“Because what else could ever follow Turn On The News on a playlist but perhaps the greatest cover tune of all time? Husker Du‘s annihilating take on the Byrds‘ seminal 1966 psyche out capturing that pivotal mid-80s moment when the hardcore monster caught a glimpse of itself in the psychedelic mirror, and it paused, saw both tragedy and beauty, and amplified at that. Which is to say, truth. But a truth that’s beyond words, and even music eventually, a truth that can only be conveyed via amplified sonic weaponry and an all too human howling that must leave the words behind lest they be swallowed by whatever hell hounds have been unearthed by all the compounded, concentrated evils of the world. There were a lot of those as the 80s hit their midpoint. But we weren’t too concerned. We had a killer soundtrack.” (Philip Random)
“So I’m twelve almost thirteen, smart enough to not believe in the God I’ve had foisted on me my entire life, and thus scared to death of death – the fact that sometime somehow I will die, maybe in ten minutes, maybe in a hundred years of old age, but either way, everything will end, my heart will cease pumping, my mind will cease minding. Then nothing. Just blank. Like a light getting clicked off. Sorry, but twelve almost thirteen year old me can’t accept this. There has to be something, which is why I just can’t buy John Lennon’s Imagine, all that no heaven stuff – above us only sky. There bloody well better be more than just sky. And Imagine’s kind of lame anyway, too hippie la-la-la. Gimme Some Truth on the other hand, from the same album. That I can chew on. Way more than just sky.” (Philip Random)
The Jeff Beck Group’s Truth was the other big deal British blues based hard rocking debut album of 1968 from an ex-Yardbird. Unfortunately for Mr. Beck, the more noted one came from Jimmy Page‘s new outfit Led Zeppelin, because as the history books now have it (and they’re not wrong) Led Zeppelin went on to conquer the known world and the Jeff Beck Group didn’t. Which really shouldn’t take anything away from Truth, because it’s all strong, all cool, all good, from lead off track Shapes Of Things (a smart rethink of a previous Yardbirds hit) onward. And yes, that’s Rod Stewart (still pretty much unknown in 1968) ripping up the lead vocal.
One of those Leonard Cohen songs you just never seem to hear. Possibly because it’s too long, though more likely because it’s thus far eluded the grasp of half-baked MOR interpreters. “Some people seem to hate this song. Probably because it is so long and relentless in its truth, as simple as a man with his hand out on the winter street, bitterly cold, barely hanging on, and all he asks is that you not ignore him, that you not just pass him by one more time.” (Philip Random)