The Pretty Things / Yardbird Blues Band / The Yardbirds

The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991

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This set, attributed to the Pretty Things-Yardbird Blues Band, is really more Pretty Things (thanks to strong vocal work by Phil May and some striking lead guitar from Dick Taylor, the two cornerstones of the Pretty Things) than the Yardbirds (although former Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty is on hand), and it doesn’t add much to the legacy of either band, really, although it is a strikingly good outing. The tracks collected here originated when May and Taylor teamed up with McCarty and guitarist and blue harpist Studebaker John and bassist Richard Hite for two George Paulus-produced albums recorded in Chicago in 1991. The sound is very good, and these weren’t throwaway sessions, with the blended band tackling classic songs like “Spoonful,” “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover,” “Time Is on My Side” (Taylor was briefly a guitarist for the Rolling Stones early in that group’s career), “Ain’t Got You,” and “Chain of Fools,” among others. Again, nothing here adds much to the legacy of either the Pretty Things or the Yardbirds, but fans of either or both bands will undoubtedly love this interesting curio.

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