Thursday, May 14, 2015


You go into a Jeff Beck live album expecting to hear killer guitar, and this certainly gives you that.  What you might not expect is a great, all-around show featuring powerhouse vocals, classics and new, innovative tracks.  That's why so many long-time Beck fans have enjoyed the last few years of his career, as he continues to provide thrills.

Beck has put together a team of extreme talent from the jazz and rock worlds, mirroring his own interests.  Of note is bass star Rhonda Smith, born in Halifax, raised in Montreal, a veteran of Prince's band and many others, and a colleague of Sheila E.'s.  As Beck fans say, she's the thunder to his lightning.  Also on board for this tour, recorded in the U.S. last year, was Wet Willie vocalist Jimmy Hall, regarded as one of the best R'n'B singers of the day.  He's sung with Beck often, and on recordings, but never on a full tour, so this set is an important document of that collaboration.

The band strengths allow so much to come out in the set.  Hall's show-stopper is Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come, and that's enough of a highlight here.  But having a vocalist of his caliber really adds to other Beck favourites, especially Superstition, the song Stevie Wonder was supposed to give to the guitarist as a single, before he changed his mind and released it himself.  Beck and Hall enjoy covering Hendrix, and here we get the soulful Little Wing.

Sometimes the guitar is still the best singer though.  If you haven't heard Beck do Danny Boy, or A Day In The Life, I hate to spoil the surprise, but you would have seen them on the sleeve notes I suppose.  Take a listen, and smile.  It's not just for guitar fans, by the way.  It's for music fans.

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