The Yardbirds

Cumular Limit

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This is an uneven but generally pleasing compilation of Yardbirds material. The highlight is a series of four-tracks off German television from March of 1967, a point when the band, with Jimmy Page on lead guitar, was immersed in psychedelia. Among the tracks played live is "Happenings Ten Years' Time Ago," perhaps the culmination of the group's psychedelic period and otherwise under-represented in their concert output; Page does a good job of replicating the single's double lead guitar sound, including the stripped-down break. "Over Under Sideways Down," "Shapes of Things," and "I'm a Man," all of which are represented on the group's official live album, are all well recorded, and "I'm a Man" (perhaps the most ubiquitous song in the group's output, with three official versions) comes off well, apart from the closing credit announcement in German that intrudes over the finale, but the other cuts reveal just how sloppy the band could be in their media appearances; on the plus side, Keith Relf is in much better voice here than he is on the official Anderson Theater live album from a year later. The major part of disc one is a set of alternate takes of late-era tracks of which "White Summer" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor" are the strongest numbers. What sounds like a work-in-progress version of "Ten Little Indians" featuring the guitar up close and personal (and projecting some ornate feedback) may please Jimmy Page completists (who will also devour the tracks "You Stood My Love" and its accompanying unreleased cuts, "Avron Knows"; they aren't much as songs (though they're better than much of what is on Little Games), but they do offer Page playing some aggressive and appealing leads, while "Spanish Blood" has him playing gorgeous Spanish guitar. A live version of "I'm Confused" from France in March of 1968 comes off much better than the official Anderson Theater version from later the same month. The second disc is a CD-ROM containing the video version of the four German television songs on disc one; it has amazingly high quality and is enjoyable as one of the few fairly lengthy extant glimpses of the group playing to an audience.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick