Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jeff Beck: Truth

Review # 41
Artist: Jeff Beck
Title: Truth
Format: LP
Label: Epic
Year: 1968
Songs: 10

Jeff Beck's Truth is a record I got free in a big pile of LPs from my dad. I decided to keep this because I had heard the artist's name around for years and didn't really know what he was about. I didn't get around to listening to it today.

Jeff Beck, if you don't already know, was a member of the Yardbirds, and this record sounds a fair amount like some of the Yardbirds output, including a cover of "Shapes of Things," a Yardbirds song from which, I would have to conclude, the melody for Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" chorus was more of less ripped off  completely. But that's neither here nor there.

This LP features ten songs that can mostly be characterized as that late 1960s heavy blues that would provide the foundation for heavy metal rock. Along with the Yardbirds, I would compare this to some Led Zeppelin I've heard, but without so much of the screechy singing (vocals here being provided by Rod Stewart, who I must begrudgingly admit doesn't really sound too bad on this record). Jeff Beck's guitar is the centerpiece of this collection of songs, made up of both original songs and much older numbers such as "Old Man River" and even "Greensleeves." And there's no doubt that Beck is a phenomenal guitarists. I think he'd hold up fine in a three-way battle between himself, Hendrix, and Jimmy Page. The proficiency evident on this records is unquestionable if you know anything about guitar playing.

That said, this record doesn't do anything deep for me. I love classic blues, but this kind of heavy proto-metal blues has just never been something I've been able to get into. It kind of makes me feel tired. Truth avoids many of the pitfalls of music like this that I often criticize--it doesn't have the obnoxious screeching vocals of a Led Zeppelin album, and there doesn't seem to be too much of what I would describe as guitar wankery that seems to exist only for the self gratification of the guitarist (perhaps a little, though). So it doesn't irritate me like some bands from the genre often do. But it doesn't resonate with me either. At the end of the day, I guess this is just a subjective aesthetic preference, because there's nothing wrong with this record at all if you like music that sounds like this. I would go so far as to say it is one of the better ones I've heard, in the genre. But try as I might, I don't really like it very much.

Total songs listened: 531

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