A new Jeff Beck EP, Tribute – which compiles three previously-unreleased tracks from the late electric guitar great – has been released. Two of the songs were chosen by his widow to be played at his funeral earlier this year and a third features the opera singer Olivia Safe, who performed at the service.
Beck’s memorial took place on February 3 at St. Mary’s Church in Beddington, England, and the service forms the thematic backbone of the new EP.
The opening track of the new EP features a combination of Beck’s tune Midnight Walker (recorded with Johnny Depp) and a poem written and recited by musician Imelda May. The guitarist is said to have loved the poem and May was requested to recite it to the track at the service.
The second song on the list was not played at the service itself, but features the opera singer Olivia Safe performing live with Beck on the track Elegy For Dunkirk (from Beck’s 2010 record Emotion And Commotion). Safe did, however, feature in the service, performing Requiem: In Paradisum by the composer Gabriel Fauré.
The final tune on the three-song release is a live version of the blues-rock standard Going Down, recorded at a Paris show. It was written by Beck collaborator Don Nix (not Freddie King, as stated by some sources) and Beck first recorded it with the Jeff Beck Group in 1972. The version here features Jimmy Hall on vocals – and the singer also performed the track at the funeral.
“Imelda’s poem on Midnight Walker Lament on top of Jeff’s beautiful guitar work brings tears to my eyes,” comments Beck’s widow, Sandra, of the track choices.
“Elegy for Dunkirk featuring Olivia Safe is a reminder of how Jeff’s playing and opera interact. Going Down, an up-tempo tune, was played live at Jeff’s funeral with a powerful vocal from Jimmy Hall.”
The live version of Going Down included here ends with a poignant, if unknowing nod from Beck himself, who comments over the audience applause, “Thank you ladies and gentlemen. See ya, I don’t know when…”
Eric Clapton and Sandra Beck have organised a two-night Jeff Beck tribute concert at the Royal Albert Hall this month. Clapton also recently released a version of Moon River featuring Jeff Beck, ahead of the shows.
These tracks aren't the first previously unreleased efforts to arrive following the passing of Beck. In January, Paul McCartney shared a song he worked on with the Stratocaster master back in 1994, titled Why are they cutting down the rainforest?