Featured Album – Beck, Bogert & Appice

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:

Spotify link

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:

Spotify link

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”:

Spotify link

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’.

 

67 thoughts on “Featured Album – Beck, Bogert & Appice

  1. I haven’t heard any of this stuff, but I like it. I mostly like what I’ve heard and got of Beck (the Beck Group albums and a couple of solo efforts), but I also don’t have much time for some of it. I know there’s tons of stuff I still need to hear and I’m sure I’ll get around to it… I’ll prioritise checking out this, though. I very have time for this.

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    1. Those first 4 or 5 solo albums are a mixed bag as is this one. One could put together a nice Spotify playlist from those and I think I just might. Beck eventually wearied of playing bluesy things and moved on to fusion and hard (mostly instrumental) rock. If you’re bored sometime, check out my review of Beck’s ‘Blow by Blow’ and get the jazzier side (if you haven’t already.)

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  2. I still haven’t caught up with all of Jeff Beck’s reincarnations and only had known “Superstition”, which is a killer version. The rest of the album sounds superb as well, based on sampling some of the other tunes. And, as you know, I really like music with vocals!😀

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        1. Hell yes! Currently listening to the album for the second time. Sitting on a crowded commuter bus, I have to contain myself not to start grooving!😀

          I think in addition to “Lady” and “Superstition” my favorites also include “Lose Myself With You” – dig the wah-wah guitar and funky sound on that one! I also like “Livin’ Alone” – shit, the entire album is great, so it’s hard to pick favorite tunes in the first place!

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        2. Speaking of Cream, we were talking about them here or maybe over at your crib. Saw the Cream tribute band last night. Recall I saw Kofi’s band a short while back. This was even better. Three hours (with intermission) and they played just about every fucking song you’d ever wanna hear. Top-notch musicianship, plus light show, plus documentary about the original band. (Which went into technical detail about their playing.) Plus a surprise one-song guest. He’s not (to my knowledge) famous but this came way out of left field. I won’t spoil the surprise. Go see them early and often! They were very, very – creamy!

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        3. Thanks, this sounds awesome! Tomorrow, as part of the Kiss The Sky Hendrix tribute, I’m going to see Heavy Cream. Based on some YouTube clips I’ve watched, they seem to be pretty good as well. Though I guess you can’t beat the fact the guys you saw last night are related to the original members of Cream!

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        4. Yep, I’m seeing Kofi Baker’s band on Oct 23, for which I had bought a ticket a long time ago.

          Tomorrow, I’m seeing Heavy Cream, together with the Hendrix tribute Kiss the Sky.

          What initially attracted me to that show is the Hendrix tribute and their guitarist Jimy Bleu. This guy really looks like he could be Jimi’s brother and, more importantly, he seems to be fantastic at capturing Hendrix’s guitar playing and stage persona.

          Heavy Cream is the opening act. And while none of the musicians are related to Baker, Bruce and Clapton, they seem to be pretty good as well.

          I’ll be sure to report back!😀

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        5. I just wanna know what happens when the Grand Poobah of tribute bands meets the Sultans of Creamatola and Electric Ladyman. They should be asking for YOUR fucking autograph.

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  3. Truth was my intro to Becks world. I know we have both followed his career. “Mixed bag” is a good quote Doc. This stage I like. Rough and bare bones. Reminds me of the West /Bruce/Laing output. Needless to say it is loud and a great time capsule. I go back for frequent visits to this time. It has to be overwhelming to people like J and Christian. Where the F%ck do you start with Beck.? You might like one of his styles but not he next. But if you’re like that CB guy “He likes it all!” because he’s a music pig.

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    1. I have ‘Truth’ and I would have sworn I wrote about it before but I guess not. I can’t remember anymore how he first came into my consciousness. Yardbirds? Maybe. I guess those guys you mention can just read old geezers like us and find out what’s out there. I take it all for granted in a sense. But yeah, Beck is a chameleon for sure. No less a personage than Frank Zappa called him a genius and you know he didn’t throw compliments around.

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        1. I just read your take on it. It’s pretty right on. You do a good job for a guy who, when they said ‘brains’ you thought they said ‘pains’ and said ‘I don’t want any.’ That’s probably a Philly joke.

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        2. Then that’s all the really matters isn’t it? Let’s put that to the test. I’ll pick up a ticket for you to see Humble Pie in Boston next month. We’ll pretend like Marriott and Frampton are still in the band. Then we’ll sing “I Don’t Need No Doctor” at the top of our lungs. Then we’ll hit some Irish pubs.

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      1. Oh yeah Doc. I ate this stuff up. Hard rock was this along with Humble Pie and the like. So many good bands back then. I’ve been going through my Beck library. Remember the Streetwalkers I did a take on. Bob Tench was in one of Becks early bands.

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        1. Humble Pie. Boy, I saw them once (free ticket) about a hundred and fifty years ago. Great show. They were like the original AC/DC. They’re coming to town next month and I’m debating whether or not to go. Certainly no original members left.

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        2. You remember all that stuff Doc. Johnny Winter was big in my group. Edgar Winters White Trash. Mixed bag. My buddy was super into all of it. They would give it a label today but back then it was just hard rock. Beck/Bogart and Appice were right in that mix.
          I’d be interested who is calling themselves Humble Pie. They will always be Steve Marriott to me.

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        3. Johnny Winter. OMG. My buddy Steve in Philly worshiped the guy. We saw him together many moons ago. Steve disappeared and I found him later passed out near the stage. I love Johnny too and cop some of his licks. There’s a documentary about him I bought called “Down and Dirty.” It’s good but kinda sad as it’s him near the end of his life.

          As to Humble Pie, yeah, nobody I recognize is in it. These bands can either be good or just money grabs. Some version of the Yardbirds came around a few years ago and I didn’t even bother.

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        4. I think he brought it back. It’s around here somewhere. If you can’t find it let me know. You can send me your secret address in Kazakhstan or wherever the fuck you live and I’ll send it by carrier pigeon.

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        1. I have Truth. Great album. I dig it a helluva lot. I haven’t delved too far into the Yardbirds – literally a cheap compilation CD I picked up a while back.

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      1. Blow by Blow is a good start. It was later in his career and it’s his move into the Jazz thing. Doc did a real good piece. My start was Truth his first solo album and the one that hooked me for life. Some good hard rockers on that one plus it was when Rod Stewart was starting out.
        But here’s where it all started.

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        1. Oh, yeah. Any self-respecting blues band has to be able to play Johnny B. Good, Hideaway and Train. Beck and Chris Dreja. Good stuff. The Yardbirds are like the Velvet Underground in that they spawned a million other bands.

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        1. I’ve got Blow by Blow playing again now, man. I reckon I need to track this one down on vinyl… it’s a funky piece of business, but so calming. Loads of that twang… melody… it’s transcendental.

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        2. All these guys have huge libraries. I lived in this stuff for a long time. Still visit. You are in trouble man. A whole truck load of fantastic, mind blowing, head exploding, life changing (don’t get carried away CB) Music! The good Doc and I will not stear you wrong on purpose. Plus we get new sounds back from you

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  4. I think I might second Zappa on that “genius” tag. I’ve seen Beck twice, and both times I left the venue with my jaw dropped. The second time, this young kid was sitting next to me with his dad, and he didn’t say a word the whole show. I was thinking he was bored. But after the encore, and the lights came on, I overheard him sputter to dad, “God, that was incredible!!”

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    1. Yeah, I saw him a few times myself. One time I got lucky and the husband of my wife’s friend had a spare ticket and no one to go with. We weren’t even remotely tight but I went anyway. Fuck it. Great show. I saw him at least one other time but I’ll save that story for another post. BTW, in that magazine I was reading with the Zappa interview (which was interviews with 100 guitarists), I think Beck’s name came up more than anyone else.

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      1. I’m no musician but as I take this musical journey he seems to crop up more than most in my choices and likes. I’m going to do a take on an album where he gives a nod to one of his heroes, Cliff Gallup . Gene Vincent’s guitarist. Rockabilly heaven and Jeff goes to town.

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