Heavy Blow (Wardour-079)
Music Hall, Boston, MA – May 3rd, 1975
(64:17): Jeff’s Boogie / Constipated Duck, drum intro / She’s A Woman, Freeway Jam, Definitely Maybe, Superstition, keyboard solo, Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Power, Got The Feeling, You Know What I Mean
Heavy Blow is the second release of Jeff Beck’s May 3rd, 1975 Boston show on the Blow By Blow tour with the Mahavishnu Orchestra within the past six months. Last November Fire Still Burning (no label) was released which featured an amazing quality stereo audience recording. But while the no label reissued a speed corrected and mastered version of a tape that was released many times before, Wardour’s latest Beck release utilizes the Dan Lampinski tape.
The difference between this and the older tape source is minimal. Both are excellent, dynamic, and wonderful to listen to. Lampinski’s tape may have a bit more presence than the other while the older tape may be a bit more clean sounding. However, questions of improvement or superiority are subject to one’s own personal preference. This situation is the same as the debate about the Pink Floyd tape from June.
The tape opens with a short tune up and Jeff playing a bit of “Jeff’s Boogie” unaccompanied as a prelude before an extremely wired rendition of “Constipated Duck” which still manages to convey the jazzy lyricism in its melody. Beck and bassist Wilber Bascomb trade licks during the song’s improvisation in the middle.
Drummer Bernard Purdie is given a drum solo very early in the set, right after the first song. It may well have been rehearsed, but it sounds like a spontaneous burst of energy from the drummer as he’s given a solo before they begin the cover of The Beatles’ “She’s A Woman.” The playing on this song is soft, sloppy, and sounds like they lose their way in the middle before discovering the final cadence.
“Freeway Jam” is given a hard rock / funk workout which is simply tangential to the original vision of the piece. It segues into a gorgeous version of “Definitely Maybe.” This is one of the better performances of this song and it’s obvious why Scorpio includes it on their compilation.
Bassist Bascomb is given his spotlight before “Power.” He leads the band into the track which remains unreleased. At least one source claims Stanley Clarke joins in on this track but there is no audible evidence of this taking place.
The final song of the set is the old Jeff Beck Group song “Got The Feeling.” For the encore, they give a tired performance of “You Know What I Mean.” Certainly tapes from the end of the tour like the July 30th Hawaii show the kind of prowess this touring band has, but Boston, while is a good show, is inconsistent and can be seen as a transitional show. Since this is only one disc it’s easy to place in one’s collection and it’s worth having even with the other excellent tape source.