Jimmy Page

Jimmy's Back Pages: The Early Years

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Before joining the Yardbirds, Jimmy Page was Britain's premier session guitarist, guesting on innumerable dates from the Who and the Kinks on down to total unknowns. This 22-track compilation includes some of his more notable uncredited solos, when Page was the man to give a song or a session an extra lift with his licks. As you might expect, the quality is variable, encompassing charming but wimpy Merseybeat, energetic but generic covers of '50s rock classics, and sub-Stones R&B. There are some great moments here, though. The Primitives' sides are respectable raw British R&B, and Les Fleur de Lys are like a poppier Who. Page really lets rip on his solo for the First Gear's "Leave My Kitten Alone"; it's probably the best one he recorded prior to joining the Yardbirds. This also includes the rare single cut by Nico in Britain in 1965 before joining the Velvet Underground, which has a folkish sound in the vein of Marianne Faithfull; the A-side is a cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Saying," of all things, and the B-side is a somber acoustic ballad co-written by Page himself. The set ends with its one smash hit, Donovan's "Sunshine Superman."

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