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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jeff Beck Group - Rough And Ready (1970 uk, stylish blues rock with funky soul jazzy vibes, 2005 japan remaster)

In 1970 Beck was badly hurt in a car crash, and had a long time in which to cool himself out. Which brings us up to this newest incarnation of the Jeff Beck Group, and its new record. Rough and Ready, a surprising, fine piece of work from a man who wasn't really expected to come back.

The first cut, "Got the Feeling," starts out strong with a tough percussive line from drummer Cozy Powell, weakens up a little with the introduction of Beck's new singer, Bob Tench, and gets shored up again with a jazz-tinged piano break by Max Middleton, followed by a hard, spicy solo from Beck, obviously back in his element, and noticeably a little mellower. Then comes "Situation," a long, well-played evocation of that misnamed hybrid jazz-rock, and a neat rocker called "Short Business." 

Vocalist Tench does a valiant job on both, considering the considerable handicap of being mixed down under the guitar. The album was produced by Beck, and there's that old ego at work again. Perhaps Beck figures he won't make the same mistake twice. Tench has a fine. gravel voice, uses Rod's phrasing and sounds sometimes like Felix Cavaliere. Trying to fill Stewart's high heels is no mean feat, and it's to Tench's credit that he carries himself well throughout.

Side one is rounded out with "Raynes Park Blues," a lovely, striking instrumental lament, the kind of wistful line a musician might write if he weren't working but wanted to. It's the best number here, evocative of somber times, the group cooking quietly. Toward the end there's a tolling bell in there, and one kind of wonders what it's all about.

Side two opens with three rockers reminiscent of the Beck of old: "I've Been Used" has a fine piano line on which Max Middleston shines, and a tortuous yet finely melodic break from Beck, plus a bass line from Clive Chaman that sounds like a sty of hogs in heat. This and the next cut. "New Ways" provide Tench with his finest moments here. After another nice solo from Beck. "New Ways" segues into "Train Train," which is a vehicle primarily for drummer Powell, a potent, intelligent musician who, like his predecessor in this band. Mick Waller, treats his rhythm with expert yet economical proficiency. 
by Stephen Davis - Rolling Stone- November 25, 1971

1. Got the Feeling - 4:46
2. Situation - 5:26
3. Short Business - 2:34
4. Max's Tune (Max Middleton) - 8:24  
5. I've Been Used - 3:40
6. New Ways/Train Train - 5:52
6. Jody (Jeff Beck, Brian Short) - 6:06
All songs by Jeff Beck except where stated

The Jeff Beck Group
*Jeff Beck - Guitars, Bass
*Bobby Tench - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
*Max Middleton - Piano, Keyboards
*Clive Chaman - Bass
*Cozy Powell - Drums

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  1. Never been a big fan of his music. Despite the fact that I am listening to many different styles, he didn't play close to my soul. But many people like him and they will be delighted.
    Thx again for your efforts.

  2. "JEFF" is one of my favourite guitar player.I do not like everything he made his carer,but this album is great.Thanks for remaster...

  3. Thanks for reminding the original title 'Raynes Park Blues' for The Max Middleton tune, which was certainly listed on the original UK LP release.Having spent many dull Sunday afternoons in Raynes Park at the time, this instrumental seemed to sum up that dull London suburb. So when the first CD (as a twoforone) was released with that title missing, I started to doubt my memory - even though a Sunday afternoon blues remained. BTW a recent Max Middleton release, reminded me what a great composer/player the man is.

  4. Why was Rayners Park Blues changed to Max’s Tune? Clearly Max Middleton features strongly on the track but the original title does summon up the feeling of being in Raynes Park on a bad day.