Jeff Beck Group – Ruis Rockfestival, Beat Club & BBC 1971 & 1972 (Mid Valley Sampler)

Ruis Rockfestival Beat Club & BBC 1971 & 1972 (Mid Valley Sampler)

Ruis Rockfestival Beat Club & BBC 1971 & 1972 is a Mid Valley budget release featuring the three best sounding documents of the second incarnation of the Jeff Beck Group.  This project featured Clive Chaman (bass), Max Middleton (keyboards), Cozy Powell (drums) and Bob Tench on vocals and stood in contrast to the first group.  The fun and loose feeling provided by Rod Stewart and Ron Wood was replaced by a tight, professional and diverse group with very interesting material.  

This group lasted just about a year and a half and produced only two albums, Rough And Ready and Jeff Beck Group before being disbanded.

Mid Valley present three excellent sounding professionally recorded documents dating from just before the release of Rough And Ready to the BBC appearance a few weeks before the end.  All of these tapes have been released before including Going Down To The BBC (Refine Masters) released last year.  While the Refine Masters is a great release, Mid Valley is more complete. 

It is presented in a fatboy jewel case with EV’s super cheap, stupid and totally unhelpful garbage packaging.  The front and back are generic TMoQ artwork with only an insert to describe the contents.  I guess they want to bring back the days of vinyl when the LPs were stored in plain white sleeves with only an insert in the plastic, but even at the low price this is offered merits more effort.  

Ruis Rock Festival, Runsala-Runsala-Parken, Turku, Finland – August 22nd 1971

Disc 1 (39:59):  New Ways / Train Train, I Got To Have A Song, I’ve Been Used, Situation, Jody, Ice Cream Cakes

The new Jeff Beck Group finished recording Rough And Readyin July, 1971.  One of their first live appearances was on August 22nd in the Ruis Rockfestival in Turku, Finland.  Five songs from an excellent soundboard recording have been available and were pressed many years ago on Flying High Helsinki 1971 (EVSD 51), one of Empress Valley’s finest efforts.  Three songs, “I Got To Have A Song,” I’ve Been Used” and “Situation” are found as filler on Going Down To The BBC (Refine Masters).

This is the second time Empress Valley released this tape.  “Ice Cream Cakes” is present on Flying High Helsinki 1971 although it’s tracked with “Jody,” a situation that occurred probably because the producers didn’t realize it was a separate song.  Thus, this is the first time the song has been properly credited.

WGPSEC describes the intensity of the set, and it starts off with the first song “New Ways / Train Train” which races by.  What is apparent in this recording is the key role played by pianist Max Middleton.  Throughout the short recording Beck and Middleton playing off one another, like in the “Jody” where they play a call and response game before the short drum solo and the segue into “Ice Cream Cakes.” 

Beat Club, Radio Bremen’s TV Studios, West Germany – March 25th 1972

Disc 2 (35:43):  Got The Feeling, Situation, Morning Dew, Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You, Going Down, Definitely Maybe

The appearance on Beat Club is one of their very few television appearances.  “Definitely Maybe” appears on the the Refined Masters release as a bonus, but this contains the whole half hour telecast but without any talking or commentary between numbers.  Releases with this set are very hard to find and it along can justify the cost of owning the set.

The set they chose for this is a good mix between songs from Rough And Ready and from the new album Jeff Beck Group.  “Morning Dew” is the only non-album track included in the session.  The entire performance is great, but the standout number is the last. The haunting melody is augmented by Middleton playing a pretty counter melody to Beck’s guitar in the middle.

BBC In Concert, Paris Theatre, London, England – June 29th 1972

Disc 3 (59:51):  Introduction, Ice Cream Cakes, Morning Dew, Going Down, Definitely Maybe, Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You, New Ways / Train Train, Ain’t No Sunshine, Got The Feeling, Let Me Love You

The third disc is the June 29th, 1972 Paris Theater show broadcast on BBC’s “In Concert.”  Given the sound quality this is the most popular tape booted of this line up and one of the most popular of Jeff Beck’s entie career.  Previous release include Out Of A Book (Oh Boy 1-9042), Got The Feeling (Flashback Flash-07.90.0121), Maybe Today (Buccaneer BUC-40), Maybe Today Live At The Paris Theatre (Black Panther BP-098), One Of The Best (Living Legend LLRCD-122),  Rare Raw Rough And Ready (Scorpio Gold Standard 195-JB-16-04), Final BBC On The Air (Scarecrow 001) and reissued by the same label as Raw Orc(Scarecrow 104) and Pop Spectacular (no label).

The show appears on Going Down To The BBC (Refined Masters) but is missing “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” and all of the DJ introductions.  Mid Valley includes what Refined Masters lacks.  It doesn’t sound as good as Refined Masters, which is much louder and leaps out of the speakers.  But Mid Valley does sound really nice and is the most complete version available.

Taped three weeks after the release of Jeff Beck Group and a month before the official dissolution of the band, it is an excellent sounding tape of their set before a live audience.  Mike Harding welcoming the “Jeff Beck Band.”  (He realizes his mistake and corrects himself after the first song.) 

The new song “Ice Cream Cakes” begins the set followed by “Morning Dew,” a song that was a staple of the live set from the very beginning of Beck’s career and which Harding calls a “classic.”  This is segued directly with “Going Down,” which was included on the new album.  

Beck take a few moments to tune his guitar before a gorgeous rendition of “Definitely Maybe.”  Even at this early stage it has the markings of a Jeff Beck classic and it’s obvious why it is the only song from this era to survive in the live act to this day.  The melody is unsettling and sublime, on of his masterpieces.  It is also a rare instance of hearing Bobby Tench playing guitar along with Beck.  

The set’s more interesting moments occur at the end when they play the funky “Got The Feeling” and a long version of “Let Me Love You.”  In the middle of the final song Beck stops to say, “sing whatever Bobby sings” to much laughter.  

Despite the cheap looking packaging this is recommended for the price it is being offered.  This version of the Jeff Beck Group, as good as they were, didn’t last too long and too few documents exist.  However this is a great set with the three different tapes from different points in their brief career. 

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