The 1960s were in full effect by this time. London and the surrounding areas of the UK were swinging along to the latest and greatest sounds of the music at the time. One of the less commercially successful, yet critically acclaimed acts was The Yardbirds. This group is special to many music listeners as they had three different guitarists at different points of time who were all legendary: Jimmy Page; Jeff Beck; and Eric Clapton. This points to The Yardbirds as a pivotal English musical act.
This album was recorded and released in 1964. It is a brilliant live piece by then five members of The Yardbirds at the time. This included Eric Clapton on lead guitar. Note: Eric Clapton was playing a Fender Telecaster through a Vox amp. This is a historical note as Clapton himself was an up-and-coming legend, and never really used this setup after leaving The Yardbirds. Regardless, let’s have a listen to the music here, and see if it still sounds good today.
Too Much Monkey Business begins with a lengthy intro to the band, before going into a super swinging rhythm and blues number. Yes, it sounds awesome and listenable, even today. It’s a great rendition of this song, and you can hear Eric Clapton twanging away on his Fender Telecaster. A great effort by the group to kick off this album.
I Got Love If You Want It is a more stomp like piece by the band, with clanging guitar and harmonica. It’s so good, even after nearly sixty years, that it encourages head nodding and body moving. It is a great listen for those who value the efforts of the 1960s rock bands. Brilliant.
Next is Smokestack Lightning is a mid-tempo groove with a great bassline driving the piece and a memorable melody. It is a good piece to hear, and builds up to the various solos by the different band members, before crashing down in musical harmony. This is brilliant blues-based music, and yes, it is infectious.
Following is Good Morning Little Schoolgirl which honestly sounds a little creepy and like pedophilia these days, but the song is very good regardless. The band plays very well here and does an excellent rendition of this classic number. Brilliant stuff. Good early rock music here.
Respectable is a great number about a girl who has done nothing sexual or romantic at all in her life. An interesting song and a good listen regardless. It goes into a pacing rhythm and lead guitar solo which sounds very loud, well maybe for the 1960s. Enjoyable and uptempo listening brilliance. There is a reference to the children’s story Humpty Dumpty towards the end of the song, again brilliant. A fun and joyous listen.
Five Long Years sounds like a more traditional blues piece by The Yardbirds. It just flows and sounds really good here. The effort by the group is really good, Eric Clapton’s lead guitar playing here is fantastic. The harmonica playing is really good as well, and the various elements of the music intertwine really well. Good and listenable traditional live music.
Next is Pretty Girl which sounds like a more urgent sounding sort of song. It’s another solid listen and just sounds really awesome. The band does well with a stop-start sort of agenda, but it is captivating listening all the way through. Great music here.
After that is Louise, a tale of childhood romance. It’s a good tune to listen to at home and dance around the place to. It’s old school music but still has heart and soul that a lot of today’s music does not. For that purpose, it is great fun and listening. Eric Clapton plays fantastically here, once again.
I’m A Man is next, and is an older generation’s tale of male pride. If a song like this were released today, you can be guaranteed that people would tear it down somehow. Still, history is history, and this is a good song, despite the overtone of male pride here. It sounds very good.
Here ‘Tis is the last piece recorded for this album. It is a great ode to music itself, and there are some excellent musical structures here. Not bad for The Yardbirds, this proves the quality of the music here. The whacked-out super-fast sections here are just awesome.
Overall, despite some dated lyrical references here, it is a very good structure of music and songs here by The Yardbirds. Sure, this is mainly a thing for those with a nostalgic ear. But it still sounds awesome today, proving that great music is timeless indeed.
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