Thursday, August 28, 2008

live yardbirds featuring jimmy page

found this when i was trawling on amazon and snapped it up because it's one of those records that i'm always on the lookout for (like the detroit alb i found on vinyl in new joisey). i first owned it when it was new and i was 14. i think it was out for a week before jimmy page slapped an injunction on epic (the yardbirds' label in the states) for releasing it. the official line was that the performance and recording were substandard, but i figured he just didn't want ppl to know where "dazed and confused" came from. (actually it came from jake holmes, a folksinger who was making the rounds of greenwich village clubs around the same time the yardbirds docked in manhattan to play this gig at the anderson theater and record tracks that appeared in the late '90s on cumular limit.)

thatun went the first time i sold my rekkid collection back around '74 or so. after that i seem to remember having a bootleg vinyl versh (you could tell because the james grashow woodcut on the cover -- same guy that did the artwork for jethro tull's stand up -- was in black and white rather than the original color). this ceedee versh, remastered on march 30th of y2k -- "exactly 32 years after its recording!" -- is definitely a boot, but so are my fave versions of a few much-loved albs (like the italian ish from a decade or so ago of the rationals' one lp that has all their early singles as bonus tracks; or the boot of the who's my generation with a buncha extra stuff but most crucially, the actual released version of the title track, which mca replaced with an alternate take on their double-disc remaster...duh). the only non-snazz aspect of this package is the inclusion of two partial songs from the soundcheck, which as soundchecks go sounds pretty shitty. sometimes more is less.

the yardbirds are one of those bands (the who, the small faces, the mc5 and the stooges are others) whose catalog i've owned innumerable times (but not nearly as many times as it's been reished), and over the yrs, my relationship with the music (and the artifacts thereof) has changed. so, when i was making a mixtape for the grubbermeister a coupla months ago, i had to admit to myself that some of their early merseybeat-sounding stuff sucks balls and is kinda embarrassing to listen to, considering their hefty rep. and in the fullness of time, this last-gasp, sloppy, out-of-tune document sounds better 'n ever to these feedback-scorched ears. by the time it was recorded, singer keith relf and drummer jim mccarty were acid-addled and latecomer page was plotting his next move (with ideas he developed during his yardbirds tenure, having escaped the confines of the studios where he sat out most of the '60s). their then-current recorded output was misdirected pop dross and they were about to fold the tent, but they could still deliver the goods live.

myself, i was never a big led zep fan -- too _popular_, or something -- but i loved the first zeppelin alb and live yardbirds for the same reason: the tone page got from that psychedelic-painted telecaster through a wah-wah pedal (which i discovered i could replicate in my very first band when i used a handkerchief to freeze the shitty univox wah they gifted me in its bassiest position), and the way his playing sounds like it's constantly teetering on the verge of chaos. comparing recordings of the live page-era yardbirds with the available live recordings (on youtube vids and bbc sessions) of the previous jeff beck incarnation, i gotta say that page delivers what beck (hero of my misguided yoof) only promises. as the liner note scribe points out, evabody onstage made mistakes that night, but they hardly detract. the difference between the artist's intent and the audience's response is excitement. yeah! after that, page went on to become something else entahrly. (while i'm still not exactly a fan of any of 'em, i've lately reached the conclusion that if you say you dig '60s-'70s rock but don't like the beatles, pink floyd and led zep, you're kidding yourself.)

oh, yeah...whoever collated the booklet with the liner notes was on crack. most definitely.


Blogger Grubbermeister said...

Interesting article on Noticed on Amazon that Cumular Limit and Live Yardbirds With Jimmy Page cost a pretty penny. Can only imagine what the original Live Yardbirds LP would go now nowadays...


10:40 PM  
Anonymous spitzo said...

it's 50 bucks on ebay

6:27 AM  

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