On the first anniversary of Les Paul’s death, Jeff Beck teamed up with Imelda May and her band (plus a few guests) to perform a tribute show to his very first guitar hero at the Manhattan jazz club, where the great man himself had played a regular Monday night residency.
Live Les Paul celebration surpasses expectations.
As well as a heaping handful of Les Paul & Mary Ford classics (How High The Moon et al, with Ms May using prerecorded backing vocals to capture the effects created in his home studio by the inventor of overdubbing), there’s a heavy dose of rockabilly.
Darrell Higham delivers the boy vocals with mondo panache, plus there’s a dazzling cameo by Brian Setzer on Eddie Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock, a brassily roaring Peter Gunn, a Shads-tastic Apache, a gloriously kitschy Tiger Rag, a languorously smoochsome Cry Me A River, Gary US Bonds rocking his own New Orleans, and all manner of stuff demonstrating that there was indeed musical life on earth before 1960.
Beck himself is as much bandleader/host as star, giving his guests plenty of room, although when he personally steps into the spotlight – as on the gloriously soaring intro to Walkin’ In The Sand – he gives it loads. Big fun!