Jeff Beck

Truth [Bonus Tracks] [Remastered] [Expanded Edition]

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Jeff Beck's Truth -- which was already regarded as the pioneering heavy metal blues album of its era, beating Led Zeppelin to the punch by about six months -- got a lot better with this British import remastered reissue, which puts all prior editions of the CD to shame. EMI Records have remastered the original LP in 24-bit digital, which puts Beck's guitar and John Paul Jones' organ on "You Shook Me" practically in your lap, and the amp on the former almost up against your ear, and Mickey Waller's drums and Ron Wood's bass on "Shapes of Things" into a position of similar intimacy, so you can almost hear the action on the bass strings. And Rod Stewart's voice is not only close but flows out with a resonance that can't entirely be covered by his rasping delivery -- "Ol' Man River" now seems like an ideal choice for him (as well as a distant precursor to his later recordings of standards), and Keith Moon's timpani performance is totally larger-than-life here. Beck's guitar sounds like it's in the room with you on "Rock My Plimsoul," and Stewart's singing is presented in such detail, that his nuances now seem fine and intimate. There are so many details revealed in the playing here in this remastering, that even longtime listeners are certain to find nuances in the playing and the different parts that are new to them -- and that's just the established album. The original ten songs have been very judiciously augmented with a brace of killer bonus tracks, starting with "I've Been Drinking," where Rod Stewart first treaded into Sam Cooke territory stylistically, which somehow never got included on the LP and ended up relegated to the B-side of the Beck single "Love Is Blue" in mono (it's in stereo here, natch); there's also the undubbed, stripped-down first take of "You Shook Me," filled with instruments that are nice and close and crunchy (especially the guitar); the early, single-take of "Rock My Plimsoul," remixed to stereo here; "Beck's Bolero" in its original mono single version; the previously unissued first take of the shattering "Blues De Luxe"; and the early single A-sides "Tallyman," "Love Is Blue," and "Hi Ho Silver Lining," the first and last featuring Beck's own singing (a decision imposed by producer Mickie Most over the guitarist's vociferous objections) the latter in its unedited form with a "wee surprise" at the very end. It's worth the upgrade -- you may well find yourself practically getting high off the raw invention and passions oozing from virtually all of the music, and even playing it once for some younger friends who've heard it before will make a few converts to its cause. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi