At some point I came to the conclusion that with Jeff Beck, I don’t really care what he does, just as long as he is doing it. His playing transcends style, I forget the production, the genre, all I can hear are his fantastic fingers – this album is a case in point. He plays a mixture of blues songs and show tunes, operatic arias and anonymous ancient pieces and even an interpretation of Over The Rainbow. He does two songs that Jeff Buckley sang on Grace – Corpus Christi Carol and Lilac Wine, songs with such striking melodies that both a brilliant singer and a brilliant guitarist can emote through them. Imelda May sings Lilac Wine here and an orchestra supports as the song extends into Puccini’s Nessun Dorma. Beck’s delicate intertwining leaves the vocalist, the conductor and the composer applauding along with the audience.
It is of course very middle of the road – film music, Joss Stone features on two tracks, Puccini, but it’s not necessarily where he lives. Throughout his career his albums have been varied, from sixties sounds to rock to jazzy fusion, working with and without singers, pop and experimental, embracing technology wholeheartedly on his eighties and nineties albums.
So don’t judge the genre or the style if it’s not your bag, listen to his playing. If you can’ get past this keep digging till you find something that suits you, because he stands alone in a world where Radiohead said “Anyone Can Play Guitar”.