The Yardbirds

Train Kept A-Rollin' [Box Set]

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Subtitled "The Complete Giorgio Gomelsky Productions," this four-CD set originally appeared just when the music world was going box-set crazy. It is somewhat awkwardly packaged as a pair of narrow double jewel cases in a too-large black box, which was handy to hold the bonus Yardbirds T-shirt that came in each of the first pressings. The set offers all 90 known 1963-1966 Yardbirds tracks -- featuring Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck (augmented by a pair of 1967 live tracks with Jimmy Page in the lineup) -- that are owned by Charly Records and were remastered using the best-known sources as of 1993 and state-of-the-art technology. The sound quality is pretty impressive for that time, and it's still acceptable, although it has since been improved upon by Repertoire's schedule of releases. Train Kept A-Rollin', however, is still the handiest way to get all of the hits, concert recordings, outtakes, and odd tracks in one place. The music is assembled Bear Family-style, in recording date order (and one wishes the song lists appeared on the outside rather than the inside of the jewel cases). Inevitably, there will be some feeling of repetition, as some songs appear in two or more live renditions or studio outtakes (though some of the latter, such as the sitar version of "Heart Full of Soul" are most fascinating). The CDs are accompanied by a booklet filled with (seemingly) just about every known fact about the Yardbirds.