The Yardbirds – Little Games (1967)

FrontCover1Little Games is the fourth American album by English rock band the Yardbirds. Recorded and released in 1967, it was their first album recorded after becoming a quartet with Jimmy Page as the sole guitarist and Chris Dreja switching to bass. It was also the only Yardbirds album produced by Mickie Most.

Although the new lineup was becoming more experimental with longer, improvised concert performances, the Yardbirds’ record company brought in successful singles producer Most to coax out more commercial product. However, neither material that properly presented their new approach nor hit singles were forthcoming. Little Games became the Yardbirds’ final studio album, although Most continued to produce singles for the group. These were later collected and released with the original album along with outtakes and alternate mixes on an expanded edition titled Little Games Sessions & More in 1992.

ter the commercially and critically successful Yardbirds’ albums Having a Rave Up with The Yardbirds (1965) and Yardbirds/Over Under Sideways Down aka Roger the Engineer (1966), founding member and bassist/musical director Paul Samwell-Smith left the group to pursue a career as a record producer. He was replaced on bass by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, whom the Yardbirds had originally approached to replace Eric Clapton. Page’s position as bassist was temporary and within a short while he switched to second lead guitarist alongside Jeff Beck, with rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja taking over on bass. In 1966, the Beck/Page dual lead guitar line-up produced the psychedelic “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago”, “Psycho Daisies” and “Stroll On”, the updated remake of “The Train Kept A-Rollin'” for their appearance in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow-Up. However, by the end of 1966, Beck was fired from the band due to an illness that was preventing him from playing gigs while on tour in the US, and they continued as a quartet with Page as the sole guitarist.

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During 1966 and 1967, much of the rock audience began to shift interest from Top 40 singles to albums and concert presentations. During this period, the Yardbirds toured the US extensively, with frequent shows at popular counterculture venues such as the Fillmore. They became more experimental, with longer, improvised sets including light shows, film clips, and audio samples. Their material became more varied and introduced songs such as “Dazed and Confused”, the Jimmy Page solo-guitar piece “White Summer”, the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man”, and extended medleys with re-worked versions of “I’m a Man” and “Smokestack Lightning”.

Despite this change in direction, Mickie Most, best known for producing hits for Herman’s Hermits and Donovan, was brought in by EMI as the Yardbirds’ new record producer. Most was not current with new music trends and although Page had worked earlier for Most as a session guitarist, he was reportedly displeased with Most taking on the production duties.[5][6] According to biographer Gregg Russo, “the upshot of Most’s involvement was that the Yardbirds’ stage personality ended up becoming vastly different than their recording persona”. (by wikipedia)

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It’s a dreadfully unfashionable thing to say, but the day producer Mickie Most moved in on the Yardbirds was the day the Yardbirds’ own values moved out. The union was a lousy idea from the start. By 1966-1967, the Yardbirds had developed into quite an excellent experimental rock combo, marred only by an appalling lack of self-belief. Most, on the other hand, was pure pop personified — marred only by a monumental lack of taste. And when those two attributes collided, listeners got Little Games, the final Yardbirds album. Surprisingly, it really wasn’t a bad record. Plentiful outtakes from the sessions have surfaced, both officially and otherwise, theoretically rendering this particular package redundant. Yet if one was to be dreaming of the ultimate alternate version of Little Games, this could be it. Highlights on disc one include a playful “Little Games,” a smoldering, acoustic “White Summer,” and the masterful reverse tape take of “Tinker Tailor,” which so heavily predicts Hawkwind’s acid-drone “Paranoia” that it’s amazing that no one noticed before. It also blends nicely with “De Lane Lea Lee,” which Yardbirds03.jpgitself employed backward drums (oddly reversed on EMI’s Little Games Sessions & More package) and piano. Contrary to the sleeve, incidentally, the two versions of this song are not indexed separately. If disc one is simply a satisfactory roundup of the best of the Little Games outtakes, however, disc two is the trivia-hound’s paradise. It opens with 13 attempts at “You Stole My Love,” each one proof that the band would never come to grips with one of songwriter Graham Gouldman’s least-appreciated masterpieces (Keith Relf’s absence from the studio that day ensured they never got around to adding vocals to it either). When EMI came to add this track to the Little Games Sessions album, two separate takes — eight and 13 — were combined for the finished product. On this evidence, that was a very smart idea. From the same 1966 session, the piano/drum duet “LSD” is present in all three of the takes attempted. None of them, sadly, live up to the title’s promise, suggesting either that the band had some very mundane experiences with drugs, or that the song really was about money; in earlier, more naïve times, LSD was the standard abbreviation for pounds, shillings, and pence. And so on to an extended look at the creation of “Ten Little Indians,” a grueling marathon which replays 13 of the 14 generally complete takes which the band attempted, plus a 15th created with overdubs and the like. And is it surprising to learn that the development of what was otherwise a preposterous addition to the Yardbirds’ repertoire is, in fact, the most fascinating track on the entire album? Several guitar-heavy versions show Jimmy Page in a considerably more favorable light than his Yardbirds recordings normally allow, while other highlights include take ten, where the echo machine is switched on to devastating effect; take 11, which became the base for the finished version; and takes two and seven, which EMI combined for the Sessions album, but which actually sound better like this. Painfully protracted though it is, it’s this final track which makes disc two even worth looking at. But that is to damn it with faint praise. The truth is, combined with the best of disc one, Ten Little Indians, in all its multitudinous guises, offers a healthier picture of the latter-day Yardbirds than any other release on the market. Whoever would have thought it? (by Dave Thompson)

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Personnel:
Chris Dreja (bass, background vocals)
Jim McCarty (drums, Percussion, background vocals)
Jimmy Page (guitar)
Keith Relf (vocals, harmonica, Percussion)
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Bobby Grieg (drums on 01.)
John Paul Jones (bass on 07.)
Chris Karan (tabla on 03.)
Ian Stewart (piano on 06.)
Dougie Wright (drums on 01.)

BackCover.jpgTracklist:
01. Little Games (Spiro/Wainman) 2.28
02. Smile O Me (Deja/cCarty/Pge/elf 3.17
03. White Summer (Page) 3.56
04. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor(Page/McCarty) 2.49
05. Glimpses (Dreja/McCarty/Page) 4.24
06. Drinking Muddy Water (Dreja/McCarty/Page/Relf) 2.53
07. No Excess Baggage (Atikins/D’Errico) 2.33
08. Stealing Stealing (Dreja/McCarty/Page/Relf) 2.24
09. Only The Black Rose (Relf) 2.52
10. Little Soldier Boy (McCarty/Page/Relf) 2.39

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Singles

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The Yardbirds – Leverkusen, Germany (1997)

FrontCover1What a long history … from the early Sixties … till today !

The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. Nearly all the original surviving musicians who had been part of the band’s heyday, including Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, appeared at the ceremony. (Original lead guitarist Top Topham was not included.[57]) Eric Clapton, whose Hall of Fame induction was the first of three, was unable to attend because of his obligations while recording and working on a show for the MTV Unplugged series. Accepting the induction on behalf of the late Keith Relf were his wife April and son Danny.

In 1992, Peter Barton from Rock Artist Management contacted Jim McCarty about the prospect of reforming the Yardbirds. McCarty was interested but only if Chris Dreja would agree, but at the time he thought it highly unlikely that Dreja would want to tour again. Barton then contacted Dreja, who agreed to give it a try.

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Their debut gig was booked at the Marquee Club in London along with the newly reformed Animals. It was a great success. The lineup featured John Idan handling bass and lead vocals. Barton managed the band and booked all their dates for over a decade; he still works with the band on occasion. (by Wikipedia)

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And The Yardbirds continued to play  … and here´s a rare but wonderful album recorded live at a blues Festival in Germany … and this is a FM broadcast recording … excellent sound quality !

And they played a gig with timeless classic blues Songs including on song from their Box Of Frogs (“Back Where I Started“) period.

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Personnel:
Chris Dreja
Laurence Garman (harmonica)
John Idan (bass, vocals)
Gypie Mayo (guitar, background vocals)
Jim McCarty (drums, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Radio Intro (in German) 0,54
02. Train Kept A Rolling (Bradshaw/Mann) 3.31
03. I Got Love If You Want It (Harpo) 3.42
04. Heartful Of Soul (Gouldman) 2.37
05. I’m Not Talking (Allison) 3.25
06. I Ain’t Got You (Carter) 2.17
07. I Ain’t Done Wrong (Relf) 5.24
08. You’re A Better Man Than I (Hugg) 3.49
09. Sitting On Top Of The World (Vinson/Chatmon) 5.14
10. I’m A Man (McDaniels) 4.54
11. Back Where I Started (Samwell-Smith/Dreja/McCarty/Fiddler) 6.58
12. Over Under Sideways Down (Dreja/McCarty/Beck/Relf/Samwell-Smith) 3.17
13. Smokestack Lightning (Burnett) 5.05

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And here a part of this gig on you tube:

Yardbirds – Five Live Yardbirds (1964)

FrontCover1.jpgFive Live Yardbirds is the live debut album by English rock band the Yardbirds. It features the group’s interpretations of ten American blues and rhythm and blues songs, including their most popular live number, Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning”. The album contains some of the earliest recordings with guitarist Eric Clapton.

Recorded at the Marquee Club in London on 20 March 1964, it was released in the United Kingdom by Columbia Records nine months later. Despite several favourable retrospective reviews, the album did not reach the UK album charts. It was not issued in the United States; however, four songs were included on the Yardbirds’ second American album, Having a Rave Up.

In October 1963, the Yardbirds took over the Rolling Stones’ position at the Crawdaddy Club and had signed a management contract with club owner Giorgio Gomelsky. After touring with Sonny Boy Williamson II, the band signed a contract with Columbia Records. In 1964, they recorded two singles, “I Wish You Would” and “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”. These had limited success and Gomelsky was able to persuade Columbia to release a live album as the Yardbirds’ debut album.

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The Yardbirds were a popular live attraction at music clubs. Much of their reputation was built on their use of a “rave up” musical arrangement, an instrumental interlude that builds to a climax. Clapton credits the rave up to bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and explains: “While most other bands were playing three-minute songs, we were taking three-minute numbers and stretching them out to five or six minutes, during which time the audience would go crazy”. In was at such performances that Clapton often broke a guitar string. While he was putting on a new one, the audience would slowly clap their hands (slow handclapping). This led manager Gomelsky to nickname him “Eric ‘Slowhand’ Clapton”.

Five Live Yardbirds was recorded at the Marquee Club in London. Yardbirds’ biographer Gregg Russo describes the conditions and equipment for recording at the club was less than ideal, they were able to capitalise on their greater popularity there than at the Crawdaddy.

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He adds: The recording date for the album has been previously listed as Tuesday, March 10, 1964, but Gomelsky distinctly remembers the show taking place at Wardour Street. On March 10, the club was still at Oxford Street, and combined with the fact that the Yardbirds played on Fridays at the Wardour Street location, the March 20, 1964 recording date seems much more likely.

All of the songs that appear on Five Live Yardbirds were written by American blues and rhythm and blues artists and several of the original recordings appeared on the American record charts. The band’s early material reflects the repertoires of the early British rhythm and blues groups, such as the Rolling Stones and the Animals.[6] Clapton biographer David Bowling described the album as “a lot of straight electric blues, but at times they come close to a rock sound.” Their version of Chuck Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business”, which is the album opener, is the most rock-oriented song on the album.

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18th May 1964: British rock group the Yardbirds, (left to right) lead guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, singer Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty, and rhythm guitarist Christopher Dreja performing on a backyard patio for British playwright Lord Willis and his daughter Sally. (Photo by Daily Express)

Several songs feature extended instrumental improvisation. Bo Diddley’s “Here ‘Tis” and the Isley Brothers’ “Respectable” are high-energy tunes, which represent the use of double-time feature of the rave up for the entire songs. AllMusic critic Matthew Greenwald describes “Here ‘Tis” as “driven by a furious “Bo Diddley” beat and rhythm … Clapton’s interplay with bassist Paul Samwell-Smith is one of the great moments in the band’s recorded history” The instrumental spotlight was also shared with singer and blues harmonica player Keith Relf. Clapton and Relf trading riffs is one of the highlights of “Smokestack Lightning”. The Howlin’ Wolf song was the Yardbirds’ most popular live number and a regular in their sets. Performances of the song could last up to 30 minutes.[10] Howlin’ Wolf reportedly referred to the group’s 5:35 album version as “the definitive version of his song”.

The slow blues standard, “Five Long Years”, features extended guitar soloing by Clapton in a style he further developed with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Clapton and Samwell-Smith share the lead vocals on “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”, which is based on the version by the American R&B duo Don and Bob. Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man” (which became a hit when the Yardbirds later recorded it with Jeff Beck) and songs by Slim Harpo and John Lee Hooker round out the album.

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Five Live Yardbirds was released before critical rock music journalism became popular. However, Clapton biographer Christopher Sandford notes “When Five Live Yardbirds was released that winter, to generally favourable reviews (‘Raucous interplay … great guitar …feral energy of the ensemble’) it, too, failed to materially benefit the group.” The album did not appear in the British record charts and subsequently was not issued in the US.

Later, several critics have also given the album favourable reviews. AllMusic’s Eder gave the album four and a half out of five stars and describes it as “Five Live Yardbirds was the first important—indeed, essential—live album to come out of the 1960s British rock & roll boom. In terms of the performance captured and the recording quality, it was also the best such live record of the entire middle of the decade”. In a separate review for AllMusic, Rick Clark noted “Smokestack Lightning” [and other songs] were open-ended improvisations that helped lay the groundwork for groups like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.” Bowling calls the material “raw and powerful” and Russo adds it is “a completely faithful reproduction” of the group’s early shows. “Ultimate Classic Rock” ranked the album in the “Top 100 Live Albums, and called it an “explosive document of a British blues band fueling a decidedly American music with power, fireworks and amped-up resourcefulness. (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Eric “Slowhand” Clapton (lead guitar, co-lead vocals on 03.)
Chris Dreja (guitar)
Jim McCarty (drums)
Keith Relf (vocals, harmonica, maracas)
Paul “Sam” Samwell-Smith (bass, vocals on 03.)

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Tracklist:
01. Too Much Monkey Business (Berry) 3.49
02. I Got Love If You Want It (Moore a.k.a. Slim Harpo) 2.37
03. Smokestack Lightnin’ (Burnett) 5.35
04. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Demarais) 2.41
05. Respectable (K.Isley/R.Isley(R.Isley) 5.30
06. Five Long Years (Boyd) 5.16
07. Pretty Girl (McDaniel) 3.02
08. Louise (Hooker) 3.41
09. I’m A Man (McDaniel) 4.30
10. Here ‘Tis (McDaniel) 5.09
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11. You Can’t Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover (Dixon) 2.56
12. Let It Rock (Berry) 2.17
13. I Wish I Would (Arnold) 5.54
14. Who Do You Love (McDaniel) 5.07
15. Honey In Your Hips (Relf) 2.28
16. A Certain Girl (Neville) 2.17
17. Got To Hurry (Rasputin2.48
18. I Ain´t Got You (Carter) 1.59
19. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Single) (Demarais)

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The Yardbirds – For Your Love (1965)

FrontCover1For Your Love is the second album released by English rock band The Yardbirds, and the first released in the USA.[1] Released in June 1965, the album is a mix of US-only tracks and previously released singles compiled by Yardbirds’ producer, Giorgio Gomelsky. The album, which was released as the Yardbirds were preparing for their first American tour, reached number 96 in Billboard’s Top LPs chart.

For Your Love features three songs from Jeff Beck’s first recording sessions with the Yardbirds: “I’m Not Talking”, “I Ain’t Done Wrong”, and “My Girl Sloopy” (these songs were later released in the UK on the Five Yardbirds EP). Eric Clapton provided the guitar for the remainder of the tracks, which included the three Yardbirds singles (with B-sides) released up to that time and two demos which were not released in the UK until the 1980s (see discography for singles information). Clapton, who had left the band four months earlier, is not pictured on the album cover nor mentioned in the liner notes. (by wikipedia)

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The Yardbirds (with Eric Clapton)

Back in 1965, this album seemed like a real mess, which was understandable, because For Your Love wasn’t a “real” album, in the sense that the Yardbirds ever assembled an LP of that name or content. Rather, it was the response of their American label, Epic, to the band’s achieving a number six single with the title track, with manager Giorgio Gomelsky selecting the cuts. The quasi-progressive “For Your Love,” dominated by guest artist Brian Auger’s harpsichord, is juxtaposed with hard-rocking blues-based numbers, almost all of which featured departed lead guitarist Eric Clapton (who is mentioned nowhere on the LP), with current lead guitarist Jeff Beck on just three tracks. The Clapton cuts, although primitive next to the material he was soon to cut with John Mayall, have an intensity that’s still riveting to hear four decades later, and was some of the best blues-based rock & roll of its era. The three Beck sides show where the band was really heading, beyond the immediate success of “For Your Love” — “I’m Not Talking” and “I Ain’t Done Wrong” were hard, loud, blazing showcases for Beck’s concise blues playing, while “My Girl Sloopy” was the first extended jam to emerge on record from a band on the British blues scene; the source material isn’t ideal, but Beck and company make their point in an era where bands were seldom allowed to go more than four minutes on even an album track — these boys could play and make it count. (by Bruce Eder)

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The Yardbirds (with Jeff Beck)

Personnel:
Jeff Beck (guitar on 02., 06. + 11.)
Eric Clapton (guitar)
Chris Dreja (guitar)
Jim McCarty (drums, vocals)
Keith Relf (vocals, harmonica)
Paul Samwell-Smith (bass, vocals)
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Brian Auger – harpsichord on 01.)
Giorgio Gomelsky (background vocal on 08.)
Tom McGuinness – guitar on (09.)
Paul Jones (background vocals on 09.)
Manfred Mann (keyboards and background  vocals on 09.)
Tom McGuinness – guitar on (09.)
Denny Pierce (percussion on 01.)
Ron Prentice (bowed bass (01.)
Mike Vickers (guitar on 09.)

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Tracklist:
01. For Your Love (Gouldman) 2.31
02. I’m Not Talking  (Allison) 2.33
03. Putty (In Your Hands) (Patton/Rogers) 2.18
04. I Ain’t Got You (Carter) 2.00
05. Got To Hurry  (Gomelsky) 2.33
06. I Ain’t Done Wrong (Relf) 3.39
07. I Wish You Would (Arnold) 2.19
08. A Certain Girl”       Naomi Neville a.k.a. Allen Toussaint     2:18
09. Sweet Music (stereo) (Bowie/Cobb/Lance)  2.30
10. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Demarais) 2.46
11. My Girl Sloopy (Farrell/Russell) 5.38
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12. Baby, What’s Wrong (demo) (James) 2.38
13. Boom, Boom (demo) (Hooker) 2.25
14. Honey In Your Hips (demo) (Relf) 2.19
15. Talkin’ ‘Bout You (demo) (Berry) 1.56
16. I Wish You Would” (demo) (Arnold) 4.17
17. A Certain Girl (demo)     Naomi Neville a.k.a. Allen Toussaint     2:21
18. Got To Hurry (take 4) (Gomelsky) 2.35
19. Sweet Music (take 4) (Bowie/Cobb/Lance) 2.28
20. Heart Full Of Soul (demo, sitar version) (Gouldman) 1.54
10. Steeled Blues (Beck) 2.38
11. Paff Bumm (German issue) (Reverberi/Bardotti/Samwell-Smith) 2.27
12. Questa Volta (Satti/Marchetti/Mogol) 2.33
13. Paff Bum (Italian issue) (Reverberi/Bardotti/Samwell-Smith) 2.36

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