The Yardbirds: Keith Relf (vocals, harmonica); Eric Clapton, Chris Dreja (guitar); Paul Samwell-Smith (bass); James McCarty (drums).
Recorded live in July 1964.
This recently discovered seven-song set is an awe-inspiring live recording of the Yardbirds before their official debut, Five Live Yardbirds. As a document, it adds considerable weight to the band's early rep that has been passed into legend. It also rewrites history: this short set blows Five Live away both in terms of performance and sound quality. This is the second incarnation of the band, with Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith, and new guitarist Eric Clapton (who had replaced Andrew "Top" Topham). The music here roars, screams, howls, growls, and bleeds white-boy British blues; it is blistering in its raw intensity, with covers of Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business" and the standard "Smokestack Lightning." The band's trademark "rave-up" antics are abundant here (check out "She's So Respectable"), and in the closer -- one of the most startling rock versions of "The Sky Is Crying" on record -- the listener gets the clearest picture yet of Clapton as an early and worthy guitar hero. His playing is so inspired and full of razor-sharp turnarounds and knotty arpeggios, one has to wonder what was left for him to accomplish even then. The energy here is crackling, dangerous, and woolly. Anyone interested in vintage garage or modern garage rock should check this out, as it rivals most of what comes out of today's "raw and raucous" scene as well. Indeed, history has been rewritten. ~ Thom Jurek
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Pop