Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jeff Beck - Blow By Blow (1975)

This is one of those albums I only listen to during the summer and almost exclusively while driving.  It is one of several discs that enter my truck in late April/early May and come back to the shelves shortly after Labor Day.  Beck's bluesy soloing over a tight rhythm section (including Max Middleton's fantastic keyboard playing), all produced by George Martin.   This instrumental album has a definite '70s vibe working.  Some consider it to be jazz/rock fusion, but it definitely leans more to the pop/rock side of the continuum and is more melodic than the Miles Davis fusion albums.  Maybe a better term would be 'heavy fusion'?  In any case, this was groundbreaking stuff in '75 and I feel it still holds up today in spite of the now-dated instrumentation (clavinet, voice box). Beck succeeds in his attempts to vary the tone of the guitar throughout while shifting styles to whatever is needed for a particular chart. There's lots of technological gimmicks, but the writing/arranging is surprisingly strong.  Beck is hella guitarist and this is almost universally regarded as his major opus. Recommended for listening at high volumes while cruising with the top down (or, in my case, the windows rolled down).

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #4
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #7

Tracks:  Filler-free listening.  I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favorite as I enjoy the whole album.  All of what was side one (tracks 1-5) is fun, high energy stuff with 4 originals and a cover of The Beatles' She's A Woman.  Side two (tracks 6-9) shakes things up a bit with a couple of  Stevie Wonder tunes and the beautifully orchestrated album closer, Diamond Dust.  Most days, I prefer the earlier tracks while riding around, but side 2 makes for a good late night drive.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  None.  I didn't listen to this as a child in the '70s, I don't remember how I became aware of it, and I don't remember when I started listening to it although it wasn't as early as it should have been.

1 comment:

  1. This one was a public library find for me along with a few other discs of Beck's including career spanning box set Beckology. Since it has been awhile and is not available on Spotify U.S., I shuffled over to the shelf and got my copy out, placed it in disc tray and pushed PLAY.

    I hear what you're saying about summer driving music and the differences in mood or vibe between what would be Side One and Side Two. Defintiely slipping a song or two onto next driving playlist for late-August road trip. Would bring entire disc but I will not be alone in the car and no one seems to listen to entire albums anymore except you and me.

    Have seen Jeff perform several times on video and TV shows - he's clearly the inspiration for "Nigel Tufnel" in This Is Spinal Tap, isn't he? You guys have your fondness for sleeveless muscle shirts in common although as I type this I'm wearing one too. Second Amendment, baby.