Darrel Higham

Mini-Review: Jeff Beck Rock ‘N’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul


(Photos Courtesy Of Eagle Rock Entertainment.

By Anne M. Raso

We here at themacwire.com cannot resist when a legendary axeman organizes and performs at a tribute to one of his major musical influences–and as we discovered from watching this new DVD, “Les is more”! (We are sure Jeff Beck will agree with that statement.)

Beck put together an all-star cast including Gary U.S. Bonds and Brian Setzer last year for a show at NYC’s nightspot Iridium on what would have been Les Paul’s 95th birthday. The show covers the pre-rockabilly sounds from Les Paul’s heydey (the legend played at Fat Tuesday’s and then later the Irdium on Monday nights right up until his death)–and then rockabilly in its heydey. Pompadours abound on the performers, including on Darrel Higham, who puts his marko “Baby, Let’s Play House,” “Double Talkin’ Baby,” “Cruisin’,” “Train Kept A Rollin'” (the only song from Beck’s Yardbirds days), “Rocking Is Our Business,” “The Girl Can’t Help It,” “Rock Around The Clock,” and “Shake, Rattle & Roll.”

Jeff Beck’s regular “Gal Friday” Imelda May channels Mary Ford and actually outdoes her on vocals on “How High The Moon” and other Les Paul/Mary Ford hits, and that’s not an easy task. The reverb on her vocals–not to mention her Mary Ford-style dress and hairstyle–gives all the tunes from back then a “genuine” feel.

Beck does not forget to include his favorite rock instrumentals of all time in his all-star set, either–you’d be hard-pressed to find more rockin’ versions of the “Peter Gunn Theme” or “Apache.”

Highlights of this uplifting and super-rockin’ set–that could probably make the Grinch NOT want to steal Christmas–also includes some mellow moments such as “Walking In The Sand” and “I’m A fool To Care” (both with May on vocals).

The aforementioned “Shake, Rattle & Roll” is actually the grand finale from the Master Of The White Telecaster and friends. The Small Iridium club stage looks might crowded with Darrel Higham, Brian Setzer, Jason Rebello and Trombone Shorty helping out Mr. Beck–but the sound is monstrous. Don’t think this is the end of this vast array of retro-rock hits though–there are five bonus clips that are well-worth watching! That list of clips includes an interview with Jeff Beck, a behind-the-scenes footage reel on the making of this Les Paul tribute show, “At Home With Jeff Beck And His Guitars,” “Les Paul And His Little Black House” and even a performance of Les Paul and Jeff Beck doing “Rock ‘N Roll Tonite.”

Jeff Beck did this video out of his love and admiration for the late Les Paul, and we now hope he will actually return to the Iridium and do another tribute show to the inventor of the electric guitar (not to mention other types of music technology that is still used today). His shows at the Beacon Theater and other NYC area shows are sold out, but we’re hoping to catch him on his Summer 2011 tour!

THEMACWIRE.COM RATING FOR JEFF BECK ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PARTY HONORING LES PAUL: 4 1/2 OUT OF FIVE GUITARS! (We normally rate reviews in stars but how could we resist using guitars when dealing with a master of the Telecaster? LOL!)