The Definitive Version
Steven Moore | Ann Arbor, MI USA | 02/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What's new about this umpteenth version of the Yardbirds' classic live album? To begin with, the bonus tracks open the album: first, the 6-song set recorded at the Craw Daddy Club on 8 December 1963. After a sluggish start, the band catches fire with "I Wish You Would" (which within 15 seconds had this 51-year-old reviewer off the couch and dancing in his living room) and blazes through the rest of the short set. This is followed by a studio demo version of the same song, not nearly as exciting. Then comes the legendary Marquee Club performance recorded three months later, remastered at the correct tape speed, and sounding as good as the poorly recorded set can. There seems to be more bottom to it than on earlier versions, which is essential for an appreciation of Paul Samwell-Smith's thrilling bass playing: he steals the show, and in fact fledgling bassists should study his performance to learn how a bassist can be the driving force in a band and whip the crowd into a frenzy. After the delirious "Here 'Tis" closes the set, there's another version of the song also taped that night, which sounds nearly identical. With informative notes by Greg Russo, this may be the definitive version of this superb album. O to have been in the audience that night."
Lives up to the hype!
Trevor Seigler | South Carolina | 01/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has long been cited as an essential album, because of the live show the Yardbirds put on especially with Eric "Slowhand" Clapton as lead guitarist. I finally got my hands on this recently and can say that it truly lives up to the hype!This edition of the album has some nice extras, however, that make it doubly essential: a rare late '63 gig that starts off slow and a little shaky but gets off the ground with "Let it Rock", "Honey in Your Hips", and "I Wish You Would" (which is also included in the form of an early demo of the single version). The sound quality is adequate enough to convey the atmosphere (having some experience with live recordings of a dubious sound quality, I can say this is pretty good for a forty-year old recording, though nowhere near as good as the "Live Blueswailing" set which I reviewed earlier).The real meat of the album, of course, is the historic set delivered in March 1964, which is documented here in its full glory. I defy anyone not to at least tap their toes (and at most, get up and dance) when "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl", "Respectable", and "Here 'Tis" come through the speakers. This would be the one "album" recorded with Clapton on lead guitar, before he jumped ship after the release of "For Your Love". That in and of itself makes this essential, but the CD is worth owning as well because it presents the absolute best British blues band (after the Animals and Stones) in their full-on blues mode (before the pop trappings of the Jeff Beck-era group, which is still recommendable if laced with a certain wistfulness for Clapton's blues purism). You will find no better document of the power of blues mixed with rock, in a live setting, than this stellar LP.My recommendation: Get this and "Live Blueswailing" around the same time, both are must-haves for diehard British Invasion nuts like myself. Keep on rockin', all night long..."