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Lady - Beck, Bogert and Appice

The late sixties and early seventies was the heyday on the multi moniker band name. Crosby, Stills and Nash kicked it off in 1968, Crosby and Nash having recently left groups which carried on without them. The first advantage of the multi moniker group name was that if they left the group, then that was it, they couldn't carry on. Crosby, Stills was obviously not Crosby, Stills and Nash. The second was that they would be free to pursue their solo projects while they were in the band, as all three did, and as did later addition Young, very successfully.

Other reasons, seldom admitted, were: hubris (we're all really famous already so our names alone will attract sales) and the double bluff (we have named a band with our names which implies we're famous so you think it's down to your ignorance that you've never heard of us, so you buy the records so as not to be shown up). This last approach was employed by UK band Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, who only had only one hit, "Resurrection Shuffle", and whose members have never been heard of before or since.

It's fun to recall these, and to try remember the groups each bandmember originated in: there's Emerson, Lake and Palmer; Bruce, West and Laing; the Souther, Hillman, Furay Band; and the various permutations of C,S,N and Y. It was all the rage: even as a schoolboy, I remember compiling my own fantasy group called Connell, Prodan and Stylus (CPS). What a band that was!

In 1972, after recording four albums with the Jeff Beck Group, Beck formed "Beck, Bogert and Appice". Tim Bogert (bass and vocals) and Carmine Appice (drums and Vocals) were Americans who had both been in the psychedelic rock band Vanilla Fudge and the heavier Cactus. Beck heard them playing with Vanilla Fudge in 1967, and immediately asked them to join him, an event that circumstances conspired to delay for 5 years.

Beck, Bogert and Appice lasted 21 months from August 72 - May 74, producing one album and touring almost continuously, and were reputed to be one of the very best bands to see live over that period. Certainly their eponymous studio album is very much of its time, typical of the early heavy rock explosion that was taking place then, very Cream-y and crammed to the brim with extended guitar solo's and and howling fills by Beck and some very Jack Bruce style vocals and tight drumming from Carmen Appice. It is also notable for containing the first recording of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition", (Wonder's version beat the BBA version into the shops because of delays within Beck's record company).

Looking back, perhaps Beck, Bogert and Appice burnt too fiercely and was never destined to last long. Perhaps Beck, renowned as a perfectionist, became impatient with Bogert and Appice, and felt he had to move on. Paradoxically, on the BBA album, Beck's guitarwork sounds as relaxed and celebratory as it would for many years. Fossil of 1973 it may be, but, track for track, it's still a great listen.


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