Album review: Jeff Beck Live at B.B. King’s Blues Club (Remaster)

Beck at his best.

Friday Music, known for fairly naff recordings in the remaster arena has outdone themselves on this CD, producing a disc full of dynamics, air and clarity, no easy task, especially with a live recording.  Getting back to basics with the original trio featured on Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop, the master guitarist teams up with former mates Terry Bozio on drums and Tony Hymas on keyboards in the classic power trio format.

The set begins with “Roy’s Toy” from the Grammy Award winning You Had it Coming, ablaze with heavier distortion than Beck has used on more recent live releases, particularly the Live at Ronnie Scott’s disc that should be in your collection if you are a true Jeff Beck aficionado. Beck mixes it up, zooming through a wide range of material, though not relying as heavily on the Blow by Blow and Wired records as he has done often.  Yet even these tracks are played with a frenzied passion and tempo, reminding you that even in his early 50’s, Jeff Beck still had the intensity and versatility that made him so special when he first burst on the scene. Beck loves to add guest female vocalists to his live performances, but the liner notes are no clue as to who sits in on “Seasons.”  We’ll have to wait until the DVD.

With only very brief breaks for applause, Beck changes gears like a perfectly shimmed Muncie four speed and has the instantaneous response of a fuel injected V8, playing softly near the threshold of hearing one second and then exploding with a run of notes at maximum warp the next. Rumour has it that Beck introduces “A Day in the Life” into his live set for the first time here, trading some of the polish that Beck brings to it today, for a more raw, more intimate view of a track that would soon become a concert staple.

Though Jeff Beck is still turning in stellar performances today, where he has been much more available to audiences, this record provides an excellent snapshot of a time when his live shows were fewer and further in-between, ending the record at full throttle with “My Thing” from Beck’s then current Jeff album.

This particular recording was made available only briefly online in 2004, and for an even shorter time as a Japanese CD in 2006. Hats off to Friday Music for making this stellar performance available to a wider audience. (And at a reasonable price!)

The CD  is available here.

1 Comment

  • Nick says:

    How nice if it was possible to buy higher quality versions (than CD) of music such as this for download. CD is becoming a major limiting factor to music, and yet there is so little decent music available for download beyond iTunes Plus’s 256k.

    Yes, I love Jeff Beck’s music and still listen to my Vinyls

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