Blow By Blow
Epic PE 33409
Released: March 1975
Chart Peak: #4
Weeks Charted: 25
Certified Platinum: 11/21/86
Jeff Beck seems finally to have figured out that his is not going to replace the great Sixties group which bore his name and featured Mickey Waller, Rod Stewart, Nicky Hopkins and Ron Wood. After some trying moments with a couple of abortive bands whose principal purpose was to give him someone to play with, this all-instrumental album points a newer, healthier direction for the man whose playing is more emblematic of the Yardbirds than either Jimmy Page, who followed him, or Eric Clapton, whom he succeeded.
Aside from "She's a Woman," where Beck's guitar literally sings a verse, there is little here to distinguish one song from another. But the tunes blend together pleasantly and the second side, particularly, contains some hints that Beck may finally have found a mode in which he is once more comfortable. His exhibitionism can find full play within the ensemble instrumental complex, as it never could when it had to worry about being upstaged by a vocalist. And in places, he is even lyrical.
George Martin produced, but without orchestral charts to arrange, he seems to have had very little to do, other than balance the mixes. Chances are that Beck will make better records, if he chooses to continue to work within the framework established here. The important thing about Blow By Blow, however, is that Beck seems finally to have found something to do with his talent other than waste it.
- Dave Marsh, Rolling Stone, 6/5/75.
- Billboard, 1975.
Never before have I been fully convinced that Beck could improvise long lines, or jazz it up with a modicum of delicacy, or for that matter get funky. But he still has absolutely nothing to say. It's not that he's jettisoned the vocalist -- lots of jazzmen say plenty without words. It's that he's a technician and nothing more, making music guaranteed to excite only one group of listeners -- those who respond to complaints about content the way atheists respond to visions of the Most High. B-
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
When Jeff Beck announced that he was working on an all-instrumental album, few but his legion of guitar fans could have predicted the far-reaching impact of this pivotal jazz-rock fusion album. Teamed with the Beatles' ex-producer George Martin, Beck singlehandedly created a new subtext for rock & roll. With his virtuosity and taste at an all-time peak, Beck let loose with unforgettable tracks such as the Roy Buchanan-inspired "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" and the percolating "Freeway Jam." This is one of rock's great instrumental works. * * * *
- Tom Graves, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
The jazz and funk-oriented Blow By Blow is Beck's all-instrumental masterpiece and features the crowd favorite "Highway Jam." * * * * 1/2
- Thor Christensen, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
El Becko defied every convention with this genre-shifting instrumental classic that took prog rock to the highest level. The electric guitar wizard worked his magic with the bonus of top production from Beatles' producer George Martin and Stevie Wonder on keyboards, creating one of the most influential fusion albums around. * * * *
- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.
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