Jeff Beck – Free Way Rice Pudding Jam (Be Twisted-18/19)

Free Way Rice Pudding Jam (Be Twisted-18/19)

Palladium, New York, NY – October 8th, 1976

Disc 1 (41:39):  Darkness / Earth In Search Of A Sun, You Know What I Mean?, Freeway Jam, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Earth, Scatterbrain

Disc 2 (43:28):  Come Dancing, She’s A Woman, Diamond Dust, Full Moon Boogie (incl. Rice Pudding), Blue Wind (incl. Train Kept A Rollin’), Led Boots

When Jeff Beck toured with the Jan Hammer Group for the final time in the seventies he played the Palladium in New York three times, on October 8th, 18th, and 20th between visits to Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia and Waterbury, Connecticut.

Free Way Rice Pudding Jam documents the first New York show.  A previous release can be found on The Palladium ’76 (Beckorange JB-1-1,2) in similar sound quality.  (Emotional The Crab (Scarecrow 044) also claims to be this show, but is in fact the second New York show on October 18th).

The sound is very good for the era and the venue.  It is a bit distant from the stage and is a bit flat.  It doesn’t compare to the October 10th show in Boston which is perhaps the definitive tape from this tour, but it is still a very nice recording.  Like many releases it has only the Jeff Beck part of the show, so Jan Hammer’s opening set of “Magical Dog,” “Evolove,” “One To One,” “Stepping Tones” and “Awakening” is omitted either by the taper (most likely) or by the label.  

The tape opens with Hammer introducing himself before the heavy instrumental “Darkness,” which is “something from the first seven days” according to the keyboardist.  Beck comes onstage in the middle of the long piece, asserting himself in the second part “Earth In Search Of The Sun” playing screeching guitar rifts in contrast to Hammer’s deliberate keyboard melodies.

The instrumental leads into “You Know What I Mean?” and afterwards Beck tells the audience, “it’s really nice to be back in New York.”  He then jokes, “some people say it’s the toughest town, but you can separate the men from the boy and you can say whatever you want about us.”

The start of “Freeway Jam” starts off in chaos and the song itself tends to limp along with both Beck and Hammer taking turns playing the solos in the middle.

“Come Dancing” is one of the highlights of the set, a song that wasn’t played too often during these tours with Hammer.  It’s very melodic and inventive, and leads into a reggae instrumental of The Beatles’ “She’s A Woman.”  

Beck plays the opening notes of the old Jeff Beck Group heavy metal tune “Rice Pudding.”  He stops when there is some applause and he jokes, “I didn’t know there was anyone who remembered.  If we did those numbers all night we’d never get anywhere.”  The follow with “Full Moon Boogie” with Hammer on vocals. 

The final song “Blue Wind” has a short reference to The Yardbirds “Train Kept A-Rollin’.”  For an encore they play “Led Boots” which is aruably Beck’s most heavy and also fun song to play live with encourangements for audience participation in the breaks.

Free Way Rice Pudding Jam is by no means the most authoritative live statement of the 1976 tour with Hammer.  There are more complete and better sounding recordings available.  But it is a fun show to hear with great performances before a vocal New York crowd.  Be Twisted! were a minor Japanese label with a handful of very good releases, and this ranks among them.   

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