertheless "Best of Beck" (the name perhaps an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the "other" Beck?), is an excellent collection for casual fans who want an introduction to his music. The songs range from the late 60s through the late 80s, and vary widely in sound and style. Beck's early collaborators included Ron Wood and Rod Stewart, who appear on four tracks from "Truth" and "Beck-Ola," still his two best albums. By the later period, he was teaming up with the likes of Terry Bozzio (of Missing Persons!) for two more well chosen selections ("Where Were You" and "Two Rivers"). In between there are collaborations with synthesizer guru Jan Hammer ("Blue Wind"), an ace Beatles cover ("She's a Woman") and his successful mid-80s reunion with Stewart ("People Get Ready"). There may not be much consistency in this collection, but the music is nevertheless mostly excellent. On the downside, the CD booklet is fairly limited, containing only the barest of information about the artist.Overall, an excellent single disc anthology that draws from a diverse and only fitfully successful career."
The novice's view
running_man | Chesterfield Twp., MI | 03/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit that I'm not big on jazz-rock fusion, which is the territory most readily claimed by Jeff Beck. I'm more into traditional/country/folk rock of the Stephen Stills/Neil Young/Dave Mason variety. I'm not completely unfamiliar with Jeff's work, but tend toward his more traditional work with The Yardbirds, and even owned 'The Jeff Beck Group', perhaps his most commercial LP, on vinyl in the 1970's. Sitting on the fringe of the jazz-rock fusion movement, I've perused and owned works by artists such as Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, but find Jeff's work the most appealing. Nevertheless, compared to many of the writers here, I'm lucky to know my Jeff Beck from my Beck, so take my advice for what it's worth.This album has some great numbers on it, the majority of which are jazz-rock instrumentals. There is no question that Jeff Beck is one of the great guitarists of the modern era, regularly coaxing complex and creative sounds from his instrument. Among my favorites are the live recording of 'Blue Wind', 'Plynth', the familiar (though I'm not sure why) 'Freeway Jam', and the opening cut 'The Pump'. There is an instrumental cover of The Beatles' 'She's a Woman', though it is so heavily interpreted that it is difficult to hear The Beatles' chords coming through. This music is great for seeking escape into another dimension, exploring alternative aural passages, and trying to follow the intricate workings of Beck's mind taking form on his fretboard. For whatever reason, I find it great cruising music in the car.There are several songs offering lyrics, such as Bob Tench's raspy, energetic delivery on 'Going Down', and Rod Stewart's inspired cover of The Impression's 1965 hit 'People Get Ready'. There are covers of The Yardbird's 'Shapes of Things' (if one can 'cover' ones own work...), and Elvis' 'Jailhouse Rock'. The cover of 'Shapes of Things' is more flamboyant than it's predecessor, and I think I prefer the more basic rock version, though this is interesting, too. 'Jailhouse Rock' probably should have been left to Elvis. It's just too simple and familiar of a song to be getting the Beck treatment. What remains on the 14 track disc has its moments, and there are no poor performances, but I tend to skip them over to feast on the cream of this crop, with tracks 1, 2, 3, 10 and 11 always featured on the menu."