Plynth (Water Down the Drain) - Jeff Beck, Hopkins, Nicky 
The Hangman's Knee - Jeff Beck, Beck, Jeff
Rice Pudding - Jeff Beck, Beck, Jeff
While Truth, the first Jeff Beck Group album, has often been touted as the blueprint for Led Zeppelin and much of the bombastic blues rock that followed, the group's sophomore outing arguably comes closer to fitting that b... more »ill. Which is to say it's decidedly heavier, if less ambitious and more narrowly focused, than its heralded predecessor. Beck and company (a young Rod Stewart in peak form, Ron Wood on bass, Tony Newman on drums, and here augmented by keyboardist Nicky Hopkins) don't get much more adventuresome here than reworking Elvis Presley chestnuts "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock" with almost comic lugubriousness, especially in the drunken, sinewy tones the ax prodigy coaxes from his instrument. That tightening of dynamics thus transforms the lovely Hopkins instrumental showcase "Girl from Mill Valley" into a placid island in a sea of greasy grooves. Truth gave us Beck's tasteful, if quirky heart, Beck-Ola is a jolt of his prodigious musical libido--and damned if less almost isn't more. This reissue features a long overdue remastering from the original source tapes. --Jerry McCulley« less
While Truth, the first Jeff Beck Group album, has often been touted as the blueprint for Led Zeppelin and much of the bombastic blues rock that followed, the group's sophomore outing arguably comes closer to fitting that bill. Which is to say it's decidedly heavier, if less ambitious and more narrowly focused, than its heralded predecessor. Beck and company (a young Rod Stewart in peak form, Ron Wood on bass, Tony Newman on drums, and here augmented by keyboardist Nicky Hopkins) don't get much more adventuresome here than reworking Elvis Presley chestnuts "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock" with almost comic lugubriousness, especially in the drunken, sinewy tones the ax prodigy coaxes from his instrument. That tightening of dynamics thus transforms the lovely Hopkins instrumental showcase "Girl from Mill Valley" into a placid island in a sea of greasy grooves. Truth gave us Beck's tasteful, if quirky heart, Beck-Ola is a jolt of his prodigious musical libido--and damned if less almost isn't more. This reissue features a long overdue remastering from the original source tapes. --Jerry McCulley
Rollie Anderson | Forney, Texas United States | 01/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When this came out onto the record shelves a long, long time ago I couldn't wait to hear what Jeff Beck had been working on since the impressive Truth lp. What I heard was no less impressive to me than what the Who and Cream were putting out at the time. This is landmark stuff, kids. Every track is inspired and balls to the wall. Remember that this was way before groups like Led Zep and AC/DC started cranking it up. And Jeff's mastery of his instrument is so very evident here. He was so far ahead of his time. Too bad his later lps with the revamped Jeff Beck Group were so tame and pop-oriented. Just be glad this fiery band is preserved for all time on this album. Unforgettable."
The Truth About Beck-Ola (or something like it)
M. Allen Greenbaum | California | 10/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not long ago I saw a promo sticker on Jeff Beck's "Truth" CD along the lines of "The Birth of Heavy Metal." Not quite, Mr. West Coast Under-Assistant Promotion Man. This album, fits that ridiculous tag line better than Truth, although there's really just a hint of it. "Truth" was heavily blues-based (duh, it had "Ain't Superstitious" among its songs), while this cuts a truer rock path. On some cuts, it plays Beck's monstrously powerful licks against a more straightforward rock groove. The bass and drums are more thunderous, and while Mr. Flash offers tasty blues-styled solos ("Spanish Boots"), he also mixes these with a more power-oriented stance (e.g., the later part of ... "Spanish Boots").
"Girl from Mill Valley" ("aye, that a lovely toon," Beck would have commented had this been on "Truth") features a heavily gospel keyboard, with some cheaply inspiration chord progressions (Why does Beck always bring out the rood boy in me? He's an inspiration, that's why). Nice for a movie soundtrack maybe, but it's really just one long crescendo with no apparent direction and very little guitar. Maybe it's a comment on Mill Valley, I don't know. "JAILHOUSE ROCK" is a welcome relief. The heavily miked Stewart slurs the words just this side of incomprehensibility (as he should), and Beck powers through with just a SICK precursor of shredding precursor,and dear Nicky Hopkins goes nuts on the piano. Think heavy distortion, rollicking over-the-top destructo-sensation, and you get part of the alcohol-soaked feeling of this producers' fun house.
Perhaps the only song that really fits the heavy metal scheme is "PLYNTH (Water Down the Drain)." A heavy and insistent beat drives the opening, but Jeff Beck seems incapable of turning in a simple or unlayered song. His solos' starts and stops are funky strokes that transcend the opening metal sense. Stewart's vocal and the rhythm section seem like early metal, but Beck resists. Overall, like, "Spanish Boots," a great song.
Can't say the same for the tedious, indulgent, "The Hangman's Knee," though. Stewart's voice has a fairly straightforward musical path (not many changes in volume or inflection), and he begins to sound--yes-- grating. There's just not that much interesting here, even Beck's slide sounds conventional. This one should have been left off.
The closer is "Rice Pudding," one of my favorite songs (for a while, at least) when I first heard it in 1969. It's also got a great power riff, but the experiments begin early. Interesting percussive and guitar effects, tempo shifts, and you can almost hear Beck teasing, building the sound. The bass is a little plodding at times, and the solos aren't as kick-ass as "Truth," but at 7:22 minutes Beck mostly does an excellent job of keeping our interest high. (There's more than a hint of his jazz fusion days to come. A little more than midway though, he slows things down, with two dubbed guitars intertwined, and Hopkins throws in some of those Stevie Winwood like "inspirational chords" that were overdone in "Girl From Mill Valley." This interlude, while necessary (it leads to the return of the main theme), is also too long. Beck brings it on home in the conclusion (though here his guitar is too submerged), although, once again, the BITE that's one of the hallmarks of "Truth" isn't quite there. TRUTH be told, this one isn't as good, but it has enough great moments that fans will want to play it...LOUD, of course."
Morton | Colorado | 12/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bock-Ola is the second album by the legendary Jeff Beck Group. There were a couple lineups later in Jeff Becks carear but none of them were nearly as good as the original. On the bands first album Truth we were introduced to the legendary Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, both of which went on to be very sucessful. The bands first album was a land mark in rock and blues music. Beck-Ola wasnt as popular, and it wasnt as good either. For this album they brought on the Rolling Stones un-official keyboard player Nicky Hopkins, which gave the album a nice touch. Beck-Ola was the bands most experimental album and most diverse. Renging from covers of old Elvis Presly songs like 'All Shook Up' and 'Jailhouse Rock' which they pull off decently to a crazy off the wall jazzy fusion song called 'Plynth (Water Down The Drain)'
The album starts off with the bands cover of Elvis' 'All Shook Up' which they pull off decently but it is in no way in compareson to the original. Jeff Beck Plays excelent leads and a killer slide on this track though. Next we slide right into 'Spanish Boots' which is very bluesy and shows a fiery Jeff Beck playing a out of this world solo. Rod Stewart gives his best vocal performance on this song, well for this album anyways. Ron Woods bass playing is the most promanant on this track as well and its aparent that he knew what he was doing. 'Girl From Mill Valley' is a slow piano driven song, its really pretty but doesnt fit well on this album, but still good. Next the band rocks a distorted cover of 'Jailhouse Rock' which I do like because of the fantastic guitar work by Beck. Rod's vocals are distorted on this track and it sounds really cool, deffinetley a good cover but it doesnt hold a candle to the original. Next is that crazy jazzy/bluesy/sometimes rock track 'Plynth (Water Down The Drain)' I really like this song, it's my favorite on the album and its one of my all time favorite songs actually, because it shows many sides of Beck that we would see in years to come and it also contains some of his very best guitar work to date! 'Hangmans Knee' is a slower bluesy song wear Rod really shines, and it has one of the coolest guitar riffs ever created, truly a great song. The album then closes with the oddly titled 'Rice Pudding' and thought it may sound like a crazy song it really is, the percusion an ddrums are out of this world and Jeff Beck's guitar playng once again is the focal point of the song, this is the perfect track to close the album.
So while this may not be as good as Truth was it is still a very goo solid album, this is deffinetley the most adventures of the two albums. I highly recomend picking up both albums Truth and Beck-Ola if you are a fan of Jeff Becks guitar playing. I also recomend picking the two albums up if you are a fan of Rod Stewart because he never sounded better."
Jeff Beck Group: Explosive
J P Ryan | Waltham, Massachusetts United States | 07/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If the Jeff Beck Group's 1968 debut, "Truth" is the blueprint for Led Zeppelin's debut as well as much of what we might call hard rock or metal through the '70s (Van Halen, etc) and beyond, "Beck-Ola," the 1969 followup is savage, malevelont, and chaotic, albeit less accessable. Certainly the more calculating Jimmy Page never put out anything quite so raw, in every sense of the word. The edgy quality makes it no surprise that the amazing lineup - Beck, Ron Wood, Rod Stewart, Nicky Hopkins, and in place of Mick Waller, drummer Tony Newman - broke up three months after its completion. Beck has switched to a '54 Stratocaster, and "Beck-Ola" suggests Led Zeppelin having a showdown with the Stooges circa "Funhouse." Wood and Stewart wrote most of the material, and it is here that Stewart's songwriting voice (his humor especially) is first evident (check "Spanish Boots"). But I've reviewed this brutal classic elsewhere, which brings me to the point: get the UK remaster, available since 2003, on EMI. Not only is the remastering more detailed and alive (as it is on the EMI edition of "Truth"), but it includes four previously unissued bonus tracks that will delight fans of this brilliant but short-lived all star band. (Why Sony's Legacy division did not get to reissue these two seminal albums is beyond me). So if you're thinking about "Beck-Ola" on CD, click over to the EMI import edition. When you hear the solo on "Sweet Little Angel," you'll thank me."