Jeff Beck - Beck Bogert & Appice - 180g Vinyl LP

50th Anniversary Edition

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2023 reissue

Jeff Beck, Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice brought the kind of power, intensity and unbridled musicianship not heard since the heyday of Cream. Loud as damnation and bursting with experimental zeal, Beck Bogert & Appice they bridged the gap between the psychedelic age and a nebulous new era where metal, hard funk, soul and heavy blues could all co-exist in one glorious tumult. “People thought we were as good as it gets,” Tim Bogert remembers. “At the time, I did too. I thought this was going to be the best thing that ever happened to me. And for a short period of time it was.”

The courtship of Beck, Bogert and Appice was, to put it mildly, a protracted one. Jeff Beck had first seen Vanilla Fudge play in October 1967, following an eventful 12 months in which he’d been booted out of The Yardbirds, started the Jeff Beck Group and had a major solo hit with Hi Ho Silver Lining. “I saw them at the Speakeasy,” Beck recalls. “They were playing at stadium-level volume in this dungeon of a club in Margaret Street. I couldn’t believe how powerful they sounded, with a Hammond organ and a double kit of Ludwig drums. Carmine was amazing and Tim’s bass was outrageous. I loved the first Fudge album, too.”

It turned out to be a mutual attraction. Bogert and Appice were big Yardbirds fans (especially the Beck model), and over the coming months the three of them had the occasional jam at the Speakeasy. So when Fudge guitarist Vince Martell fell ill just before the band were to record a Coca-Cola commercial for US radio at the back end of ’68, Beck seemed like an ideal substitute. But It was nearly three years before the trio finally got it together properly. In the wake of Vanilla Fudge’s demise in 1969, Bogert and Appice formed the blues rock combo Cactus. Beck, meanwhile, had resurrected the Jeff Beck Group with an entirely new line-up.

Finally, in December ’72, Beck, Bogert, Appice went into to Chicago’s Chess Studios to record their first album. “With it being a trio, me and Tim decided to sing,” Appice says. “In those days it wasn’t so much about the songs, it was more about the playing. The songs were just vehicles for us to jam.”

One of the most striking songs to emerge was Superstition. Stevie Wonder, a long-time admirer of Beck, had invited him to play on the sessions for his Talking Book album. Beck readily agreed, with the stipulation that Wonder write him a song. The guitarist apparently helped out with the rhythm and some of the lyrics to Superstition, Wonder’s uptempo funk monster, and they recorded a demo in New York. The song was initially intended for BBA, but problems started when Berry Gordy, the boss of Wonder’s label, Motown, heard it. Convinced it would be a huge hit (rightly, as it transpired), Gordy insisted that Wonder recut the song and release it himself.

BBA were left to do their own version instead, months later. “Stevie wrote Superstition specifically for a trio,” asserts Beck. That song was custom-made for me as part of a three-piece. Our version was seriously metal for the time, though Stevie hated it with such a vengeance that you could almost taste it.” BBA’s Superstition was a tour de force, from its clanging intro to Appice’s tornado drums to Beck’s ferocious rhythm licks. “Jeff wanted it to be more ballsy, not so R&B kind of wimpy,” Appice recalls. “When we did it we slowed it down a little, like we used to do with Vanilla Fudge, and it was really soulful and powerful.”

There were other mighty moments in the BBA locker, not least the complex Lady, all three bandmates with full heads of steam, and the eloquent soul stirring of Sweet Sweet Surrender. The latter was one of two tunes written by the album’s producer, Don Nix. His other was Black Cat Moan, an evil blues number with squealing slide runs and driving bass. The sessions themselves, however, were difficult.

Chess, with their archaic studio gear, were not suited to a band who prided themselves on the subtleties of dynamics. “It was very problematic,” Bogert remembers. “Things were breaking down and the studio was falling apart at the seams. Suddenly everything would stop in the middle of a take. It was just awful. Then everybody’s nerves got on edge. When you have three temperamental artists in that state, nothing good ever happens.”

https://www.loudersound.com/reviews/beck-bogert-and-appice-beck-bogert-and-appice-album-of-the-week-club-review

(8719262030176)

SKU 8719262030176
Barcode # 8719262030176
Brand Epic Records / Music on Vinyl

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