A good compilation of the next best British Invasion band
Scott Hedegard | Fayetteville, AR USA | 05/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When an outfit boasts Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as alumni, you know something's up. The Yardbirds were the most guitar driven band of the British Invasion obviously, and sonically probably the toughest out there. "The Very Best Of The Yardbirds" is a good starting point to check out the roots of heavy metal and lead guitar as a prominent position in a rock band. Page fans will be somewhat disappointed in his abscence, but the bulk of their career had already passed before Page and Beck co-starred for a brief time right before the band broke up.
The set is divided between Clapton on the first half and Beck on the second. Clapton used to really rip on guitar, and especially so with the Yardbirds. Not one for doing much originals, they nonetheless turn in great covers, including an incendiary live take of Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business", where Clapton plays like his pants are on fire. "Smokestack Lightning" doesn't quite make it all the way to the Delta, but for Brit boys, it gets pretty close, including Keith Relf's amusing imitation of a black blues singer. It was with the psychedelic tinge of "For Your Love" that Clapton jumped overboard and Beck, who was much more attuned to the experimental aspect of guitar joined, giving the band a genius who was truly an equal to Hendrix, who adored Jeff's style. And yes, a clunker or two can be found, but it's still a rocking CD that still holds up nicely today."