Guide to British Music of the 1960s

July 2019

CD Review: The Yardbirds - Glimpses 1963-1968

The Yardbirds were one of the most powerful and innovative British groups of the 1960s. Three of the top guitarists of all time passed through their ranks but the legacy of this band is much stronger than that. The band started in south-west London and rode the crest of the British Blues boom, following the Rolling Stones at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. However, even in the early days and once Eric Clapton had replaced the original lead guitarist they were already forging a new direction with the creation of the rave-up whereby the guitars would build to a crescendo within the songs. This approach is audible on many of the tracks in this collection.

The second phase of the Yardbirds' career started when Eric Clapton left and was replaced by Jeff Beck. There followed a string of classic hit singles, some of which like For Your Love, were written by Graham Gouldman. For Your Love had showcased a different direction with the use of harpsichord but this was too far from the blues for Clapton. However, the following singles were much more in the blues mode though creating new sounds at the same time. Heart Full of Soul showed Beck using the electric guitar to create a sound similar to the sitar, an Indian instrument that was becoming "in vogue". The follow-up included Still I'm Sad which was a very unusual track in having almost a Gregorian chant as the backing vocal. In a BBC interview (disc 5) Brian Matthew asks Keith Relf about the band utilising new electronic noises on records and live and this is evident in the session version of Shapes of Things that follows.

The third phase of the Yardbirds was potentially the most exciting but only produced three recorded tracks even though the band was gigging extensively. Paul Samwell-Smith left the band to focus on production and was replaced on bass by Jimmy Page. The idea of a twin lead guitar attack with Beck and Page would always be something special and produced a memorable single in Happenings Ten Years Time Ago as well as its b-side Psycho Daisies. The Train Kept a Rollin' was a staple part of the live set and lasted well into Led Zeppelin days. However, they were denied permission to use the track in the film Blow Up and hastily wrote new lyrics and the song became Stroll On.

When Jeff Beck left the group in October 1966, Chris Dreja switched to bass to allow Jimmy Page to return to lead guitar. By this time the group was becoming tired and they produced the patchy Little Games LP that mixed innovation with pop songs. The latter were not well-suited to the Yardbirds. However, new Page tracks such as Think About It showed a new direction that would have been exciting if it had been seen through. The live set was also being expanded with new songs like Dazed & Confused and White Summer. These would become better-known as Led Zeppelin tracks although they debuted with the Yardbirds.

This set of five CDs cover the Yardbirds full career with a mix of live tracks, radio sessions and unreleased or alternate takes. These are interspersed with interviews with band members. Unfortunately they are not always in chronological order which can be a little confusing but they do add to understanding the band and put the tracks in the context of when they were recorded. A 7" vinyl disc includes the single I Wish You Would backed with Baby What's Wrong. However, this is top quality all the way through and it shows just how important the Yardbirds were in the 1960s scene. They did not have many self-penned tracks and preferred to rely on cover versions of blues classics and established songwriters. Graham Gouldman of the Mockingbirds and later of 10CC, for example, wrote some of their biggest hits including For Your Love, Evil Hearted You and Heart Full of Soul. However, band members can be credited with writing the incredible Shapes of Things, Over Under Sideways Down and Happenings Ten Years Time Ago.

This is a near complete record of the Yardbirds' work although it would have benefited from an additional CD of the single A and B sides. The live tracks, especially those from the Marquee and National Jazz & Blues Festival, show just how powerful a band they were. The later tracks show what clearly could have been but then came Led Zeppelin and that is another story.

CD Release: 6 February 2012

Easy Action EARS035

Essential Tracks

  • Shapes of Things
  • Heart Full of Soul
  • Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
  • Dazed & Confused

Track Listing: 

Disc One

  1. Honey In Your Hips (Alternate Studio Take)
  2. Baby What's Wrong
  3. Eric Clapton Interview
  4. I Wish You Would
  5. You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover (Studio Demo)
  6. Jim McCarty Interview
  7. Louise
  8. Eric Clapton Interview
  9. Someone to Love Me (Live Marquee 7 August 1964)
  10. Too Much Money Business (Live Marquee 7 August 1964)
  11. I Got Love If You Want It (Live Marquee 7 August 1964)
  12. Smokestack Lightning (Live Marquee 7 August 1964)
  13. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Live Marquee 7 August 1964)
  14. Respectable (Live Marquee 7 August 1964)
  15. The Sky is Crying (Live Marquee 7 August 1964)
  16. Eric Clapton Interview
  17. I Wish You Would
  18. Chris Dreja Interview
  19. I'm a Man (Live Crawdaddy 26 July 1964)
  20. Someone to Love Me (Live Marquee 7 August 1964)
  21. Boom Boom (National Jazz & Blues Festival 9 August 1964)
  22. I'm a Man (National Jazz & Blues Festival 9 August 1964)
  23. Little Queenie (National Jazz & Blues Festival 9 August 1964)
  24. Too Much Monkey Business (National Jazz & Blues Festival 9 August 1964)
  25. Respectable (National Jazz & Blues Festival 9 August 1964)
  26. Carol (National Jazz & Blues Festival 9 August 1964)
  27. Here 'Tis (National Jazz & Blues Festival 9 August 1964)
  28. Jim McCarty Interview

Disc Two

  1. Evil Hearted You (BBC Maida Vale 27 September 1966)
  2. Keith Relf Interview
  3. Heart Full of Soul (BBC Maida Vale 1 June 1966)
  4. Chris Dreja Interview
  5. I Ain't Done Wrong (BBC Maida Vale 3 July 1966)
  6. Jim McCarty Interview
  7. Smokestack Lightning (BBC Maida Vale 16 November 1966)
  8. You're a Better Man Than I (BBC Maida Vale 16 November 1966)
  9. The Train Kept a Rollin' (BBC Maida Vale 16 November 1966)
  10. Jim McCarty Interview
  11. I'm Not Talking (UK radio session 16 March 1965)
  12. Keith Relf Interview
  13. I'm a Man (UK radio session 9 April 1965)
  14. Keith Relf Interview
  15. Jeff's Boogie (UK radio session 9 June 1965)
  16. Keith Relf Interview
  17. Steeled Blues (UK radio session 1 June 1965)
  18. Louise (UK radio session 4 June 1965)
  19. Keith Relf Interview
  20. I Wish You Would (UK radio session 6 August 1965)
  21. Love Me Like I Love You (UK radio session 9 August 1965)
  22. The Stumble (UK radio session 27 September 1965)
  23. Paul Samwell-Smith Interview
  24. You're a Better Man Than I (Live November 1965)
  25. The Train Kept a-Rollin' (Live November 1965)
  26. Chris Dreja Interview
  27. I've Been Trying (UK radio session 9 June 1965)
  28. Shapes of Things (US broadcast 10 January 1966)
  29. Paul Samwell-Smith Interview
  30. For Your Love (National Jazz & Blues Festival 6 August 1965)
  31. My Girl Sloopy (National Jazz & Blues Festival 6 August 1965)
  32. I Wish You Would (National Jazz & Blues Festival 6 August 1965)
  33. Macleans Advert (Dutch TV September 1965)

Disc Three

  1. Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
  2. Keith Relf Interview
  3. Psycho Daisies
  4. Stroll On
  5. Chris Dreja Interview
  6. Great Shakes Advert
  7. I Wish You Would (US broadcast 10-11 August 1965)
  8. I'm a Man (US broadcast 10-11 August 1965)
  9. The Train Kept a-Rollin' (Music Hall de France 27 June 1966)
  10. Over Under Sideways Down (Music Hall de France 27 June 1966)
  11. Shapes of Things (Music Hall de France 27 June 1966)
  12. He's Always There (Alternate version)
  13. Turn into Earth (Alternate version)
  14. I Can't Make Your Way (Alternate version)
  15. I'm a Man (US broadcast 10-11 August 1965)
  16. For Your Love (US broadcast 10-11 August 1965)
  17. Heart Full of Soul (US broadcast 10-11 August 1965)
  18. I Wish You Would (Palais des Sports Paris 20 June 1965)
  19. Jim McCarty Interview
  20. Questa Volta (16th Festival of Italian Songs 28-29 January 1966)
  21. Pafff...Bam (16th Festival of Italian Songs 28-29 January 1966)
  22. Chris Dreja Interview
  23. The Train Kept a-Rollin' (NME Poll Winners Concert 1 May 1966)
  24. Shapes of Things (NME Poll Winners Concert 1 May 1966)
  25. Jim McCarty Interview
  26. Jimmy Page Interview
  27. Jeff's Boogie (Unreleased UK radio broadcast 6 May 1966)
  28. You're a Better Man Than I (Live May 1966)
  29. Keith Relf and Jeff Beck interview Ravi Shanker
  30. Shapes of Things Locomotive Club Paris 1 May 1966)
  31. Jim McCarty Interview
  32. Jim McCarty Interview
  33. Chris Dreja Interview
  34. I'm Not Talking (Unreleased UK radio broadcast 4 June 1965)
  35. Heart Full of Soul (Unreleased UK radio broadcast 9 June 1965)
  36. Spoonful (Unreleased UK radio broadcast 9 April 1965)
  37. Bottle Up and Go (Unreleased UK radio broadcast 9 April 1965)
  38. All the Pretty Little Horses (Unreleased UK radio broadcast 9 April 1965)
  39. Jeff Beck Interview

Disc Four

  1. Shapes of Things (Beat Beat Beat Stadthalle Offenbach 15 March 1967)
  2. Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (Beat Beat Beat Stadthalle Offenbach 15 March 1967)
  3. Over Under Sideways Down (Beat Beat Beat Stadthalle Offenbach 15 March 1967)
  4. I'm a Man (Beat Beat Beat Stadthalle Offenbach 15 March 1967)
  5. Chris Dreja Interview
  6. Shapes of Things (Stockholm 7 April 1967)
  7. Heart Full of Soul (Stockholm 7 April 1967)
  8. You're a Better Man Than I (Stockholm 7 April 1967)
  9. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
  10. Over Under Sideways Down (Stockholm 7 April 1967)
  11. Little Games (Stockholm 7 April 1967)
  12. My Baby (Stockholm 7 April 1967)
  13. I'm a Man (Stockholm 7 April 1967)
  14. Chris Dreja Interview
  15. The Train Kept a-Rollin' (France 9 March 1967)
  16. Dazed & Confused (France 9 March 1967)
  17. Goodnight Sweet Josephine (France 9 March 1967)
  18. Glimpses (New York 1967)
  19. "The In Sound" (US Army programme August 1967)
  20. Chris Dreja Interview
  21. Think About It (work in progress) (January 1968)
  22. Jimmy Page Interview
  23. Dazed & Confused (UK January 1968)

Disc Five

  1. I Ain't Got You (BBC Radio 22 March 1965)
  2. For Your Love (BBC Radio 22 March 1965)
  3. I'm Not Talking (BBC Radio 22 March 1965)
  4. I Wish You Would (BBC Radio 22 March 1965)
  5. Too Much Monkey Business (BBC Radio 6 August 1965)
  6. Love Me Like I Love You (BBC Radio 6 August 1965)
  7. I'm a Man (BBC Radio 6 August 1965)
  8. Still I'm Sad (BBC Radio 27 September 1965)
  9. My Girl Sloopy (BBC Radio 27 September 1965)
  10. Keith Relf Interview
  11. Shapes of Things (BBC Radio 28 February 1966)
  12. You're a Better Man Than I (BBC Radio 28 February 1966)
  13. Dust My Broom (BBC Radio 28 February 1966)
  14. Baby, Scratch My Back (BBC Radio 6 May 1966)
  15. Over Under Sideways Down (BBC Radio 6 May 1966)
  16. The Sun is Shining (BBC Radio 6 May 1966)
  17. Shapes of Things (BBC Radio 6 May 1966)
  18. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) (BBC Radio 17 March 1967)
  19. Little Games (BBC Radio 17 March 1967)
  20. Drinking Muddy Water (BBC Radio 17 March 1967)
  21. Think About It (BBC Radio 16 March 1968)
  22. Jimmy Page Interview, Goodnight Sweet Josephine (BBC Radio 16 March 1968)
  23. My Baby (BBC Radio 16 March 1968)
  24. White Summer (BBC Radio 5-6 March 1968)
  25. Dazed & Confused (BBC Radio 5-6 March 1968)
  26. Think About It (BBC Radio 5-6 March 1968)

Vinyl 7"

  1. I Wish You Would
  2. Baby What's Wrong

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