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Jeff Beck's back!

By Barry Moore |

All rise for the Stratocaster Pope and his priestesses …

Who's the punkest guitar-hero around? It's Jeff Beck! Punk in spirit, obviously. As in, "I do what I want, when I want!" At the heart of the Yardbirds, who also welcomed Jimmy Page and Robert Plant into their fold, Beck's the one who makes the strings bleed, or rips them off entirely, like in the famous scene from Antonioni's cult film, Blow Up. When he was expected to go rock, he went jazz-rock. When a voice interested him (Rod "the Mod" Stewart's, for instance) he made a carnal fusion with it. And if, out of nowhere, he felt he wanted to remind the world who his idol was (Cliff Gallup, guitarist from Gene Vincent), he'd just make a tribute album, like he did with the delicious Crazy Legs in 1993. And thus, Jeff Beck has always opted for the best and rarely for the worst, and that sound ! That trademark Beck hand that you can hear on every note of his legendary strat. Violent, deep, yet sensual too. In the end, his musical identity is a far cry from the guitar hero image he’s regularly plastered with, even though he hates it. But at 72, he’s still going strong, as Loud Hailer can testify. This time, the British legend has recruited Rosie Bones and Carmen Vandenberg from the band Bones, who have helped him escape the guitar hero trope. "Even if I had to do the cover of a magazine like Guitar World 400 times, I'm not that kind of guy! I'm not from that world!" It's good to know that nothing is taken for granted in this eclectic record, which alternates between blues, funk rock, electro metal, jazz rock and pure soul. Loud Hailer] proves that Jeff Beck thinks about the music before he thinks about the guitar. And that's probably what distinguishes him from everybody else. In the autobiography Beck 01, John McLaghlin begins the preface by stating: "Jeff Beck is my all time favourite guitarist. Now what can I say?" Nothing. Just listen to Loud Hailer. Or watch him rock out with his amazons on stage, as happened on the 19th of July in the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, in north Manhattan.

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