One Track Mind: Jeff Beck, “Why Give It Away” from Yosogai (2014)

Last month the former Yardbirds guitarist and axe god Jeff Beck kicked off a world tour, with Japan being the first leg. To coincide with that, he gave fans there a taste of some fresh material he wanted to introduce on this tour with the release of a three-song CD (an EP?) entitled Yosogai, which includes a couple of new tunes and a live redux of “Danny Boy.” The new originals could very well end up on the new album Beck has been putting on the finishing touches and issue probably sometime after the tour.

One of those new songs is a fonky little number entitled “Why Give It Away,” featuring the soul-soaked flirty vocals of French-British musician and songstress Sophie Delila. But the first thing that grabs ya’ is the gigantic groove Beck establishes from the get-go, and a soaring lead that brings this too-brief three minute funk-rock excursion to its end.

After his usual heart-wrenching rendering of “Because We Ended As Lovers,” “Why Give It Away” begins at around the 3:47 mark in the smartphone video above of part of an April 8 Tokyo show. Presumably, that’s bassist Rhonda Smith handling the vocal parts for the tour. It’s a whole new band for Mr. Beck, with Jonathan Joseph on drums and Lizzie Ball on violin. He’s even got a rhythm guitarist this time, Nicolas Meier.

Haven’t heard of these names before? No one’s heard of Tal Wilkenfeld before she joined Beck’s band, either, so I’m not taking them lightly. They’re prepping for the UK leg of their tour the starts on May 13 and then on through the rest of Europe until the end of July before going stateside.

Jeff Beck will turn 70 before that’s all done, but the mop-topped guitarslinger apparently has much more to say musically before he hangs up his Strat for good.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews.com.