September 25th, 2009
The Yardbirds have long been touted as one of rock's most influential
groups. Ask around, though, and most people would struggle to name
more than three of the band's tunes: usually "For Your Love," "Heart
Full Of Soul," and "Shapes Of Things." Fair enough. What's overlooked
is how amazingly good no, great…and groundbreaking these three
tracks are. The menacing organ chords of "For Your Love" and the hand
drums presaged West Coast psychedelia and neatly incorporated Indian
percussion years before Haight Ashbury or World Music were a thing.
How about the sitar-like guitar of Jeff Beck on "Heart Full Of Soul"
and its mind-bending solo? Or the chugging riff of "Shapes Of
Things"? These are just a trio of jumping-off points here, in one of
four discs devoted to cataloging the band's entire studio output.
Yardbirds' devotees will revel in the generous selection of alternate
takes of lesser-known cuts including "Got To Hurry" and "Sweet
Music." And if you thought Aerosmith had dibs on "Train Kept A
Rollin'," check out The Yardbirds tearing down the tracks years
before. A thousand garage bands later, and nobody has been able to
capture or recreate the Yardbirds' sound.