Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A George Martin Production: Cause We've Ended as Lovers

Day four of our look at the production work of George Martin with a cut from guitarist Jeff Beck’s instrumental album “Blow by Blow.” This LP was a departure for Beck and moved him into more of a jazz vein. “Blow by Blow” was the second album that credited him as a solo act – the first being 1968’s “Truth.”

Recorded in 1974 at the end of the run of Beck, Bogart, & Appice, “Blow by Blow” was produced by George Martin – one of two of Jeff Beck’s LPs where he shaped the sound – the second was “Blow by Blow’s” follow-up: “Wired.”

This 1975 release is truly a great album. I happen to have a half-speed master of the vinyl edition that a friend at Epic Records gave to me in the 80s. At #4, it was Jeff Beck’s highest charting LP of his career. Our featured selection, “Cause We've Ended as Lovers,” was written by Stevie Wonder and is one of two of his compositions appearing on the album. Beck’s guitar emotes passion, grief, angst, and excitement all in a single song.

“Cause We've Ended as Lovers” features the keyboard work of Max Middleton – a former member of the Jeff Beck Group. Middleton uses a Fender Rhodes electric piano with a Super Satellite Speaker System that gives the characteristic Rhodes vibrato that sounds so good in stereo. The Super Satellite System contained two twin-12 cabinets each with its own 100 watt amp. One acted as the master unit and the other as the slave.

In addition to Beck and Middleton, the album also featured Phil Chen on bass and Richard Bailey on drums and percussion. Although not credited, Stevie Wonder adds clavinet to his other composition: “Thelonius.” Great stuff and wonderful production by the master – George Martin.

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