2004 Sundazed reissue...Unissued concert recording, ca. 1964, featuring Eric Clapton!
In the early 1960s, the English music scene was in transition. Trad jazz still held sway over a large segment of music enthusiasts and nascent British rockers like Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele were on the upswing, albeit with a largely tame style. But in the underground, an enthusiastic cult rabidly pursued American blues and R&B. Passing imported records around like sacred scrolls, these blues acolytes absorbed everything thing they could about this exotic music from a far-off land. Before long, these students graduated from listening to actually playing the blues, tentatively at first, but gaining confidence daily. As groups began to form, a competition of sorts ensued, wherein the participants battled to be the best at replicating the wild, howling sounds from across Atlantic. Of all the young blues combos, the best and the absolute wildest was the Yardbirds.
Too often, the Yardbirds are merely pigeonholed as the “guitar hero farm team” that introduced Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page to the rock world. This outlook unfairly underplays their outrageous talents as a live band. For those not fortunate enough to have seen the band live in their formative years, Live! Blueswailin’ July ’64 is cause for celebration! Sourced from a tape that surfaced in 2003, these tracks capture the band in their second incarnation, with Eric Clapton on lead guitar. Clapton’s reputation was just starting to build among guitar enthusiasts and this tape provides a rare sample of his formative years. Particularly on the closing number, “The Sky Is Crying,” Clapton gives ample evidence of the skills that would soon earn him nicknames like “God,” “Slowhand” and, er, “Derek.”
But this isn’t just “the Clapton show.” Indeed, the entire band is on fire here, wailing in full “rave-up” mode! You can feel the excitement as the group takes ownership of blues classics like “Smokestack Lightning” and transforms them into something truly unique, something uniquely Yardbirds. The sound quality is astonishing, clearly eclipsing all previous live releases of the band, slim as that library was. It is a true “fly on the wall” listening experience, with the visceral flow of a band at their prime on full display. Sundazed is thrilled to present this historic recording for the first time on vinyl, high-definition vinyl, no less, meticulously remastered from the original analog soundboard recording. Got solid, screamin’ blues love if you want it! - sundazed.com