Jeff Beck -Shape Of Things

This compilation is the first in-depth look at guitarist Becks 1960s work before, including and after the Yardbirds. Born in Surrey in 1944, the young Beck was a student of the piano before being inspired to take up the guitar after hearing Buddy Holly & The Crickets and made his first guitar himself in woodwork lessons at school.

After forming his first group in the very early 1960s he played in many groups in the South London area largely imitating the Shadows Hank Marvin. Beck briefly played with future lease of the Monster Raving Loony Party, Screaming Lord Sutch cutting the single "Draculas Daughter" which opens this CD. Becks pre-Yardbirds career is represented by two more rare singles "The Fits & Starts" and "The Nightshift" whose "That's My Story" was penned by Time Rice. That records b-side "Stormy Monday Blues" pointed the way the British music scene was being overtaken by American R&B.

One of the most popular R&B groups were the Yardbirds who featured Eric Clapton on guitar who left the group dissatisfied with the groups move from R&B to psychedelic pop. Beck auditioned and joined the group in March 1965. The four singles Beck cut with Yardbirds, "Heart Full Of Soul", "Evil Hearted You", "Still I'm Sad" and "Shapes Of Things" are amongst the best of that era thanks to weird sounds and effects Beck got out of his guitar. However by the end of 1966 Beck was out of the Yardbirds to be replaced by Jimmy Page. Beck then appeared on a single by Johns Children before a certain Marc Bolan joined that group.

Shortly afterwards came the single that is the best known Jeff Beck record "Hi Ho Silver Lining" which is ironic as he is said to dislike the record which has become a 60s revival disco favourite. The singles flip side was the far superior "Becks Bolero", an instrumental featuring Jimmy Page and Who drummer Keith Moon amongst others. By the time that single was in the charts Beck had already formed the Jeff Beck Group featuring Rod Stewart on vocals and future Rolling Stone Ron Wood on bass. This group is credited as being slightly ahead of Led Zeppelin in developing the blues / hard rock style which was soon to become so popular. Unfortunately the Jeff Beck are represented in their own right on this collection by just one track "Rock My Plimsoul", although both sides of a single with Donovan, the hit "Barabajagal" are included. The Jeff Beck Group only lasted for two albums. The final tracks on this compilation of Becks work in the 60s are tracks backing the all groupie GTO's produced by Frank Zappa, a very acquired taste.

After another stab at hard rockin in Beck, Bogart and Appice, the latter two being in the American Group Vanilla Fudge, Becks work with producer George martin took him into the Jazz Fusion market.

Derek McCann

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