The Jeff Beck Group - Truth (1968)

The Jeff Beck group were an English rock band originally active in the late 60s, led by guitarist Jeff Beck.

When Jeff Beck left The Yardbirds in 1967 (leaving Jimmy Page as the band's guitarist), he went on to form a new group with singer Rod Stewart (who had previously been in The Steampacket) and rhythm guitarist Ron Wood. Bassists and drummers changed regularly, until they settled on Aynsley Dunbar on drums, and Wood switched over to bass. The band released a single, "Hi Ho Silver Lining", which became a chart hit at #14, before Dunbar left and was replaced by Mickey Waller (who had been in The Steampacket with Stewart). After their next two singles failed to chart, they were ready to throw in the towel, until road manager Peter Grant booked them for a short US tour, where they proved massively popular. Back home in England, he secured them an album contract with Epic Records.
Their debut album, Truth, came out in 1968. It proved to be something very exciting, a heavy blues-rock fusion that was entirely new at the time. Driven by Beck's experimental, blues-styled guitar riffs and solos, it effectively paved the way for the hard rock that was to come, and is often credited as being the first glimpse of what would later emerge as heavy metal. Rod Stewart's gritty, soulful vocals were the perfect foil for Beck's guitar, and Wood and Waller provided a solid rhythm section. Keyboards were provided by session men Nicky Hopkins and John Paul Jones. The songs included two Willie Dixon classics ("You Shook Me" and "I Ain't Superstitous"), a reworking of the Yardbirds hit "Shapes Of Things", Bonnie Dobson's folk classic "Morning Dew", and a couple of originals which were obviously 'inspired by' a couple of other classic blues numbers. More surprisingly, there were versions of the traditional English tune "Greensleeves" and "Ol' Man River" (from the musical Show Boat).
The most interesting song of the album was the stunning instrumental "Beck's Bolero", which wasn't actually recorded by the Jeff Beck Group. On this song Beck was backed by Jimmy Page on rhythm guitar, John Paul Jones on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano and The Who's Keith Moon on drums. It was actually recorded back in '66 when Beck was still in the Yardbirds, and had been the b-side of "Hi Ho Silver Lining".
Truth was a success, and reached #15 on the album charts. Alongside Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin, The Jeff Beck Group were pivotal in taking rock into heavier territories and paved the way for heavy metal.

|> Beck-Ola (1969)
More from The Jeff Beck Group



Ron said...

This is a nice synopsis of the original Jeff Beck Group and the development of "Truth". This is still one of my all-time favorite albums. I was 2 when it came out, but when I heard it years later, Beck's musicianship knocked me out. Rod, Ronnie, Mickey and Nicky did quite a job as well to make the record sound as great as it does.

doug denslowe said...

Truth is the album I used to give my friends for their birthdays.I knew it was a Classic and an album they most likely didn't have or even heard of.The original Jeff Beck Group was the best band around,for the five minutes they were together.Had they stuck together,played Woodstock I'm sure they would have been as big as Led Zepplin.It saddens me that Beck could never find a suitable replacement for Rod Steward,he went on to record some mediocre albums before abondoning rock to go to play jazz.Blues rockers loss.At least we got two LPs from the Jeff Beck Group.

doug denslowe said...

Back in March I said,"at least we got two LP's from the Jeff Beck Group".Since I last wrote that I've found a dozen "Live" Jeff Beck Group albums that range from great (Jeff Beck Group at the BBC) to terrible.The Fillmore shows are great,and since I love Rod Steward back when he was still an unknown,trying to overshawdow Beck,and steal the show,these albums are like a wet dream come to life!The Jeff Beck Group was always my favorite band that never "made it" as big as they should have.The reason is easy to see now;Jeff's refusal to play Woodstock,give his bandmates enough credit and being Jeff Beck.(I hate calling my heroes assholes.....)I still am angry that the JBG didn't stay together to record and take over he world;Led Zepplin did that for them.Anyway,I've got these albums to listen to and every note is like gold!