Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Eric Clapton & The Yardbirds - Rarities (1994)

(U.K 1963-1968)
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The Yardbirds formed in 1963 and were originally known as Be Metropolis Blues Quartet.
The primary members of the band included Anthony Topham, known as 'Top" who was replaced by Eric Clapton in October 1963. At that time the band comprised of the following musicians:-

Eric Clapton - Lead guitar
Keith Relf - Vocals and Harmonica
Chris Dreja - Rhythm guitar
Jim McCarty - Drums
Paul Samwell-Smith - Bass guitar

Eric Clapton joined the Yardbirds in late 1963 and left the band in early 1965 when he was dissatisfied with their new pop direction. In between was the calendar year 1964, when Clapton led the group to explore and advance the blues foundations which would be adopted by many groups over the coming decades, including several of Clapton’s own vast musical entities.

The Yardbirds 1964
Following the Rolling Stones in residency at the famous Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, they became cult figures of the time and attracted crowds of fans to the legendary Marquee Club in London.
A tour of Europe with American Blues artiste, Sonny Boy Williamson was enhanced by a joint album titled "Sonny Boy Williamson And The Yardbirds" which was released in 1965 and subsequently re-issued in 1975. This album became a rare collectors item.

Other albums included "Five Live Yardbirds" released in 1964 and a successful hit album "Yardbirds" which reached the number 20 spot and remained in the chart for 8 weeks in 1966. The band's American albums included "For Your Love" in August 1965 and "Having A Rave Up" in January 1966.

The band also experienced singles chart successes, topped by "Heart Full Of Soul" which was their highest chart record, reaching number 2 in June 1966. ft remained for 13 weeks. Their most remembered single, however, was "For Your Love" which achieved a number 3 position in the UK charts on the 18th March 1965 and sustained for 12 weeks. Other singles included, "Good Morning Little School" November 1964, "Evil Hearted You" in October 1965, "Shapes Of Things" in March 1966, "Over Under Sideways Down" in June 1966 and "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" in October 1968.


Over the years the band has hosted musicians of outstanding merit who have moved on to become rock legends in their own time and artists of world acclaim including Jimmy Page, who went on to become a founder of Led Zeppelin and Jeff Beck whose successful single "Hi Ho Silver Lining", which appeared 3 times in the UK charts in March 67, November 72 and October 82, has long been overshadowed by his world success as a respected guitarist with such albums to his credit as, "There And Back", "Flash" and "Beck, Bogert & Appice". Eric Clapton's continued success, world acclaim and respect need no endorsement and are currently self evident.


This album comprises the original line-up including Eric Clapton and the tracks are original live radio recordings which must be considered rare in their own right.
The Yardbirds will be remembered as a great band and the springboard for a wealth of musical talent which has brought pleasure to millions of fans throughout the world.
[Sleeve notes compiled by Ian Taylor King]
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There are only nine songs on the disc. The source of the tracks seems to be open for debate. The liner notes claims these are "radio recordings" by The Yardbirds. Allmusic.com claims these are recordings of a super group involving Clapton, Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Ian Stewart. After some digging I was able to identify the tracks.

Four tracks are clearly The Yardbirds, possibly BBC recordings. "They are I Wish You Would", "For Your Love", "A Certain Girl", and "Got To Hurry". All also appear on The Yardbirds' first US LP, proof that the tracks here are indeed The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton.

It is worth noting  that there is some contention as to whether Eric Clapton actually played on the Yardbirds first big hit "For Your Love".  In Ritchie Yorke's biography of Led Zeppelin, he looks at the evolution of Led Zeppelin from the Yardbirds (which later featured Jimmy Page) and discusses this very point.  On page 42-43, nightclub owner of the Cradaddy Club in Richmond and manager 'Giorgio Gomelsky' talks about the Yardies first hit single "For Your Love" and states:

"It was very difficult in those  days because we had the problem of trying to make a hit single that would work out for everybody. Eric Clapton didn't even play on "For Your Love" - there was simply no guitar part for him. We got Brian Auger in to play harpsichord. I can still remember Eric lying on his back at the IPC Studios while we were recording the song - he just wasn't interested in it at all, and I can't blame him. It was terrible that we had to go through all that hit single bullshit. Personally I just wanted the band to make live albums - I thought that albums were going to be the important thing abd they were, but not until three years later!.....Eric Clapton made no secret of his profound dislike of "For Your Love's" blatant commercialism, as he didn't want to pander the hit single genre, and this was one key reason for his decision to quit the Yardies in January, 1965. Another was Clapton's tenuous relationship with vocalist Keith Relf. Eric found it difficult to work with Keith musically.


The other five tracks are instrumentals that carry Clapton/Page songwriting credits. According to the exhaustive online database, Complete Works of the Rolling Stones, the tracks titled "Choker", "Draggin' My Tail", "Snake Drive", and "West Coast Idea" were indeed recorded in June 1965 by Clapton and Page, and in August 1965 the aforementioned members of The Rolling Stones (except Charlie Watts was not present - Chris Winters sat in the drummer's chair for the sessions) added backing instrumentation separately. I cannot find documentation for "Freight Loader". On the disc, the song is just two electric guitars, so it may be from that June '65 session without any other musicians involved.

In the end, this is an interesting collection of mid-60s British blues. Clapton's solos on the instrumentals are at times astonishing. For that alone you may feel it's worth it. Not sure how much I'll listen to this in the future. It's a nice little time capsule if nothing else.

Paul Samuel-Smith, Keith Relf, Chris Dreja, Eric Clapton and Jim McCarty
Review
This album is essentially live recordings of material. There are only 3 vocal tracks on this album, "I Wish You Would", "For Your Love", and "A Certain Girl". The album is also composed of six instrumentals, the aforementioned "Choker, Snake Drive, Draggin' My Tail, Freight Loader, Got To Hurry and West Coast Idea". Out of the tracks, "For Your Love" is probably the most well-known track of the group. As stated in the liner notes above, it spent an astonishing 12 consecutive weeks at #3 on the British charts. The three actual songs are pop-influenced melodies that will get you singing, but the genius of the album are the instrumentals.

10" Vinyl Release
Here we get to see the influence of the blues on tracks like "Freight Loader", "West Coast Idea" and "Got To Hurry". These gems are a nice close to the album, with the upbeat tempo "Got To Hurry", is followed by the more bluesy sounding and slower playing "West Coast Idea". If you like blues guitarists, you won't be disappointed by sampling some of the tracks on this album. The opening track "Choker" is a nice hook that gets you interested enough to listen, while the singing tracks offer a nice change up to the blues-influenced instrumentals which dominate the theme of the album. This is a nice method to introduce someone to the Yardbirds. The total album is only around 21 minutes long in terms of listening time, but good things come in small packages!

A 10" vinyl reissue of the album was released in 1998 on the Get Back label in white Vinyl, with a different order in the track list.
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This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from AMCOS CD release and includes artwork for both CD and 10" Vinyl formats. There have been other CD releases of this album and I've included artwork for these as well.
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Track Listing
01. Choker 1:19
02. I Wish You Would 2:15
03. Snake Drive 2:26
04. For Your Love 2:24
05. Draggin' My Tail 3:02
06. A Certain Girl 2:14
07. Freight Loader 2:44
08. Got To Hurry 2:17
09. West Coast Idea 2:16 
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Eric Clapton - Lead guitar
Keith Relf - Vocals and Harmonica
Chris Dreja - Rhythm guitar
Jim McCarty - Drums
Paul Samwell-Smith - Bass guitar
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Eric Clapton & The Yardbirds FLACs  (137Mb)
New Link 09/09/2018

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Eric Clapton & The Yardbirds MP3 Link (43Mb)

3 comments:

  1. The Eric Clapton/Jimmy Page compositions first appeared on vinyl in 1968 on the Immediate label, which issued a series of albums entitled "Blues Anytime". I had volumes 1, 2 & 3. Other artists featured included Savoy Brown Blues Band, T.S. McPhee, Stone's Masonry, Jo-Anne Kelly and others. Some great tracks.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads up Ed. I'll keep an eye out for these but probably will be hard to get based on their age and the scarcity of the Immediate label in Oz

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  2. The Clapton/Page Sessions are from 1965
    Clapton was angry on Page for using it

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