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Blow By Blow

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iTunes Review

Of the triumvirate of guitar gods to emerge from The Yardbirds’ brief, if monumentally influential original ‘60s incarnation, Jeff Beck was arguably the most gifted. Yet the enduring success of Beck’s pioneering 1975 instrumental fusion album belies its creatively restless ancestry. Having bolted the ‘birds for a pair of Rod Stewart-vocalized heavy electric blues albums that essentially became the template for fellow former-Yardie Jimmy Page’s Led Zeppelin, Jeff then lurched into the r&b/jazz inflected incarnation of the second Jeff Beck Group, reversed course into heaviness again via a misfired collaboration with Vanilla Fudge’s Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice, then rebuffed an offer to join the Rolling Stones before hooking up with ex-Beatles producer George Martin to forge this album. It remains one of his most satisfying and successful. While fusion has long since gotten an oft-deserved bad rep for self-indulgence, the Beck/Martin collaboration here is one of elegant, jazz-suffused subtlety. Whether he’s adding some playful, wah-wah pedaled funk to Lennon-McCartney’s “She’s A Woman,” lighting up “Freeway Jam” with patent fretboard fireworks or wringing every melancholy from Stevie Wonder’s “’Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers,” Beck’s playing is powered by a an emotionally charged lyricism all his own. Ample evidence of why JB fans would rather hear their hero play two notes than any other guitarist play 200. 

Customer Reviews

Desert island material

This should be on any short list of recordings you'd take into exile on a desert island. Simply a stunning album. Beck is inventive and expressive, and by working with the band instead of letting it work for him he creates powerful and diverse pieces. The drumwork is superbly rich, part of the dense rhythmic drive. One of the best fusion efforts ever and it easily stands the test of time.

This album is funktastic!

I'm not even sure this counts as rock. This is Jeff Beck's best album.. Every song sounds like It could be the soundtrack to a Steve McQueen car chase. BUY IT FREAKIN' NOW!

music for the whole family

I'm now in my 50's - dug this immensely when it came out. My brother, 10 years years younger, picked it up from me... now his son, a rock drummer in his 20's, hears it like it was brand new. Beck remains one of the essential voices.


Born: June 24, 1944 in Wallington, Surrey, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While he was as innovative as Jimmy Page, as tasteful as Eric Clapton, and nearly as visionary as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck never achieved the same commercial success as any of those contemporaries, primarily because of the haphazard way he approached his career. After Rod Stewart left the Jeff Beck Group in 1971, Beck never worked with a charismatic lead singer who could have helped sell his music to a wide audience. Furthermore, he was simply too idiosyncratic, moving from heavy metal to jazz fusion...
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