"This c.d. collects performances the Yardbirds recorded for BBC radio programs between 1965 and 1968, and features mainly the Jeff Beck line-up, and concludes with six numbers from the Jimmy Page line-up. It's not just of historical interest for serious Yardbirds fans -- there's lots of great performances here, along with versions of songs signficantly different from previously available versions, and a few numbers that are only available on this collection (or other versions of this collection). There are other c.d.'s that have these recordings, but I like this one because it preserves the original interviews aired with these performances, which provide some insight into the group, as well as humor and a good mid/mod 60's vibe. As far as the music, Beck sounds a little tenuous on his first session, and he apparently left his fuzzbox at home, so we get a jangly version of "I'm not talking" completely unlike the proto-metal studio version. Beck's soloing is sharper(and louder!) on subsequent classics like "Shapes of things," "Over, under, sideways, down" and "You're a better man than I," and especially on "Too much monkey business" (dig those descending runs!). You also get a fair number of reworkings of some of their "Roger the Engineer" era songs with different lyrics. Page's first appearance is as a session bassist on "Smokestack Lightning." If you listen closely, you'll notice that the bass line he plays is the riff that became the basis for Led Zep's "How many more times"! After Page takes over the lead guitar duties, you get a pretty good Dylan cover, an energetic, thrilling version of "Little games" and a slow, spooky version of "Think about it," the Page-era Yardbirds' best rocker, which features a solo Page would later use for "Dazed and confused." Speaking of "Dazed and confused," (or "I'm confused") supposedly a BBC version of this song exists but it's not on here. Also missing is a second version of "Shapes of Things" that is present on other releases of the Yardbirds' BBC material. Otherwise, this is the stuff!"
Radio Rave Up
donnelly117 | 12/14/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although this wonderful collection of BBC Yardbirds recordings is more for the collector than the novice fan, it wouldn't do anyone harm to check it out, especially if you dig sixties rock. The Yardbirds were innovators on many levels, not least the development of the electric guitar, and what makes this compilation so fascinating is how it allows the listener to follow their development from a daredevil R&B band to psychedelic pioneers. As the band never recorded for the Beeb with Clapton in the lineup, the CD kicks off with Jeff Beck on lead guitar. The versions of "For Your Love", "Heart Full of Soul," "Evil Hearted You," "Still I'm Sad" and "Over Under Sideways Down" aren't too different from the records (although the sound quality is much worse), but Beck lets rip on a sizzling version of "Too Much Monkey Business" that puts the cut on FIVE LIVE to shame. Plus, you can't argue with two different takes of the almighty "Shapes of Things." Beck also sparkles on "Train Kept A Rollin'," "I'm Not Talking" and "The Sun Is Shining," although his lead vocal on the latter is fairly lame. Keith Relf dominates the cavalry charge romps through "I Wish You Would" and "I'm A Man" with his breathless vocals and surging harmonica, and the band as a whole sounds tight and committed. Jimmy Page shows up on the last six tracks, though sadly his and Beck's dual guitar strut through the awesome "Happenings 10 Years Time Ago" was not recorded for the Beeb. Page's sloppy playing on "Little Games" actually gives the flimsy song a much needed edge. This fire of the band's four-piece lineup is captured best burning through "Drinking Muddy Water" and "Think About It." "Goodnight Sweet Josephine" is pap that doesn't improve in a live setting and "My Baby" is a capable version of the Garnett Mimms classic with a strong Relf vocal. One oddity is the Yardbirds' au go go interpretation of Dylan's "Most Likely You Go Your Way", with Page jangling away on the 12-string. My only real quibble with this set is the band's BBC recording of "Dazed and Confused" was inexplicably omitted. Instead there's a slew of archival interviews that range from intriguing (comments from Relf and Samwell-Smith) to embarassing (someone should have cut Brian Matthew's condescending joke intro to "You're A Better Man Than I"). Ira Robbins' liner notes are adequate, but his prose lacks the joie de vivre of Parke Puterbaugh, much less Cub Koda. No pictures either. In summary, this is a dignfied presentation of a great period in time when you (well, British fans) could hear great rock bands perform live on the radio. It's not as bracing as Hendrix's magnificent RADIO ONE, but it's certainly more comprehensive than the BBC sets from the Who or the Beatles."
Yardbirds - 'Live At The BBC' (Warner Brothers)
Mike Reed | USA | 11/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Depending on your taste,this just may be the best BBC collection of tunes ever released.Recorded during several of the band's appearances on the BBC between 1965-68.A total of 26 tracks,with 20 featuring Jeff Beck and 6 featuring Jimmy Page.Sorry,no Clapton.'...BBC' has an excellent choice of tunes,including slightly different versions of "I Ain't Got You","I Wish You Would",their signature song "Heart Full Of Soul",the foot-stomping "I'm A Man","Evil Hearted You","Train Kept A Rollin'" any my ultimate Yardbirds favorite "Over,Under,Sideways,Down".Only downside of 'BBC...' is the announcer yapping between every single tune.Someone maybe should've edited at least some of that out.I would still highly recommend this CD."
Best BBC Album Ever
Josh H. | Toledo, Oh (USA) | 11/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That's right, this is the greatest BBC album by any rock band ever, and not just because it contains a whopping 26 songs. It epitomizes the Beck-era Yardbirds better than any other album. We have 20 tracks with Jeff and 6 with Jimmy Page. I'll say that at least 90% of these songs are killer, with the exception of a few duds ("Baby Scratch My Back", "Hang On Sloopy").
The earliest session here was recorded just weeks after Jeff joined the band in March of '65. Incidentally, the liner notes say that there was a session with Clapton recorded in '64, but it mysteriously got 'lost'. Anyway, "I Ain't Got You", "For Your Love" and "I'm Not Talkin'" are all outstanding bluesy jams that are very concise and to-the-point. That riff on "I'm Not Talkin'" is a killer, too. Equally impressive is "I Ain't Done Wrong", a shattering blues tune fuelled by the explosive rhythm section of Samwell-Smith and McCarty. And check out the way that they speed things up and go crazy in the middle of the song. Unbelievable.
But the one that really steals the show is the totally scorching version of "Too Much Monkey Business", in which Jeff manages to create a solo that defines the term 'rock 'n roll', electrifying the phrases in a way that leaves poor ol' Chuck Berry in the dust. And it's even better than the version that they recorded with Clapton on FIVE LIVE YARDBIRDS.
The Yardbirds also do a country song here, "Love Me Like I Love You", which is good. But after all, it's country, so don't expect a whole lot of fire and intensity. Then there's your basic blues standards like "I'm A Man", "Smokestack Lightning" and "Train Kept A-Rollin'", all of which are pretty good. However, their cover of The McCoys' "Hang On Sloopy" is a real disappointment. Same goes for "Baby Scratch My Back", in which Relf sounds like he's making up the corny lyrics right there on the spot. Good guitar work from Jeff though. Speaking of which, there's "The Sun Is Shining", which contains the most breath-taking slide guitar that I've ever heard in my life, courtesy of Mr. Beck. To say that it amazes me is to say nothing. And I think that Beck even sings it, too, but I'm not certain. The Elmore James chestnut "Dust My Broom" is given a stunning treatment here, with some POUNDING bass and Relf delivering some marvelous harmonica. And once again, Beck is totally amazing! Too bad that none of the old blues masters ever played with that kind of power and intensity.
The Page sessions are equally excellent. The cover of Dylan's "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way" is wonderful, and Relf's voice here even sounds a lot like Dylan's, believe it or not. "Little Games" is simply too awesome for me to express in words. I mean it! I don't know what it is about this song that hypnotizes me and fills me with rapture. The mammoth bass, Page's fuzz-drenched guitar and Relf's lyrics about growing up and throwing away his toys are simply incredible. "Drinking Muddy Water", the band's re-working of "Rollin' And Tumblin'", is blues excellence. "Think About It" has one of the most addictive choruses that I've ever heard, but Page's timid solo is total crap and ultimately goes nowhere. However, that is not the case on "Goodnight Sweet Josephine", in which he delivers one of his best solos ever, along with those oh so wonderful vocals. And "My Baby" is basically just average.So this CD is definitely worth buying for any guitar lover, or any lover of great music in general. It is timeless."
A Must for any hardcore Yardbirds fan.
Josh H. | 10/01/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was sitting on needles and pins waiting for this selection of the Yardbirds to arrive in the mail. If you're looking for anything unusual like lost recordings from previously unheard of compositions, then you'll be disappointed with this CD. Like many Yardbirds fans, I am constantly on the dig for "new" stuff on the Yardbirds. There's nothing "new" here. However, on the "plus" side, there are some pretty good takes of some Yardbirds staples that launched them into cult status. "Dust My Broom" and "Baby,Scratch My Back" are only retakes of "Rack My Mind" and "The Nazz Are Blue", but they're just as good. The former is a hard driving blues tune that was well done in the BBC studios and deserves to be played VERY LOUD. The tunes "You're a Better Man Than I", "Love Me Like I Love You", and "The Sun Is Shining" can also be found on Jeff Beck's Beckology CD collection. I consider the added interviews with Relf, Page and Samwell-Smith a bonus; very interesting to listen to, giving the listener an insight to the direction the band was taking during these time periods. My final analysis? This CD is a must for any lover of the Yardbirds who's constantly on the hunt for different variations of their works."