(Epic / Legacy)
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2006, Volume 13, #11
Written by John Metzger
Released in 1968, Jeff Beck’s solo debut Truth is a mess of an album. Within the span of its 10 tracks, he — along with vocalist Rod Stewart, bass player Ron Wood, and drummer Micky Waller — left few stones unturned as they connected show tunes (Old Man River) with apocalyptic folk (Morning Dew) and Yardbirds classics (Shapes of Things) with pastoral tradition (Greensleeves). Likewise, tucked amidst the set’s material, which sprang from a series of sessions that were held in May 1968, was a faux live cut (Blues De Luxe) as well as the psych-rock instrumental Beck’s Bolero, which was plucked from an aborted 1966 collaboration with Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, John Paul Jones, and Nicky Hopkins.
Although its components never fully congealed into a unified whole, Truth played an important role in rock history. For starters, it helped to launch the careers of Stewart and Wood, but more importantly it provided the lynchpin between the amplified blues-rock of Cream and Jimi Hendrix and the heavy metal thunder of Led Zeppelin and its myriad of followers. Not surprisingly, the tracks from Truth that fared best were the reinvented, Willie Dixon-penned tunes You Shook Me and I Ain’t Superstitious as well as Rock My Plimsoul and Blues De Luxe, both of which were swiped from B.B. King. On all four cuts, Stewart’s tortured vocals melded with Beck’s explosive, scorched earth leads, while Wood and Waller conjured an ominously dark undercurrent of rhythm.
Recently remastered, Truth has been augmented with eight bonus selections, including alternate renditions of You Shook Me, Beck’s Bolero, and Rock My Plimsoul. In addition, Blues De Luxe appears without the annoying audience track that was affixed to its final version, while the singles Tallyman, Love Is Blue, and Hi Ho Silver Lining provide a glimpse at Beck’s less than durable forays into pop. The highlight, however, is the exquisitely soulful I’ve Been Drinking, on which Stewart fully steals the show with his impassioned vocal delivery. All things considered, Truth is a mixed bag, yet its wildly divergent textures showcase the era of the ’60s for what it was — a boundary-free playground that every indie outfit since has tried to recreate.
Of Further Interest...
Truth [Expanded / Remastered] is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box