“Loud Hailer,” Jeff Beck
Like the Chicago blues idols he loved as a kid, Jeff Beck is still rocking into his “mature” years. Now 71, he reinvents himself on “Loud Hailer,” a surprisingly modern-sounding album written in just two weeks with singer Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg of London duo Bones. Beck remains a reigning guitar god — this year marks the 50th anniversary of the solo career he launched after leaving the Yardbirds — and the album includes breathtaking blues-based solos that stick to song structure rather than flying off in flashy experimental jazz-rock tangents. Many songs have a social and political bite, starting with opener “The Revolution Will Be Televised,” a spoken-word play on Gil Scott-Heron’s famous manifesto. Beck offers screamo guitar treatments reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine alongside Bones’s rap-sung delivery on “Thugs Club,” and adds moving, David Gilmour-like guitar to the powerful “Scared for the Children.” Covering an astonishing range, from the sexy Prince-like funk of “O.I.L. (Can’t Get Enough of That Sticky”) to the Cream-style boogie riffs of “Right Now,” the album ends with the elegant “Shrine,” a plea for peace. An out of the ordinary offering, the disc proves Beck still hasn’t stopped growing.
Jeff Beck shares a bill with Buddy Guy at Foxwoods Resort Casino July 22.Steve Morse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.