Saturday, December 15, 2012

Jeff Beck Group -- "Morning Dew" (1968)

Thought I heard a young man cryin'
Thought I heard a young man cryin' today
You didn't hear no young man cryin'

You could say that the Yardbirds had some pretty good lead guitarists.  Eric Clapton joined the band in late 1963.  Jeff Beck replaced him in May 1965.  Beck’s good friend, Jimmy Page, joined the band in 1966 – initially he played bass – and remained when the band gave Beck the boot later that year.  Rolling Stone ranked those guys as #2, #5, and #3 on their “100 Top Guitarists” list.

Jeff Beck
After he was fired by the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck formed the Jeff Beck Group.  Rod Stewart was the group’s lead singer and Ronnie Wood (who later joined the Rolling Stones) its rhythm guitarist.   "Morning Dew" is from the group's 1968 debut album, Truth.  

The most interesting song on the album -- an instrumental titled "Beck's Bolero" -- had been recorded in the spring of 1966 by Beck, Keith Moon of the Who, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones (a busy session musician who shortly thereafter joined forces with Jimmy Page to form Led Zeppelin), and Nicky Hopkins (best known for his keyboard work on several classic Rolling Stones albums).

Beck had hoped to record an entire album with this group, but contractual difficulties presented what might have been the ultimate supergroup album from getting off the ground.  (Damn lawyers!)

Here's "Beck's Bolero," which was composed by Jimmy Page:

The Beck-Stewart-Wood lineup recorded one more album before Beck broke up the band just before a scheduled appearance at a little outdoor music festival which has come to be known as “Woodstock.”  Bad timing, n’est-ce pas?

The Jeff Beck Group
Beck's "Morning Dew" followed the Tim Rose template rather than the Bonnie Dobson-Fred Neil template.  For example, the Dobson version said "I hear a young man moaning', Lord," while Fred Neil and Vince Martin sang "I heard a young man moanin', Lord."  But there Rose-Beck versions go with the lines quoted above.  

The Rose and Beck recordings have another verse that is almost exactly the same, except that it refers to a young girl instead of a young man, although Rose the "young girl" verse before the "young man" verse, while Rod Stewart sings those two verses in reverse order.  (I don't read much into that -- it was probably just an accident.)

Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page in 2009
Beck's version is also like Rose's when it comes to being more rock-and-roll than folk in style.  

Here's Jeff Beck's version of "Morning Dew," featuring Rod Stewart on vocals:

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

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