Yardbirds, The - The Yardbirds Story 1963 ? 1966

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Charly
Catalog Number: 53905
Format: CD
Total Time: 272:15:00

There have been several Yardbirds tributes over the last few years; I would venture to say nothing as comprehensive as this four disc boxed set though.* The legend and lore of this once great band continues to grow with each passing year. Three of the greatest ever to strap on a six-string played in this group ? Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page (who actually played bass), and Jeff Beck. All of these men have been critical in the development of blues based rock music. Their influence both past and present day remain essential to music and its diverse culture.

What I found most interesting is how the group utilized Sonny Boy Williamson's talents (Disc 1), a blues pioneer in his own right, to help lend credibility to their band. That strategy worked beautifully and it served as a launching pad to their eventual success here in the U.S. Their career took off after that and every guitar player that was a part of the band would blossom and move on to enormously successful careers with other bands and as solo artists.

The 4-disc set along with the accompanying booklet covers four periods of the groups recording history. The first disc is 1963 - R & B Roots, disc two is 1964 - Early Studio & At the Marquee, disc three covers 1965/66 - Big Hits & America Calling, and finally, disc four encapsulates 1966/67 - An Eye View of Beat. The very early period is the heavier blues performances featuring Clapton and Sonny Boy Williamson, then from 1965-67 is when Beck took the stage and electrified audiences with his experimental blues-rock runs. I have always loved Clapton and his music but I think the Beck/Page period was the most productive for the band. Listen to disc four and you will hear some of the most innovative and exciting lead guitar playing ever recorded. It is hard to believe that Page played bass and watched Beck play guitar! In 1965-66, some of their biggest hits surfaced, the psychedelic "The Shapes of Things," "For Your Love," and "Heart Full Of Soul" to name a few. Graham Gouldman was a main contributor to their early successes. Although many connect his name to another successful British band, 10CC, Gouldman was a prolific writer that wrote many hit tunes long before lending his talents to any other band.

I think the instrumentals on disc four are excellent examples of the direction in which Jeff Beck would go. If you have ever listened to Blow By Blow and Wired, you will understand what I mean. This is why I have always considered Beck to be light years ahead of his contemporaries, including Clapton, his progressive outings, technical expertise with his instrument, and risqué attitude put him on a level all his own. The first three discs are very good as well with many rare live cuts. I certainly do not want to take anything away from the importance of the early configuration of the Yardbirds; oh no, it is intrinsic blues-rock that has been a foundation to so many other things that have happened. Moreover, long after the 60s were nothing more than a memory for many of us music lovers.

This dynamite four-disc set never lacks for fresh and exciting material. Each period of musical development covered is carefully arranged to give you a periodic track-by-track account in a beautifully designed booklet with great black and white photos highlighting the bands career. With meticulous annotations of each track, this is a complete audiophile experience.

[* It looks as though this was previously released as Train Kept A Rollin' in 1994, also on the Charly label. There is also Ultimate! released in 2001 by Rhino that takes a broader view of the Yardbirds ouevre... ?ed.]

Disc One: . Smokestack Lightning (6:51) / You Can't Judge a Book by Looking at the Cover (2:57) / Let It Rock (2:18) / I Wish You Would (5:55) / Who Do You Love (4:10) / Honey in Your Hips (2:29) / Bye, Bye, Bird (performed by Yardbirds and Sonny Boy Williamson) (3:34) / Mister Downchild (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (3:58) / The River Rhine (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson (5:24) / 23 Hours Too Long (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (5:07) / A Lost Care (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (2:15) / Pontiac Blues (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (3:49) / Take It Easy, Baby (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (5:41) / Out on the Water Coast (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (3:09) / Western Arizona (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (3:04) / Take It Easy, Baby (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (4:13) / Do the Weston (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (4:13) / Baby, What's Wrong (2:37)

Disc Two: Boom, Boom (2:27) / Honey in Your Hips (2:19) / Talkin' 'Bout You (1:58) / I Wish You Would [demo version] (4:17) / A Certain Girl (demo version) 2:21) / Slow Walk (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (1:04) / Highway 69 (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (3:17) / My Little Cabin (performed by Yardbirds / Williamson) (3:45) / Too Much Monkey Business (3:49) / Got Love If You Want It (2:37) / Smokestack Lightning (5:34) / Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl (2:41) / Respectable (5:29) / Five Long Years (5:15) / Pretty Girl (3:02) / Louise (3:41) / I'm a Man (4:31) / Here 'Tis (5:10) / I Wish You Would (2:19) / A Certain Girl (2:18) / Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl [Backing Track] (3:20) / Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl (3:04) / Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl [Master (2:54) / I Ain't Got You (2:01)

For Your Love (2:30) / Got to Hurry [Take 2, False Start] (0:42) / Got to Hurry (2:48) / Got to Hurry [Take 4] (2:36) / Putty (In Your Hands) (2:18) / Sweet Music [Take 3] (2:30) / Sweet Music [Take 4] (2:37) / I'm Not Talkin' (2:32) / I Ain't Done Wrong (3:39) / My Girl Sloopy (5:37) / Heart Full of Soul [Sitar Version] (1:55) / Heart Full of Soul (2:28) / Steeled Blues (2:39) / Evil Hearted You (2:25) / Still I'm Sad (2:59)

The Train Kept A-Rollin' (3:26) / Paff...Bum (2:39) / Questa Volta (2:33) / Mr. Zero (2:43) / Knowing (1:52) / New York City Blues [Stereo Remix] (4:17) / Jeff's Blues [Take 1] (3:07) / Jeff's Blues [Take 2] (3:09) / Someone to Love, Pt. 1(2:15) / Someone to Love, Pt. 1 (2:13) / Someone to Love, Pt. 1(2:04) / Someone to Love, Pt. 1 (2:24) / Someone to Love, Pt. 2 (4:17 / Like Jimmy Reed Again (3:06) / Chris' Number [Take 1] (2:39) / Pounds and Stomps (Xyz) (2:41) / Pounds and Stomps (2:29) / What Do You Want [Take 1] (3:45) / What Do You Want [Take 2] (3:29) / What Do You Want [Take 3] (3:36) / What Do You Want [Take 4] (3:11) / Here 'Tis (3:48) / Here 'Tis (4:04) / Crimson Curtain (2:46) / Stroll On (2:44) / I'm a Man (6:14) / Shapes of Things (2:20)

Jeff Beck - guitars
Jimmy Page ? bass, guitars
Eric Clapton - guitars
Chris Dreja ? rhythm guitars
Giorgio Gomelsky - Liner Notes
Keith Relf ? vocals, harp
Jim McCarty - drums
Paul Samwell Smith ? bass
Special Guest: Sonny Boy Williamson -

Five Live Yardbirds (1964)
Having A Rave-Up With The Yardbirds (1965)
For Your Love (1965)
The Yardbirds/Roger The Engineer (1966)
Over Under Sideways Down (1966) (US version of The Yardbirds/Roger The Engineer)
The Yardbirds (1966) (re-issued US version w/extra/restored tracks)
Sonny Boy Williamson & The Yarbirds (live) (1966)
Blow Up (1967)
Little Games (1967)
Live Yardbirds Featuring Jimmy Page (1971)
Live At Crawdaddy (1999)
Five Live Yardbirds [Expanded] (1999)
Over Under Sideways Down [Expanded] (2002)
plus a plethora of compilations, about 60 or 70 in all including: The Yardbirds Story 1963-1966 (2002)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: January 12th 2003
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website: www.theyardbirds.com
Hits: 974
Language: english


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