An unexpected gem -- the Yardbirds at their finest hour
James G. Mundie | Philadelphia, PA USA | 04/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first bought this compilation on cassette in a record store's discount bin back about 1985. I think I paid a whopping two bucks for it at the time, and that in conjunction with the fact it was on a label I didn't know existed didn't leave me expecting much in the way of sonic quality... but this collection blew me away. I had that tape in almost constant audio rotation -- even after the cheap German cassette housing warped after sitting on the front seat of my car one summer afternoon. Even then, I would still pop it in the cassette player now and again, keeping my fingers crossed that it would still play. The tape finally expired on a cross country trip in the summer of 2000 -- hopelessly wedged in the cassette deck of our rental car. Fifteen years wasn't a bad run, though.I have since purchased many Yardbirds compilations, but none of them have approached the stripped down genius of this collection. The sound is crisp, the track order flows beautifully, and there's a wonderful mix of live and studio cuts.However, this collection's crowning acheivement is that it boasts the single best version of "Train Kept A Rollin'" that has ever existed -- Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page playing simulanteous lead guitar while two versions of the song's lyrics are also song simultaneously, coming together to sing the chorus in unison. Brilliant! This collection features the band at it's peak, before Keith Relf wandered away into inebriated oblivion."Ladies and gentlemen, good evening, it's time for bird-merizing, yard-merizing, in fact -- most blues-wailing Yardbirds. Here they are one by one ... Five live Yardbirds!""