Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jeff Beck

  • Beck-Ola [Epic, 1969] C-
  • Blow by Blow [Epic, 1975] B-
  • Wired [Epic, 1976] B-
  • Flash [Epic, 1985] B
  • Who Else! [Epic, 1999] Dud
  • You Had It Coming [Epic, 2001] **

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Beck-Ola [Epic, 1969]
In which Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart induce Nicky Hopkins to be pretentious. C-

Blow by Blow [Epic, 1975]
Never before have I been fully convinced that Beck could improvise long lines, or jazz it up with a modicum of delicacy, or for that matter get funky. But he still has absolutely nothing to say. It's not that he's jettisoned the vocalist--lots of jazzmen say plenty without words. It's that he's a technician and nothing more, making music guaranteed to excite only one group of listeners--those who respond to complaints about content the way atheists respond to visions of the Most High. B-

Wired [Epic, 1976]
This continuation of Blow by Blow's mindless trickery--bye-bye George Martin and Stevie Wonder (guess which one is missed), hiya Charles Mingus (an adequate "Pork Pie Hat")--is supposed to make Jeff a "jazz" musician. In fact it certifies Jan Hammer and Narada Michael Walden as "rock" musicians (retain quotes please). Best: "Come Dancing," a jumpy little Walden novelty that would make a nice B side for the Meters. B-

Flash [Epic, 1985]
With his customary focus, loyalty, and consistency of taste, the mercurial guitarist plumbs a "new" idea copped from such innovators as Foreigner and Duran Duran--funk-metal fusion. Pitting Rod Stewart (on a convincing if utterly context-free "People Get Ready") and Arthur Baker (out to produce Foreigner and Duran Duran and apt to do a damn good job of it) against Wet Willie's vocalist and Cactus's drummer, he nevertheless turns in the best LP of his pathologically spotty career by countenancing Nile Rodgers's production on five tracks. So what do we have here? We have half a good Nile Rodgers album, more or less. B

Who Else! [Epic, 1999] Dud

You Had It Coming [Epic, 2001]
blues yes, drum and bass yes, rock mostly, "jazz" good riddance ("Earthquake," "Dirty Mind") **