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The techniques that Beck demonstrates in this album is quite advanced in nature. Keep on proggin'.! There is no doubting Jeff Beck's stature as one of the top guitar players ever. He has however tended to be under-recognised when compared to his peers such as Clapton and Hendrix. This can in part be explained by the fact that he is more of a team player, his contributions to bands such as The Yardbirds and even his own Jeff Beck group usually being devoid of the virtuoso style of Eric and Jimi, Where Were You - Jeff Beck With Terry Bozzio And Tony Hymas - Jeff Becks Guitar Shop (CD.
Beck began setting the record straight with his jazz fusion influenced albums of the late 's, and continues the process with this release. This album is almost exclusively instrumental although there is spoken word on track oneBeck being accompanied by drummer Terry Bozzio and keyboard player Tony Hymas. The early tracks on the album focus on the rock side of Jeff's repertoire, Album) having a strong rhythm and some incisive guitar.
The track structures are kept pretty simple, Beck remaining firmly centre stage throughout. Overall, there is a certain coldness to the tracks here, the guitar playing being technically supreme but often lacking in emotion.
Even on reflective numbers such as the delicate "Where were you", Beck's focus appears to be on playing the notes with absolute precision. This in turn leads to me appreciating the album rather than actually enjoying it.
Those who seek to hear a guitar maestro playing in top form need look no further. Savoy is a straight ahead, upbeat rocker, with a classic Beck sound. Big Block is a grinding blues song, where you would almost believe the band had a bass player. My favorite track on the disk is Day In The House, where Hymas lays down a weird techno track for Beck to play over, with vocals speaking lines presumably from the British House of Lords. If you like Jeff Beck, you should love this album. Yet the foul taste left in my mouth from the sell-out that was "Flash" lingered and, mostly out of spite, I avoided this record for a very, very long time.
It wasn't until these last few years mainly through television exposures that I finally realized that Beck is not only just as good as ever but continuing to get better with age. I've started to go back and listen to what he's been doing for the last two decades and have come to the conclusion that I was foolishly hurting no one but myself by boycotting Jeff. He got over "Flash" and moved on. I didn't.
And that was to my detriment. I've been an admirer of Terry Bozzio since his days as part of one of my guilty pleasures, the quirky band Missing Persons, and so I knew that his contributions would be sizeable. The record's namesake cut opens the album with Terry demanding your undivided attention via punchy, ringing drums as Jeff prods and teases as only he can with wild axe noises as Bozzio verbally injects reams of slick salesman-worthy "industry jargon" heard frequently in the retail guitar biz.
There's no discernable melody but that's okay, they opt to take you on a driving, raucous carnival ride through a scintillating maze of sounds. A heavy rock riff sets the tone for "Savoy," a funky locomotive of a tune wherein Beck shows he hasn't lost his infatuation with the effects that were constantly being introduced during the 80s ad nauseum.
While these gadgets often detracted from his prowess on "Wired" and, to a lesser extent, on "There and Back," here he demonstrates a modicum of restraint in his employment of them without sacrificing any of the energy they can generate. Tony's "Behind the Veil" is next and Terry's strong but subtle reggae beat propels this song provocatively.
Jeff draws upon his knack for melodic runs and Hymas' synthesizers provide a stability and depth of field that corrals and tempers the volatility of his two cohorts. Bozzio lays down a menacing, heavy blues beat for "Big Block," a hard-hitting track that takes the listener through some intriguing twists and turns. Beck is simply amazing as he tosses in one maniacal lick after another. This is one hot tune. In an abrupt display of contrast, however, they then produce the serene "Where Were You.
Beck's masterful ability to manipulate guitar harmonics is damn near supernatural and never as much as on this beautiful number. It's heavenly. The hypnotic spell the trio weaves is suddenly broken, however, by the following cut, "Stand On It. The song's progressive, upwardly mobile structure is highly satisfying and Jeff's slide guitar solo is suitably demonic.
For "A Day in the House" Terry once again mans the mike to recite a bossy, authoritarian soliloquy that gives this song a giddy, eclectic spin.
Hymas' keyboards are bright and dazzling, offering a point of reference to counterbalance Beck's entertaining shenanigans. The track's multi-layered construction is imaginative and colorful.
They then shift degrees for "Two Rivers. Jeff's guitar is ever so expressive and penetrating yet he never lets himself get mushy or condescending as to detract from the emotional impact of the central melody.
The band closes with "Sling Shot," a startling wakeup call that rudely rouses you from the reverie induced by the previous track. They hone a sharp edge on this one and it races like a formula one car on a straightaway. There's nary a dull moment to be found as all three participants get a chance to get their ya-yas out. Fasten your seat belts, kids, and don't go sticking your head out the window. You may, with ample reason, label me crazy as a loon but I find that many of the songs on "Guitar Shop" remind me of Weather Report in that they have unpredictable arrangements and no discernable allegiance to tradition.
It may be that Beck, during his self-imposed vacation, rediscovered his inner rebel and cast off any misplaced inclinations toward trying to appeal to the video-addicted public, allowing his muse to guide him back to what he does best - letting his guitar do all the talking. I wish I'd not acted like a sulking cuckold and ignored this album when it came out in October of ' You live, you Where Were You - Jeff Beck With Terry Bozzio And Tony Hymas - Jeff Becks Guitar Shop (CD, as Alanis sang.
Three and a half stars for this baby. After "Flash", "Guitar Shop" definitely shows Jeff Beck back in his element and shows a drastic increase in musical quality.
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