Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jeff Beck channels Les Paul

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jeff Beck proves he has no shame. And I mean that in the best possible way imaginable. His new album Rock 'n' Roll Party is subtitled "Honoring Les Paul," and it's like attending a freaking guitar seance.

 I mean to say there are tracks that will give you chills.

For starters, there's How High the Moon, a Les Paul / Mary Ford standard. The Mary Ford part is filled with scary enough accuracy by Imelda May but the signature guitar riff will have you convinced the Godfather of the Electric Guitar has come back from the dead. After listening to Jeff Beck's track, check out this live performance by the late Mr. Paul and tell me I'm wrong. And the Beck track, while dead on, is bursting with manic rockstar energy.

There are other Paul standards also lovingly reconstructed with the aid of Imelda May. Even though most of the album is heavy on rockabilly vibe, the senses tingle when Beck's personality shines through. And shine it does. In addition to Imelda May, there are guest appearances by Brian Setzer (no slouch himself) and Gary U.S. Bonds.

By the way, Amazon is currently selling this as a download for $9.99; a bargain when you consider it includes 20 tracks - and not a throwaway in the lot. I downloaded it this morning and have listened to it 4 times already today.

In 1988, Jeff Beck inducted Les Paul into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He honors the late musician again with this album.

Note: that's *not* Beck doing the intro at the beginning of the clip

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