Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Jeff Beck 9: There And Back

The past few years must have tired Jeff Beck out, since it took him all the way to a new decade to finish another album. There And Back furthers his embrace of fusion with rock and funk elements, sans vocals, and finds him somewhat in transition. The album begins with Jan Hammer, then adds Simon Phillips on drums, then replaces Hammer with Tony Hymas on keyboards and Mo Foster on bass.
“Star Cycle” burbles along with the kind of synth figures Jan Hammer would soon bring to the likes of Miami Vice, and he and Beck soon get to dueling. “Too Much To Lose” is a remake of an earlier Hammer tune, with a fairly structured melody, while “You Never Know” gets fairly frenzied after establishing the riff. The highlight of the album is “The Pump”, beginning with a steady throbbing beat and minimal changes, while Beck wails above the newest rhythm section.
“El Becko” (another great title) begins with a flurry of piano that somehow turns into a pompous overture, finally giving way to a more rocking idea. This only puts the return to the overture idea in better context overall. “The Golden Road” returns to the territory of “The Pump” but wanders a bit, while “Space Boogie” is an opportunity to keep up with Simon Phillips while he attacks the kit. There are a few seconds of silence before “The Final Peace” comes in, giving Beck room to stretch over spacey synth chords.
There And Back doesn’t have anything especially groundbreaking, but it makes a nice capper to the trilogy begun on Blow By Blow. As on Wired, the other band members get most of the songwriting credits; maybe that’s why he wouldn’t make another album for five years.

Jeff Beck There And Back (1980)—3

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