For the earlier part of his career, Jeff Beck always had a lead singer in a band he was in (Yardbirds) or his own bands. Ever since, at least, Blow by Blow he’s been more jazz and instrumental focused.
But I’ve always dug the various incarnations of any Beck band. By the time he recorded Beck, Bogert, and Appice he had recorded four solo albums between 1968 and 1972: Truth, Beckola, Rough and Ready, and Jeff Beck Group. These groups included an ever-evolving cast of characters from Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood to Max Middleton and Cozy Powell.
But the truth, if you will, is that Beck had been keen to work with Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice since 1967 when they were (respectively) bass player and drummer for the band Vanilla Fudge. The Fudge were (and are) known as a heavy band, their biggest hit being a slowed down version of the Supremes “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”
By 1969, Bogert and Appice were imminent to leave Vanilla Fudge and tour and record with Beck. But Beck – a noted car guy – crashed his hot rod. The accident was bad enough that he fractured his skull. Needless to say, this put a crimp in the plans and the other two guys went off and formed a band named Cactus. (Who later reformed and released an album as recently as 2016.)
When Beck was back in action – and the rhythm section was again available – they got together and formed Beck, Bogert & Appice. Their eponymous debut album was released in 1973, the early Seventies being a notable sweet spot for blues-rock. (Robin Trower’s debut album came out that year and Deep Purple, Humble Pie and ZZ Top were pretty active.)
I never saw these guys and in fact, didn’t see Beck in concert until a number of years later. But I dug this album right out of the gate and still do. The rap on it at the time is that there were too many styles from rock to blues to soul (a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “I’m So Proud.”) But you know, so what? It’s a good, if not great, album and has some kick-ass rockers.
This tune is called “Why Should I Care.” Tim Bogert does lead vocal duties:
In 1972, Beck said this: “We’ve never played what the people wanted to hear in America. They expect vicious, violent rock and roll. That’s what I’m known for, but I was avoiding all that in the previous band. I was trying to play subtle rock and roll. That stuff was more suitable for clubs, not big stages. This new group will play much heavier music.”
This song, “Lady,” with Carmine Appice’s Jack Bruce-like vocals could be the great lost Cream song. The playing is top-notch:
The band toured the world to good-sized crowds but never really became the supergroup Beck might have envisioned. They did manage to record a Live in Japan album but never quite got to record a sophomore album.
Love this tune, “Livin’ Alone”:
Probably the best-remembered song from this album is Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” Again, the playing is phenomenal. I posted this same video when I did a “One Song/Three Versions post on this tune which delves somewhat into its background.
The band broke up in 1974 and Jeff went on to join the fusion crowd with his seminal Blow by Blow and Wired albums (both with Max Middleton.) To this day he does his thing. Sometimes I like what he does, sometimes I don’t but he truly does whatever he wants and never seems to worry about what’s commercially popular.
Tim Bogert went on to do a variety of things including working with Bob Weir and forming another supergroup called DBA with guitarist Rick Derringer and Appice. (Derringer, Bogert Appice.) Bogert had a motorcycle accident in 2005 which ultimately caused him to retire from performing a few years later.
Carmine Appice performed with a bevy of folks including Rod Stewart with whom he wrote a ridiculous piece of drivel called “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” He also played with Mike Bloomfield.
Per Wikipedia, a short list of drummers he influenced includes: Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain; Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer; Roger Taylor of Queen; Phil Collins of Genesis; Rush’s Neil Peart; Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee; Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, Ian Paice of Deep Purple, Anvil’s Robb Reiner and Eric Singer of Kiss. Reportedly Sharon Osbourne fired him from working with Ozzy because she hated him. Drummers!
Oh, and Vanilla Fudge? Still at it (with Carmine) and in fact they were just in these parts a couple months ago. Old rockers never die. They just keep on runnin’.