4 out of 5 Stars!
After his original band (with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood) fell apart, and after he recovered from a horrible car accident, legendary guitarist Jeff Beck eventually reformed his group with a whole new lineup of musicians, including the fantastic Cozy Powell (RIP) on drums and the underrated vocalist Bobby Tench. The new incarnation released two albums, with Rough and Ready being the first.
Whereas the Rod Stewart-era of the band featured mainly Blues influences, Rough and Ready drew more heavily on Beck’s fondness for Jazz and Funk instead, with gifted pianist Max Middleton and dexterous bassist Clive Chaman also included in the revised team and perfectly aiding the effort on tracks such as “Got the Feeling,” “I’ve Been Used,” “Situation,” “New Ways Train Train,” and “Max’s Tune.” And whether on the bustling and buoyant “Short Business” or the more dynamic and laid-back epic “Jody,” Beck shreds on guitar, his style instantly and wonderfully distinct in the rock ‘n’ roll universe. It’s no wonder he went on to influence thousands of future guitar players throughout the decades.
Although when this album first appeared, I remember how a lot of long-time Beck fans didn’t fully relish the band’s new direction. I, however, welcomed it, feeling that Beck and his highly skilled cohorts had created a unique Hard Rock style that no other group I know has truly duplicated. To me, Rough and Ready (and the band’s self-titled follow up album in 1972) is a rather overlooked and underappreciated classic.
Note: I also quite enjoyed the even jazzier/funkier Hummingbird, the band formed several years later by Tench, Middleton, and Chaman with a different guitarist and drummer.