Jimmy Page

Session Man, Vol. 3

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In common with two previous (and two subsequent) volumes of Head's Session Man series, little on this disc will be new to the experienced collector, musically or otherwise. Rather, the sampling of generally medium rare singles and sessions simply illustrates a varied, if not necessarily representative, facet of the star guitarist's career. In this particular instance, however, full marks for steering clear of material previously compiled on the likes of AIP's James Patrick Page session collections, or the Early Flight boot. Four sides cut with Screaming Lord Sutch, absent from many collections of even Sutch's own work, are especially welcome, while the two Everly Brothers numbers, taken from their 1967 British live album, highlight one of Page's less known, and even lesser expected, engagements. There is also a marked avoidance of material whose Page connection is regarded as dubious. As one of Britain's most prolific sessionmen through the early-mid 1960s, Page appeared on hundreds of records, and the historical temptation has been to credit him with almost any half-decent guitar solo which can't be otherwise attributed. In this case, only the opening Shel Naylor 45 is truly questionable, although there's still no guarantee that Page is the lead guitarist on everything else. Many sessions caught him playing rhythm guitar behind Big Jim Sullivan, while the Sutch cuts (again) would leave even the best solo in the world playing second fiddle to the sound effects. Elsewhere, considerable attention is paid to the off-duty jams which seemed to so amuse British guitar heroes during the mid-1960s. The French London All Stars collection lends four cuts to the proceedings, including one, the delightfully baroque "Lord Byron Blues," whose solo pre-empt's the New Yardbirds "You Shook Me" by a full four years. (The version of that song included here is one of two tracks recorded on the as-yet unnamed Led Zeppelin's maiden Scandinavian tour.) Less essentially, two tracks from the Immediate Records blues archive compliment five more found on the Eric Clapton volume in this series (with another pair turning up on the Jeff Beck edition), bringing back happy memories for anyone with a penchant for the old Springboard label, but not much else. It's a piecemeal collection, then, but a generally enjoyable one, alive with enough guitar interest to merit hunting down, but brimming more with historical importance. Some genuinely great old 45s are resurrected, plus a Joe Cocker version of the Beatles' "I'll Cry Instead," which wipes the floor with the ex-plumber's later assaults on the Fab Four songbook. Session Man 3 isn't quite worth buying for that one track alone...but it comes close.

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