Jeff Beck : Destroyer Of Expectations

There’s always sadness and upset when well-respected artists pass away, the ones who touch us are rare. And Jeff Beck, famous in some circles  famous for that one let’s-get-in-circle party song, ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’, held people’s delight because he was able to make his guitar speak, communicate, few can do that.

But for me, I loved him for something else too. Jeff Beck was what you wanted hom to be but not what you expected him to be aswell; he was not prepared to simply replicate.

A great example of that?

Loud Hailer

Credit; Radial Energy

From 2016, this is Jeff Beck’s last orginal album. And when released, it didn’t do badly, for a small time, backed as it was by record co Atco.

But looking at a review comment from Rolling Stone brings some other comments about the album to my memory. They said;

‘Here, his guitar is the most articulate voice in the room.’

And that’s an interesting point; this political, feisty, musically mixed up album doesn’t always sit well, sometimes sounds like different voices stuck together and can be jarring.

That’s why I like it.

Jeff Beck never conformed to what might have been expected of him, which is what I like most about him, but I understand entirely those who prefer to place him in the Blues world.

Both those things are entirely valid and Loud Hailer actually tried to push both those things together – I reckon he really managed it. As Louder said;

‘It’s rare that Jeff Beck does the obvious when it comes to guest vocalists. He may be one of British rock’s most revered figures, but cosying up to bankable superstar divas clearly isn’t his thing.’

New Energy

He liked working with new people, did Jeff Beck. And this time it was Rosie Bones and Carmen Vandenberg, both of Bones, both using rap and beats, both bringing an energy, particularly Rosie’s agitational energy.

Just cock an ear to opener ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’, which of course has a narrative Gil Scott Heron rap, but also has an overarching dirty Blues goodness, the face front energy and guitar scorch work so well together.

And with ‘Pull It’, the crash of the drum machine melds with that fizz, fuzz and stuttering riff, opening the door to a filthy feeling solo.

Agit Prop Pop?

Loud Hailer doesn’t hide its political anger, but neither is it a Rage Against The Machine howl, it has a worldweary anger, a feeling of telling us rather than a hope to resolve the problems.

And the Evening Standard?

‘Jeff Beck’s first album in six years is already out of date on Thugs’ Club, a bluesy screed against our leaders, including “David” and “his ignorant statements brainwashing my nation”. You can picture the veteran guitarist spluttering at Sky News on Monday lunchtime.’

that’s what good AgitProp does, raises comment and view…

And so ‘Thugs Club’ has lyrics about who wins wars with a nasty, sassy, half rap of self belief and a mess of music to match the mood, whilst ‘O.I.L (Can’t Get Enough Of That Sticky)’ pops that bass and mines a grimy Funk seam that Keziah Jones enjoys so well, whilst the words? They mix that liquid with lasciviousness and make this track the standout.

Newer And Older

The closing track, ‘Shrine’ has a size and an openness which almost puts this lilting, lovely track on a museum shelf.

But this music never allows that. It searches for new music and says ‘can we work together?’

Loud Hailer does. Should Jeff Beck have done this? Yes. Why did we ever think he shouldn’t? Why did we ever think he couldn’t?

Jeff Beck was different. RIP.

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