The re-release of Beck Ola w/ the Bonus tracks and the appearance of Ronnie Wood onstage at Jeff Beck’s 60th Birthday Albert Hall concert have paved the way for something long overdue. Most other British rock giants (and Hendrix since he spent a lot of early time with his Experience around the mid sixties London scene) that got spawned in the sixties have had a proper treatment by the BBC in the way of official and unofficial releases of their BBC appearances. What is available of Jeff’s BBC tenure is unfortunately scattered between the genius and foresight of Gregg Geller’s Yardbird’s BBC compilation, and the generations of scattered tapes and boots most of which leave something to be desired due to lack of access to master tapes. 1967 saw Jeff on the BBC numerous times in the interesting schizoid state between Mickey Most’s efforts to make him a pop star and Jeff’s ground breaking attempts to put various personnel together to take electric blues and R&B to a much more intense heavier immediate sound. One off appearances for “You’ll Never Get To Heaven”(68) with unknown accompanying musicians (probably BBC at that time “Finishers” as they called them led by John Paul Jones and various studio musicians) countered with the crazy urgency of Buddy Guy’s “Stone Crazy”(67) and Jeff’s venture into the straight Claptonesque w/Mayall Les Paul/Marshall blues sound on the blues tune where Rod just comes in to sing on the last bit of the tune.(67) all are easily available but none with anything but cleaned up low and high end filters off radio recordings and second generation tapes.
Ronnie Wood if you will recall started off for Jeff not only as a bass player but as the back-up guitarist as well. Here is where intrigue abounds for a lot of the earlier BBC stuff as well as later alternate versions of tracks on Truth to which both Jeff, EMI, and most importantly the BBC could set straight. Some of the dates listed by various dubious sources for later 1967 BBC show broadcasts just do not coincide with the brief limited time in early 67 that Ronnie played back-upbefore Ainsley Dunbar arrived on drums and Woody was switched to bass. Yet you HEAR another guitar on a lot of the above mentioned tracks as well as “I’m Losing You.” Was the bass on those Dave Ambrose or not? Some of the alternate versions of Truth tracks aired on the BBC in 1968 also have second guitar on them but it sounds like Jeff’s style of playing chords. Were these done live for the BBC? Did Jeff or Most hand the BBC alternate Truth tracks to play instead of the band doing a live performance? Since they were recorded for a John Peel production of BBC shows might they have been recorded and then overdubbed by Jeff?
“Sweetest Little Angel” was a great treat to hear on Beck-Ola re-released. However there is just as dynamite packed version of it done by the Jeff Beck Group in the Fall of 68 on the BBC. Plus Jeff talks about the funky groove they were getting into on one track on the Beck-ola booklet. That was “Mother’s Old Rice Pudding’ done on the beeb around the same time. Describing it as funky doesn’t do it justice! Yet it needs the original masters to put it along with the others in it’s proper historical as well as listenable perspective. Sure there are a couple of gaffs just as every band in those days made on the live stuff. However it’s all out there on the edge, emotional, enlightening, and most of all classic Jeff Beck sound for that period of time. Let’s hope that Jeff and the BBC agree.
I was able to be a part of the audience for the 1st night’s show via an unnamed bloke who took a great audience DVD of the whole event. That first tune Resolution seems on 1st listen to have been the impetus for BBA’s unreleased “Solid Lifter” (broadcast on FM from the Jan. 24th 1974 London Rainbow shows as the intro to “Jizz Whizz. Mark Mondesir and his brother were tight throughout the show the former in overtly splendid fashion..a cross between Michael Walden and Terry Bozzio. Jan’s Korg was mixed and blended very well. Some of the soloing and jamming were very specific and reverted back to the days when Jeff would exhort to the press about that brand of instrumental rock being very specific with the realization that there was still room for experimentation within that framework on a nightly basis. It was heartwarming to see Jeff and Jan again pointing to each other when they knew the other was coming in with something great or to get the audience to pay due. There is nothing sweeter than to hear Jeff annotate on the slow stuff which thankfully abounded as well. Daylight Robbery was heavenly. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat was every bit as emotional as when Wired hit the streets. The newer stuff (Brush With Blues, Angel Footsteps, and Nadia were all worthy of all the whammy bar ringing, ever so subtle slide accents, and above the frets magic that we have all loved in Jeff Beck’s playing for so many years. Just as a lot of listeners tend to forget how good a slide player Jeff is, they also forget how mature and understated lovely he is on acoustic.
Voyage Home was very tasteful moment in bridging the whole concert. The point in the show where I gave the biggest cheer was during Even Odds. The recorded version on Who Else in my opinion should have had the melodic counterpoint climb of Jan Hammer more than just the one time. This evening Jan dove back into it for the second time during the number and it allowed me to enjoy Jeff’s soloing more on top of the main lick reminiscent of a Beck Ola type Ronnie Wood bass line………Which brings us to ‘ol Ronnie. Never mind that he was three sheets to the wind. The mere presence of Woody onstage brought Jeff to his knees literally in exaltation and laughter which the audience could enjoy. Ironically Jeff chose “Cissy Strut” (the old funky Meter’s classic) to play with Ronnie. The irony is that tune was one of four that he played while being that same number of sheets to the wind that evening in NY, circa 1970 where he was duped and Music From Free Creek (labeled Rippoffsville by Jeff) was thus released with Jeff (and Clapton) refusing to be named hence the Charlie Parker reference A.N.Other. Let’s not forget the girls. They if you recall have been a big part of Jeff’s session history. (Tina Turner, Dianna Ross, and even Patti Labelle at the Sting produced Rainforest Benefit) Nancy Moire may not be Lulu but she has that gutsey, bluesy, low gravelly voice that Jeff used to reprise his recent Red, White, and Blues session “Cry Me A River. Imogen Heap is truly unique in voice, costume, and appearance and did one her own tunes (which Jeff soloed nicely on) and a rousing rendition of “Rollin’and Tumblin”)
Maybe the number of “holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall” tonight was materialized in the proper place in the form of “Day In A Life” which Jan Hammer was obviously relishing with the authentic sounding staccato chords during the bridge. The encores seemed far too short (I wanted them to last forever) and “People Get Ready” found Imogen Heap again doing the vocals and Ronnie Wood back to prance around (in that trench coat that can hide all the wine bottles - see backstage Atlanta issue #11) and have fun with Jeff which brought Mr. Beck to exclaim to the audience as he himself was howling with laughter “We love him (Ronnie) anyways!
Be seeing You....Dick
Jim (Ian Duncan…really Ian Duncombe) Duncombe , Guitarist for the Deltones prior to Jeff:
“I can't really remember how Jeff and I first met, so I'll start with the "Deltones" rehearsals at the "Trojan" works. Jeff appeared there with his friend Ian Buisel (don’t rely on my spelling). I was lead guitar with The Deltones and the most vervant Cliff Gallup fan on Earth.....and I had made what some sources say was the first "Tape Echo" unit in the UK. The Echo consisted of an "Elizabethan" tape recorder with a second reply head glued onto the deck to give the same delay Gene Vincent's early albums had. This was a great source of envy for many a Cliff G fan and it gave me a definite edge...and, I had some of Cliff's licks down - at least it sounded like I did with my unit. Jeff and I used to jam together at the rehearsals and occasionally, somewhat reluctantly, I'd let him plug into my Echo box. Jeff may have been about 16 or 17 then and the year could have been 1959/60. The subsequent events are now a bit faded with time but I remember that Sonny Stewart asked me to join his band "Sonny Stewart & The Dynamo's". They worked the U.S bases like "Chicksands" "Brise Norton" and "Bushy Park" and actually got paid for doing it. Jeff took my place with "Derek Burchall & The Deltones" (again - my spelling) and I last saw him play with them at Saint Margaret's Hall in Putney. He had progressed amazingly and had a (Watkins "Copy-Cat" I believe) echobox. They played Gene's "I've Got to Get to You Yet" and it sounded too good. A year or so later I was in Croydon auditioning for a second guitarist for my band in Germany and Jeff turned up. We jammed and Jeff played really wild creative stuff. But I was looking for a second guitar for a cover band and this was not it. That day I did Jeff and the whole world a great favour by not taking him to Germany. Unfortunately we've not met since. Please don’t quote me on the dates that I mentioned but feel free to correct them if you have reliable source. I'd love to meet Jeff again. Perhaps you'd pass my email address to his manager. Incidentally, I've lived in Zürich since 1965 (except for a couple of years in Henley and more recently in Nashville) Kind regards Jim DuncombeDavid Bunce, Official UPP guitarist on the second LP, ALL TRACKS RELEASED SUBSEQUENT TO THE SECOND LP NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS, and touring guitarist for UPP::
“ I was the guitarist on “This Way Upp” (except noted Jeff contribution) and ALL the pirated albums over the years” “The (UPP) jam with Carmine and Tim Bogert was at Jeff’s house. The band used to go and socialize with Jeff and it was at one of those gatherings that the jam took place” “Say hi to Jeff and Ralph for me. They are really nice people”Roger Dean, Guitarist for John Mayall prior to Eric Clapton:
Hello Dick, I thought I'd drop you a couple of yarns from the 60's as promised. The first one concerns Jeff Beck.... When I was a Bluesbreaker, we used to frequently play at 'Eel Pie Island' and getting the gear across the Thames to the old hotel was accomplished by means of an old minivan. We would stash drumkits, hammonds, leslie speakers, guitars, women, everything used to go inside, or on the top of the van. We would look the other way and hope for the best, while the van set off across a rickety old bridge with about 30 feet of water underneath it !! Jeff often used to play on the same bill with his band 'The Tridents' To save hassle, Jeff would use my old Vox AC30, and we would normally start the proceedings with a couple of pints of cider and guinness. I used to listen to Jeff's playing very closely, because even then he was head and shoulders above most of the guitar competition. He was getting some sounds that I'd never heard before, and I was trying to be cool, so I didn't ask how he did it. Anyway, to cut a long story short, Jeff turned up at my flat in Earls Court one afternoon with a mutual friend, and I was fooling around with a Cliff Gallup/Chet Atkins type lick that I used to use in 'Berry's Boogie' Fair exchange being no robbery, he nicked my lick, and he told me the SECRET...... Well I'm sorry guys, but I've never told anyone the secret for 40 years, and I sure don't intend to give it away now!!! I'll give you a clue, it can only be done on a Telecaster. The second story concerns one James Hendrix. I was working with 'Ronnie Jones and the Bluejays' at the 'Bag of Nails' club behind Regent street, and at that time we were a 10 piece band with the added talents of PP Arnold on vocals. We'd finished the first set, and were about to go on for the second, which was a very tight medley of 5 or 6 soul classics. All of a sudden this wild figure with huge hair and a cloak loomed down on me through the smoke and asked if he could borrow my guitar and jam with the band. At that time, no-one had actually seen Jimi play, as he'd only just arrived from the States. We'd heard all sorts of rumours about this American nutter that eats guitars for breakfast, and I had visions of him tucking into my Gretsch 6120, so I tried to be polite and said sort of maybe another time (cringe!) Jimi was a bit offended and left the club, so I never got to know him. I didn't realise until quite recently that my guitar was conventionally strung, so if he'd flipped it upside down... the strings would still have been upside down to him !! so he must have been able to play with either the first string at the top OR the bottom. I suppose that settles an old argument ....what a great trick !!! All the best, Roger DeanIan Jennings: Bassist of the Big Town Playboys
Hi Dick, I got your email forwarded from Zoe. Thanks for the interest in the Jeff Beck and Playboys recording session. You asked about the lost track from the Vincent sessions. It's title is "I got a thing about you baby" and was done originally by a Sun Records singer called Billy Lee Riley in the mid seventies (so it wasn't on Sun.) Hope this helps! I've done a few sessions with Jeff since then including "All the Kings Men" (That was a hell of a weekend!). He's playing guitar on the new Playboys album (Yet to be released) on a Rockabilly track called "Look out Mabel". The track also has Robert Plant guesting on vocals. We had a great time recording with Jeff, He's so rock n roll. We recorded live, the only way to record rock n roll properly. Have you seen the blues film "Red White and Blues" featuring Jeff, Tom Jones and Van Morrison. If you look closely you'll spot me playing bass. Once again thanks for your interest, all the best, Ian Jennings.
Gary Husband, who recently backed up Jeff at the UK Hall Of Fame Awards. Hi Dick, Thanks for your enquiry.
It was, indeed, a great pleasure to be asked at short notice to perform with Jeff and the Mondesirs on the UK Hall Of Fame Awards show. Jeff Beck is one of my perennial favourite favourites from way back - let me make that perfectly clear! - so, it was wonderful to get to hang with him more at length, have some great conversations, and to get to have some great jams in rehearsals together, too!
As you know Dick, the Mondesirs and I recorded a performance DVD together, (Gary Husband/Mondesir Brothers Collaboration - "To The Power Of Three" - RSJ Groove) quite recently. We also played a date in Germany together shortly before that, so we had been getting quite a few things going in this direction, as a new three-piece. The fact that this TV show came up for Jeff quite quickly, I guess, prompted him to consult the brothers on ideas for a keyboardist who could come in short notice. I was only too happy to oblige!
There's always kind of a tangled story to things, though, and this is no exception. As you may know I am active both as a drummer and a keyboardist - to equal extent. Some years ago I was I was asked by another old favourite (and very good friend) John McLaughlin to perform on drums for this track on John's album "The Promise". However, since I was on tour playing keyboards with Billy Cobham in the U.S. at the time it was impossible (and regretable) that I couldn't make it. Of course, it was the track which reunited John and Jeff together - "Django", but, I was more than happy to see that John then contacted Mark Mondesir to play on it. I was very happy for Mark that it happened that way. More recently, I learned of Mark and Mike's subsequent involvement in Jeff's work with Jan Hammer on board once again - (another one of my very favourite musicians from a long time ago) - unfortunately I was not able to attend and hear any of those UK shows.
The aforementioned DVD (of myself and the brothers) proved to be quite recently inspirational in prompting John McL. to invite myself, Mark and Mike to perform with him this coming April - as a quartet now! So this'll be another hugely pleasurable opportunity. A prospect, (now we've played), there may be a possibility to do something with Jeff again, down the road somewhere, of course, would just be a lovely thing. It's one of the great things about being a musician though, of course - about being alive, really! - you never know!!
Jim McCarty, drummer extrodinaire for The Yardbirds...
Hi Dick - Nice to hear from you, no problem linking the sites. My Blind Life was in fact recorded in Jeff's house with an engineer from Hastings. He had a drum kit there already set up which sounded great. I don't know how many tracks they used on drums - they used two A-Dats for the recording. Have you seen the Chevy ad? Best Wishes Jim
Another world renowned popular music artist clearly deserving recognition with a huge following in the U K is the late Reggae master Bob Marley. Former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion and British subject Lenox Lewis introduced the Marley multi-media tribute after which Rita Marley accepted the lifetime achievement award on behalf of her late husband. The musical tribute to Bob Marley “Is This Love” was sung by the R&B diva Beverly Knight and embellished by the rhythm section of the Mondesir brothers and Gary Husband on keyboards Wait you can’t have that lineup without adding Jeff Beck to the “mix” can you? Certainly not. Jeff Beck laid down some utterly scrumptious tasteful lead guitar as well as accentuating in a very forceful way the rhythmic Reggae riffs and hooks of that tune.
After being introduced as he deserves at the top of the British rock guitar hierarchy, the announcer aptly described Jeff as a guitarist whom many have simulated “both on real and air (guitar)”. Jeff’s high leads were mixed perfectly, timed well, and received royally by both the crowd and Ms. Knight who in the tradition of other singers playing with Mr. Beck in the past had to somehow give an appreciative gesture. (Stevie Wonder “Do it Jeff” in the middle of “Looking For Another Pure Love”; Tina Turner screaming “Jeff Beck” at the beginning of the solo to “Steel Claw”; Mick Jagger imploring “Go get ‘em Jeff” during “Little Red Rooster at the Throwaway video shoot) Instead of singing his name, Beverly walked over to Jeff and reached down to plunk the string that gave forth the final note to the ending of the performance. With that “I’m still nervous did I do ok?” look as he put down his guitar, (ed.note)(DUH!) Jeff triumphantly walked offstage hand in hand with Beverly Knight to thunderous audience applause.
No fan should be surprised of Jeff’s election to play a tribute centering on reggae. Besides the recent session “54 - 46 That’s My Number” for Toots And The Maytals, Jeff has posted a number of other tunes both his and others with reggae feels to them. Starting in chronological order they include “She’s A Woman”, “I Shall Be Released” (from the Secret Policeman’s Other Ball) “Behind The Veil”, and the unreleased “Sending Sweets” from the pre Who Else European 1998 summer tour.
Other highlights from the evening showcased many of Jeff’s mates and session acquaintances. Paul Rogers teamed up with Brian May and Queen with a rousing rendition of “We Are The Champions” as well as the Free Classic “All Right Now” with Pino Palladino pounding home the famous bass line solo. Blow By Blow and Wired producer George Martin accepted the lifetime achievement award for the Beatles. A sober and humbled Ronnie Wood accepted the sixties award for the Stones. After acknowledging that he wasn’t there then but is now, he reverted back to his humorous self quipping that the lads thought they should have also won for the seventies, eighties, nineties, and 2000’s! As if all that wasn’t enough the fabulous Ricky Nelson and later period Elvis guitarist James Burton came on for the Elvis tribute and did a solo performance of “Love Me Tender”.( Remember Jeff did some jamming with Burton around the time of the Slim Jim Phantom mid eighties get together when Jeff was toying with the idea of doing the rockabilly sound hot-rodder style with Jeff’s guitar.)
If future year’s shows are anything like this first one everyone is in for a real treat. I’m sure one of them will have another appearance for Jeff not as a musical guest but an inductee in his own right for more than as Jeff once put it to the Rock Hall Of Fame, more than "....just being a member of the Yardbirds." Collector fans will prize this performance broadcast on British TV as a centerpiece of the collection to be played and replayed. Good hunting!
Be seeing you!
After some opening acts that featured among others Mr. Jones, the R&B legendary Solomon Burke, and Chrissie Hynde, I spotted a good omen in Jool’s house band. Way in the background I could see a frail skeleton with his head now entirely bald and/or shaved with dark shades on and wringing the tambourine like there was no tomorrow. RAY COOPER, RAY COOPER,RAY COOPER I screamed in joy running around my apartment like a banshee gone wild (flashback to Keith Moon having just seen Link Wray in Boston and summarily donning a bee suit and terrorizing the halls of a certain Boston Hotel while screaming I’m a bee. I’m a Bee!!!) Clapton was almost right at the UK ARMS Show. “He’s (Ray Cooper) going to steal the show” (with his antics including knocking over a gong!) Almost right because the one person that did steal that show also came on to the same stage as Ray Copper and stole this one as well.
After warming the house up with his vocal/Duo Jet guitar duet with Tom Jones, “Be Bop A Lu La”, Jeff Beck later sauntered over to center stage at about ten ‘till midnight with his Stratocaster as Jool’s was busy introducing the segment with words about legendary………..that you know he knows that Jeff gets embarrassed about at times. Different from the from the get go over the top version that he did with the Jools Holland Orchestra on the More Friends lp, Jeff eased into the tune with style, grace, and the volume knob/whammy. I could go on for paragraphs about the performance with it’s every nuance and turn. It would not do this particular performance any justice. Let it suffice me to say as someone that is in this humble writer’s opinion, THIS IS THE DEFINITIVE JEFF BECK PERFORMANCE ON FILM EVER……PERIOD…… END OF QUOTE……!!!!!! Not only did the camera grasp every heel of hand on the bridgewhammy bending/finger stretching guitar technique extrodinaire, at one point Jeff just backed his left arm away from the guitar and whacked it from behind DETUNING IT MOMENTARILY… IN TUNE!!!!! As the song was approaching the horn section Coda, Jeff looked over to Jools at the piano to signal that he (Jeff) was ok to that final section start. No way. Jools and the band were going to let Jeff swing out in the breeze for a couple of more bars as Jeff obliged. Finally the horns did come n as Jeff then brought the song to it’s rightful end the same way he started it with style and grace. As the band was giving the ending crescendo Jeff was already doffing his axe and with a wave walked back to his table past the admiring horn section.
Jools Holland was in disbelief. “The AMAZING Jeff Beck ladies and gentlemen.” Walking towards his next cue, Jools suddenly muttered half under his breath “Some people can play it and some people can play it. Jeff Beck can PLAY IT.” Then with a sudden twist, Jools Holland whirled around ,threw his hands up in the air and repeated for the audience benefit “JEFF BECK” The cameras now picked up Jeff’s table with a shit eatin’ grinning and applauding Robert Plant. Jeff had no choice. He knew this was special. He threw his arm straight up in the air as an audience salute as his lady, a Sandra Jane beaming with pride repeatedly waved two fingers at him as if to say “ You’re not getting off lightly this time Jeff!” Stick around Jeff. As this website has said many times before……… you’ll turn out to be a decent guitar player.
Jeff also did "Be Bop A Lula" with Tom Jones, "Shake, Rattle And Roll" with Robert Plant, Tom Jones and Soloman Burke as well as Jool's band. Later Jeff and Robert Plant were said to be 'arm in arm' singing 'Auld Lang Syne'. The show ended with 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' with Robert Plant was singing backup vocals.
Here's what I can recollect about Jeff... I remember the excitement when Pete Brown said I would be playing bass behind Jeff (with Richard Bailey no less!!!). I showed up to the studio in Acton at around 11am. I had recommended Earl Green to Pete as a very good candidate for vocals, so we were standing near a door when Jeff's roadie came in. He set up a Marshall half stack in an isolation booth, nothing special, so I thought "I wonder if it's souped up or has been heavily reconditioned for Jeff to get his sound?" Later on I looked to the door, and out stepped Jeff carrying some little fender practice amp with an 8 inch speaker on his back no less. After I tried to wipe the grin from my face, I pointed Jeff in the direction of the control room. Pete Brown had informed me we were going to do 2 songs for the John Lee Hooker tribute album, "Hobo Blues" and "Will the circle be unbroken". Since Pete likes producing in a Miles Davis kind of vein, there was no musical preparation whatsoever for the most part. However, I had written a 8 bar phrase on manuscript paper that was similar to what L.A. Mass choir and a lot of churches where doing at the time. Pete liked it, so I presented it to the guys for a run through. I wrote it in a key different than the one we did the song in, but I thought the pianist wouldn't have any problem transposing the chords. I was wrong... I remember Jeff standing around the piano with us discussing chords and then the thought hit me, "Damn, Jeff knows his theory..., cool! In the control room before the choir showed up and asked for autographs en masse, Jeff was getting his sound together. The little speaker was miked up next to the half stack , and jeff had added a wha-wha pedal to the equation. I'm not sure how it was hooked up, but it looked like one speaker was for distortion and the other one was for the pedal. I'm really not sure... I asked Jeff why he didn't use a pick, he said "I used to but, I just kept dropping the bloody things!" I went into the studio and used a Gallien-Krueger MB150, 12 inch practice amp. Richard Bailey was in the room with me to communicate better. Jeff was in the control room and basically out of sight. Earl was in a separate room. The engineer, Ben Matthews (guitarist for the rock band Thunder) asked us to set up a groove so he could get levels. We started jamming and Jeff jumped in to the fray. Jeff and Richard had worked together a long time until recently. Richard had been hired by Jeff to play on Blow by Blow when he was 17 or 18, and they had a chemistry. I figured I had to groove and keep it interesting. After everybody was happy with the levels, I asked somebody, " How does Hobo Blues go? I've never heard the song!" The reply was, "It's basically one chord, you'll get it." Earl had been singing something, but since I didn't know the song, that couldn't have been Hobo Blues, or could it have been? Hmmm..., Okay, no pressure then! We played another groove and Earl started singing over the top. Richard was playing and a few minutes in he flipped the beat around. I almost lost the downbeat. Cool, Jeff was playing the tastiest wha-wha pedal I had ever heard. first We stopped and took a short break to add some fine adjustments. Another engineer in the studio said, "We didn't record that, we were still setting up levels, we're ready now." After what seemed like a million takes, we took a break and went into the control room to have a listen. It just didn't have that vibe, we all commented. What a shame we didn't keep the very first thing we did warming up. Ben Matthews said, "I just happened to have it on RADAR. As soon as you started playing, I used it as a backup to be on the safe side..." That's what you hear on the record... You couldn't get more spontaneity if you asked for it! Jeff was great fun! The thing I noticed was he was a complete natural. The path between his mind and his fingers is very, very short. He always has fresh ideas and just plays what he hears. How could you not be envious of someone with that much natural talent? David Hadley P.S. Here are some photos I took, please feel free to use them. (Pete Brown, Jeff, and Ben Matthews mixing the track.)
We got in touch with Phill Brown, the main engineer for both the 1st Rough And Ready tapes with Alex Ligertwood and the final product re-recorded from scratch with Bob Tench. Great technical historical stuff plus he sets the record straight once and for all. It appears everyone at Island Studios connected with the project, not just Jeff, got threatened by some heavies at when Most absconded with the tapes. Phill in a seperate email to us added his opinion yes to the question we posed about the 1st tapes being at the dungeons at Abbey Road as part of the RAK collection sold to EMI by Most some years later.
Hi Dick, It was easier to lift certain things from passages already written.....use what you want.... credit the un-published book "Are We Still Rolling?" And now for the questions......... 1. Jeff has said that Cozy Powell was the loudest drummer he ever played with. How did you keep his drums on Rough and Ready from bleeding onto other tracks? How many tracks was the lp recorded on? 1.The set-up had 'controlled bleeding'. The 3M 24 track machines were too slow to drop in Drums...so the band went for master takes. i.e. no mistakes..or mistakes that were ok and could be kept. - drums, bass, gtr, piano, and guide vocal live. I recorded Robert Plant 4 years ago - Dreamland - and we worked exactly the same way. ......extract from Are We Still Rolling? c - Phill Brown 1997 The drums were set up in the middle of the Studio 1 and were divided off with full height sound-absorbing screens at the back and sides. There were half-height screens at the front of the kit, to form a complete circle. Seen from the control room, the bass was boothed off to the right and the guitar to the left, with the piano directly in front of the control room window. These booths were all made with half-height screens. This was my 'classic rock set-up', lifted from Glyn Johns during the Olympic years of '67 - '68. The microphones used were AKG D12 on the bass drum and an AKG 224 on the snare, with Neumann U87s for the rest of the kit (toms and overheads). For the bass guitar we used an AKG D12 and D/I (direct injection), with U87s on Jeff's guitar amps. The piano, also miked with two Neumann U87s, had the lid down and was covered with blankets and the thick piano cover to eliminate as much drum leakage as possible. For guide vocals, there was a choice of the booth in the control room (with visual contact to the studio), the void between the two sets of doors leading to the studio from the control room, or a hand-held Shure 57 in the studio, giving the vocalist freedom to wander at will while recording. 2. Alex Ligertwood told me that Clive Davis at CBS didn't like his vocals despite all other accounts including some members of the band. We know from Clive that Jeff was in a hurry to turn a studio Lp into a touring success. Was it a case do you think of going in another direction for a live bvocal presence or just a record company having rare influence with an extrememly independant artist (Jeff)? 2. I thought everyone was cool with the vocals. When we started the album there was a very positive atmosphere. Alex was very 'up' and enthusiastic. I thought he left after the first set of recordings for two reasons. 1/ the songs that had been recorded could not be used...start again from scratch. 2/ the pressure of the 'missing' tape's and a visit to the studio from some heavies. If you know him, you may know more. It could also be more games behind the scenes. I never knew his vocal talents had been under question 3. Describe if you would how you recorded Jeff's guitar for the sessions. Ken Scott had opted for the muffled distortion of putting some speakers in the cabinets. On several of the tracks most notably the funky New Ways/Train Train Jeff's tone is razor sharp. Please give us a sense of the ambience in the studio regarding Jeff's tone and what he was after on those sessions. 2. As I say...we were recording very fast. This was basic band recording of 1971 direct to a 24 track machine. My mic's were either Neumann U68/87 or AKG D20. Sounds were got on the amp - in the room. a delay or reverb/echo was added to some tracks during mixing. extract from Are We Still Rolling? c - Phill Brown 1997 'This was to be Jeff-s first recording since his recovery from a bad car crash in 1970. He had taken many months to recuperate and now seemed pleased to be back in the studio working again, particularly with this band. Our days started at 7pm, and we would finish about 4am. Jeff lived in Wadhurst in Sussex, a 50 mile journey, and he was often late arriving. When eventually he turned up he would be covered in apologies, grease and oil. His passion was building and modifying American hot-rod cars, and this took up most of his daylight hours. The sessions started easy, with mutual respect shown by all involved. Jeff had a varied collection of songs, riffs and ideas to work on. Working together, the band tried out numerous versions and arrangements, and then recorded the most successful ideas to tape. The days were productive and enjoyable, with songs, jams and riffs permeating Studio 1. Sometimes Jeff-s girlfriend, the model Celia Hammond, would turn up and add some glamour to the proceedings. Having recorded for about two weeks, we had ten tracks down with most of the overdubs completed.......' 4. Were you involved all the way through to the finish of the Bob Tench re-recorded vocals on the finished product? 4. ..yes from day one - sometime in July 1971 through both versions to the mixes in studio 2 at Basing Street in September. All manual mixes and basic FX. very little 'gear' in 1971. 5. If so what was the main differences between the first and second attempts as far as the engineering aspect of the production of Rough and Ready? 5. Thats a tough one. I would love to hear the first set of recordings. For me; a couple of weeks recording, never heard again, 34 years ago. The second set of sessions were fast and furious...we recorded the whole album and mixed it in about two weeks. 6. Your thoughts on the contibutions of: 6. tough again. It was a band. Everyone had a say in the arrangements etc. extract from 'Are We Still Rolling? c Phill Brown 1997 'They were all exceptional musicians and real characters: Cozy - speedy and gregarious, Max - the eccentric professor, Clive - shy and gentle, and Jeff, who was then 28 years old, tall and thin, with straight black hair and gaunt features. He was laid back and friendly, with a cheeky sense of humour and an easygoing personality. This was both a surprise and a relief to me. Jeff had a reputation for unpredictable behaviour and for being difficult and fiery, so I had prepared myself for a much darker character. He wore jeans and old T-shirts that often showed signs of faded oil stains, and his appearance was always slightly dishevelled. Although quite subdued for most of the time, he came to life once he was strapped to a guitar, and his personality and playing style then became loud, aggressive and on-the-edge. A brilliant English guitarist.' Max Middleton ..positive, funny - would hum along wildly with the piano recordings Clive Chaman professional, great musician, could play anything Bob Tench again - professional. More serious than Alex. I think he was the 'straightest' of the group. Cozy Powell What can you say. I worked with Cozy on various projects..before and after this recording..and flew with him to L.A. once. Great guy, very funny, excellent - loud, solid drummer....always had an opinion. What impressed you the most about Jeff's playing? Always been a huge fan - from seeing The Yardbirds. Probably the most original guitarist this country has produced. Got to at least ask it....this way....will your book settle once and for all exactly when, where, and how Most and Grant got a hold of the tapes to the first go around and would you agree that they are probably now in the dungeons at Abbey Road? Yes I have told the whole story as I know it. The Tapes were taken from the studio, never to be seen again. We had a 'visit' to discourage us from recording. And Securicor would collect the tapes every morning..when we did carry on. I would love to hear the other surviving members thoughts on it all. I was but 20 years old. Phill, Thanks and keep in touch. When your book comes out we'd love to advertise it on the site. Best, Dick
I quit CBS as and engineer around late '71. Couldn't take the bureaucracy. Went to Florida to clear my head. When I go back to Manhattan, I got together with John McClure, president of CBS Masterworks (classical division). I had worked with him as an engineer on many occasions. As Leonard Bernstein's producer, he had plenty of clout. He thought it would be an idea for me to produce records for Columbia and proposed employment as staff producer when the next opening was available. And, in the meantime wanted to take advantage of my quad pioneering experience. I had previously produced a sensational surround version of Paul Revere and the Raiders album as a quadrophonic demo for CBS. The purpose being that CBS wanted something to prove that their SQ Quad encoder/decoder system was the "happening" sound. My demo was used and won the SQ format in the quad format wars. John hired me to produce Quadrophonic records to be added to the catalogue. The Best Of...., Greatest Hits.... Now In Surround!
So, I did just that. There I was. Back at CBS. Now as a producer, CBS gave me a quadrophonic mixing cubicle, room 406 on the 4th floor at East 52nd Street in Manhattan. They gave me an engineer, as only CBS engineers are allowed to touch CBS mixining consoles. I'd ask the engineer to get the masters and he'd have the vault manager, Wally, bring them up from the vaults in the basement. Without Wally there would be no Columbia Records. He'd roll in a stack of tapes on his cart. Sly And The Family Stone Greatest Hits, Blood Sweat And Tears, White Trash, among others.
At the time, I didn't like the idea that quad versions were being pressed without regard to the original production. The artists and original producers, for the most part, weren't even informed that their multitrack masters were being handed to whoever to be re-mixed in quad. CBS just wanted a quad library. With that in mind, I was on a crusade to maintain the integrity of the original production's mix. My goal was to maintain the original feel conceived by the artist and producer/engineer that was embraced by their audience and make it sound more fascinating, interesting and fun in surround. Looking back, that probably wasn't the most correct approach. The politics of my protest, based on protection of the original, prevented my taking advantage of my own creative ideas.
The original Jeff Beck album was full of edited composites of the best of Jeff's many guitar takes. When I was re-mixing in quad, I came to realize that there were as many as six tracks of lead guitar on the 2 inch master tape. The many performances had been skillfully seamlessly segued in the well known resultant solos. A technique we often used in the studio for "composite-ing" the best lead vocals and instrumental solo parts, as well as the band takes themselves. Editing the best parts and performances is what making records is all about. I often had to replay the stereo version when choosing to replicate the compilation of what the original producer had decided on.
Now I regret not having used some of the other great guitar tracks that were available to me then. Ironically, the never used tracks of the 16 track masters will sit in the archives forever unheard except by Jeff, the original editor and me. Hell, I could have gone nuts and used four tracks simultaneously out of the four quad speakers. There were moments at least two solos sounded great together! Although, for the most part I often ask myself why they chose this solo section over that one, the outtake would have been an improvement. But I didn't think it was right at the time. I regret that now. Not using them when I had them Jeff might (or not) have been pissed but his fans would have loved it.
As I was their original sound man, the Manhattan Transfer and I happened to be performing at Reno Sweeney's, a cabaret in lower Manhattan. Jeff Beck was in the audience and I was introduced to him back stage following the show. Realizing that here was an artist who's product I had produced but never met, I asked, "So Jeff, how did you like the quad version of your album?" He replied, "What quad album!?"
I produced about six Quad albums for Columbia and Epic. Some of mine were credited with the wrong producer as no one updated the art department who actually ended up as producer. Part of the same screwed up bureaucracy.
The Blood Sweat and Tears and Bookends, and Beads Of Sweat quad albums produced were never released as the original producer wouldn't have another producer release his products. They were good in quad too!
John McClure hooked up with Leonard Bernstein and went off together to form an independent production company. So, I never got my full staff producer position.
Next: Off to the Record Plant...
Ralph Baker: If it happens Jeff will be the last one to know! Hah! Jim Reeves: Yes you SHOULD HAVE included other solos....He wouldn't have known! Phil Brown: Don't forget us when your book comes out! David Hadley: Simply fascinating story and pics....many thanks Miro: For finally getting me to get of my arse and transfer Hootenanny! Ed Chapero: For coming up with the b/w TV rarities for Jeff! Bill: We finally finished this one! All the wonderful musicians that sent us Jeff related emails: Thanks so much for your time and effort. Best of luck. And finally to Jeff.......I dare you to find fault with one second of your performance of "Drown In My Own Tears" from the New Years Hootennany!