Definitions

cosa nostra

Beck-Ola (Cosa Nostra)

Beck-Ola (Cosa Nostra) was the second full-length LP by Jeff Beck and his backing group. It was released in the U.S. on Epic and in the U.K. on EMI/Columbia.

Released four months before the group's disbanding, it famously boasted that it wasn't anything original, but is nonetheless a fine example of British blues-rock. Featuring five original numbers composed by various combinations of the band members, rounded out with two radically reworked cover versions of Elvis Presley hits, the album continued the second chapter of Beck's career as a musician (the first being the days before his solo career began).

The album features Presley's "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock", a heavy blues rock tune called "Spanish Boots", a piano instrumental called "Girl from Mill Valley", "Plynth (Water down the Drain)", "Hangman" and a sizzling power trio instrumental called "Rice Pudding" which concludes the album.

The album ends abruptly with "Rice Pudding" breaking off in mid-stream. This was a unique novelty of this album. The cover features a 1952 painting by Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte, The Listening Room. La Cosa Nostra in the title was Italian for "Our Thing", referring to the term for the Mafia.

The Jeff Beck Group line-up on this album includes Beck on guitar, Rod Stewart on vocals, Nicky Hopkins on keyboards, Ronnie Wood on bass, and Tony Newman on drums (the previous album featured Mick Waller).

Nicky Hopkins, who had been a sideman on Truth was promoted to a full band member for the Beck-Ola album.

It was rumoured that UK versions of the album included a song called "I've Been Drinking Again." However, this song was never released, and is in fact a recording of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," with Rod Stewart's vocal hastily overdubbed (the original vocal can still be heard faintly in spots). "I've Been Drinking Again" was finally released in 1990 on Rod's "Storyteller" boxed set.

Following the release of this album the Jeff Beck Group toured the United States.

The Jeff Beck Group was scheduled to play Woodstock and is listed on posters promoting the festival, but internal fights broke up the group. When Jeff Beck next recorded, he had an entirely new band.

Track listing

  1. "All Shook Up" (Otis Blackwell, Elvis Presley) – 4:53
  2. "Spanish Boots" (Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood) – 3:37
  3. "Girl From Mill Valley" (Nicky Hopkins) – 3:49
  4. "Jailhouse Rock" (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) – 3:14
  5. "Plynth (Water Down the Drain)" (Nicky Hopkins, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood) – 3:09
  6. "The Hangman's Knee" (Jeff Beck, Nicky Hopkins, Tony Newman, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood) – 4:49
  7. "Rice Pudding" (Jeff Beck, Nicky Hopkins, Tony Newman, Ronnie Wood) – 7:22

Personnel

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