ARTIST: The Yardbirds
TITLE: Five Live Yardbirds
YEAR RELEASED: 1964
CHART ACTION: None, but the influence was staggering
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I’m a Man among others
LINEUP: Eric Clapton, Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Live album by British blues acolytes help fan the flames of the blues-rock revival in the UK (and then the US)
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Live albums from the early to mid 60’s are always going to have dodgy sound – that’s just the reality. Five Live Yardbirds does a pretty good job considering the limitations of the live recording equipment.
This record is a set of 10 blues and early rock covers by the Yardbirds – featuring Eric Clapton, of course. While there’s nothing groundbreaking about Clapton’s playing on this album, he does show the passion for the blues that he didn’t in some of his later work.
The songs covered here also spurred interest in the original artists – always a good thing. Chuck Berry, Slim Harpo, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley are among the artists lovingly covered.
The sound does tend to wear on me for a full album, though. In pieces, though, it’s great.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was recorded at the famous Marquee Club in London in front of a great crowd of blues fanatics. Also, this was never released in the US until the late 80’s.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. A version exists with their 1964, early 1965 studio cuts, many of which appeared on their first two US releases. The Yardbirds discography is kind of a mess – streaming and on CD.
GRADE: B+: Some great energy and great playing. The sound is the best it can be.