Joe Beck “Nature Boy” 1969 US Psych Rock Verve Forecast label
The making of this record could be the plot of a movie. A sixties adventure! It started out with me signing a contract with Verve for $100,000.00 advance. A large sum in 1967. I insisted that the recording be done in my house and that they also sign Warren Bernhardt. They agreed to these unheard of demands and much more and the project started soon after.
I had the musicians living in my house and had rented every conceivable instrument and recording device possible at the time, including Jay Messina, the engineer. All in my house. We had a month to do the project. My fiancé at the time (Diane Doe) and Warren’s future wife got into a fight and all music ceased. Needless to say, neither marriage lasted very long. To make the very long story short, after all the contract talks and money to make this project work, we spent the entire budget on parties and who knows what and, at the end of a month, we had just one basic track. One track! It was acoustic guitar and conga drums – “Spoon’s Caress”. We had spent $100,000.00 and achieved nothing. The sixties.
Now it was time to show Verve what a great project they had paid for. Out of desperation, I started recording tunes with myself playing all the parts except drums, which Donald MacDonald agreed to do. I sang, I played bass, I played piano, guitar, percussion, whatever it took to get the record done. As I worked, people came by the studio and that is how Randy Brecker came to play on it as well as Danny Whitten on a vocal or two.
“The Rapid Disintegration of a Chamber Orchestra” starts with part of a piece I wrote for my friends to play as a Christmas present the year before. I think I was 20 or 21 when I wrote it. It really was a gift for the players who worked for me at the time in the TV commercial business. They were all great musicians and I just wanted them to get a chance to play something not written for a commercial. Also, I wanted to play piano and this was part of a twenty minute piece for piano which has been lost over the years.
To tell the whole story of this project would take a long time and I’m not sure it is worth the telling. I suppose it is an accurate picture of my life at the time, but a little painful to look at too closely. Some of the people involved with this project passed away as a result of the times, others have left the business. I think I can safely say that those of us who survived the music and life of the sixties have a great respect for our art and how it affects others. I think of the ones we lost every day of my life and dedicate this new project to the memory of Donald MacDonald. He was my favorite drummer of all time and touched thousands of people with his music and his love.
Joe Beck, May 2006…..
“Originally released in 1969 on Verve, this is a truly lost jewel, released for the first time on CD. Joe Beck, one of the most famous jazz guitar players, recorded this album with fellow Donald MacDonald on drums and among guest musicians is Danny Whitten, guitar player of Crazy Horse before they worked together with Neil Young. On this album Beck, influenced by Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, created a song-oriented psychedelic rock style with slight jazz influences showing his remarkable guitar skills, including some fine wah-wah treatments.” …..