Courtesy: Rhino Records
Legendary guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck will release his latest live recording this fall. The recording, Live at the Hollywood Bowl, will be released Oct. 6 via Eagle Rock Entertainment. Considering that this is still August, that is a while to wait. Beck’s fans do have something to satiate themselves while they wait for that recording’s release, though in the form of his most recent recording Loud Hailer. The 11-song studio recording was released July 15, 2016 via Rhino Records, and was his first full-length studio recording – at the time – in six years. While more than a year has passed since its original release, it still speaks just as loudly (yes, that awful pun was fully intended) today as it did in its original release. That is due to the songs’ diverse musical arrangements and their equally diverse range of lyrical topics. The record’s opener, ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ supports that statement. The same can be said of the deeply moving ‘Scared For The Children’ and of the funky ‘O.I.L.’ Each song in its own way shows why this record stands out. When set alongside its other eight songs, the whole of the songs proves that this record speaks volumes about not only Jeff Beck but also his fellow musicians.
Jeff Beck’s latest live recording Live Hailer is a work that speaks volumes about the legendary guitarist’s place in today’s music community. It says loud and clear that he is still one of the industry’s elite artists. That is made evident from the album’s outset in the form of ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.’ This infectious blues-rock composition is a slow but heavy and is a solid starting point for the album. That is thanks to the pairing (in this critic’s view) of Beck with fellow guitarist Carmen Vandenberg. The pair’s work conjures thoughts of some of rock’s greatest blues-based works past and present. Drummer Davide Sollazi and bassist Giovanni Pallotti partner to add even more depth to the song’s arrangement. Singer Rosie Bones’ vocal delivery (and the effects used to enhance that delivery) put the finishing touch to the song’s arrangement. When all of the noted parts are joined as one, they make this arrangement a work that easily sticks in listeners’ minds. With this in mind, the song’s arrangement is only one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical content is just as important to note.
The lyrical content at the center of ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ is presented in more spoken word fashion than singing. It finds Bones stating, “The revolution will be televised/You can watch in HD/You talk like a weekend warrior/From the safety of your city/The graphics won’t be as realistic as Grand Theft Auto 3/Guess that makes the wheel unwheelable/This s**** real baby/I think you’d better turn the volume down/So you can’t hear them plea/Suppose you’d better change the channel…the revolution will be televised and you can choose to watch or not/But if we all just talk from the safety of our sofas there won’t be much of a revolution to watch.” Bones comes across as making a social commentary here, saying the revolution will only happen, but only if people get out and get involved instead of sitting at home hiding behind keyboards and in front of their televisions. That is just this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation. When this is set against Bones’ spoken word style delivery of that seeming message, it makes the song that much heavier. When her delivery and statement join with the song’s already heavy musical arrangement, the whole of those elements shows clearly this song is a solid starter for Loud Hailer and – in itself – why Loud Hailer speaks so loudly. It is just one of the songs that stands out in this record. ‘Scared for the Children,’ which comes a little later in the record’s sequence, shows just as much why Loud Hailer speaks volumes.
‘Scared For The Children’ stands out just as much as ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ because it is so in a way that is completely unlike its counterparts on this album. Musically speaking the song is another blues-based composition. But its gentile, ethereal melody – driven largely by Beck – is one that evokes such powerful emotions in itself. If not for the obvious social commentary at the heart of its lyrics, the song’s musical arrangement could be interpreted as a romantic work or something meant to evoke thoughts of other innocence. When it is joined with the noted commentary, it makes the song in whole one of those works that is heavy without having to be heavy. The commentary in question addresses how far the world has fallen over time. That is evident as Bones sings in the song’s lead verse, “Billy skipped school again/Lookin’ like a fool again/What a little waste/For a taste of a big boy’s life/I’m scared for the children/Computer screens and magazines/Manufactured hopes and dreams/Playin’ in a comfy box/Cause mother’s got her shows to watch/I’m scared for the children/This is the end of the age of the innocent/One more game before they go/This is the end of the age of the innocent/What do we leave them with/I suppose we’ll never know. The concern continues as Bones sings about “little boys having too much fun playing with a big boy’s gun’ and an old man “kissing the last blade of grass” as “the last bird dies.” Again, Bones makes a very heavy statement here. What is so interesting here is that in so many cases, one might expect such powerful statements to be more forceful and coupled with a much harder-edged composition. Yet even in this setting both elements work so well alone and partnered. When they are joined, they make ‘Scared For The Children’ a song that will most definitely stick with listeners just as much as ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised,’ proving yet again why Loud Hailer speaks so loudly to Beck’s continued place in the musical universe. It is not the last of the record’s songs that serves to support that statement, either. ‘O.I.L.,’ the album’s penultimate composition is one more example of what makes Loud Hailer another bold statement from Jeff Beck.
‘O.I.L.,’ like ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ and ‘Scared For The Children’ is another clear example of why Jeff Beck’s latest full-length studio recording is another bold, loud statement from the veteran guitarist. That is evident in part through the song’s infectious old-school funk-based arrangement. The arrangement plays out like the best works from Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament Funkadelic and other similar acts. Even more interesting is the infusion of Beck’s blues influence into that arrangement. The coupling of those styles works surprisingly well. The song’s lyrical content adds even more interest for listeners as Bones seems to sing about celebrating life, but in a clean way, even going so far as to say she doesn’t want to use drugs to celebrate. It’s a simple statement, but a positive one nonetheless. Bones’ seeming celebratory lyrics, coupled with the song’s equally celebratory arrangement, is certain to put a smile on any listener’s face and have any listener dancing along. Keeping that in mind, that whole stands out from the previously discussed songs and the rest of the album’s songs. That being the case, that continued diversity and originality (musically and lyrically), shows once more why Loud Hailer is such a standout album. When the song is joined with its counterparts, the whole of those songs makes Loud Hailer a work that says loud and clear that Jeff Beck is still one of the most important names in the musical universe today.
Jeff Beck’s latest full-length studio recording Loud Hailer is a work that proves from start to finish was well worth the — at the time – long six-year wait. That is due to the diversity displayed throughout in its musical and lyrical content. From the musically heavy to the emotionally heavy to points in between, this record offers plenty for every listener. That is proven in part through the songs discussed here. That is not to discount the other eight songs that make up the rest of the record’s body. All things considered, the musical and lyrical content presented in this record makes it a work that says loud and proud that Jeff Beck is still one of the musical universe’s elite artists. Loud Hailer is available now in stores and online. More information on the album (as well as his upcoming live recording Live in Hollywood – set for release Oct. 6 via Eagle Rock Entertainment) is available online along with Beck’s latest news and more at:
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