Under Review

The Yardbirds

Live At BB King Blues Club [Favoured Nations]

Review By Darren Gawle


One has to question the point of the Yardbirds’ reunion when their original vocalist is some 30 years deceased, and there’s no hope in hell that any of the three lead guitarists (Clapton, Beck, and Page) who made the band legendary would reunite for anything more than a one-off gig. But Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty deserve some credit for piecing together a new combo that comes close to recreating the sound of the original lineup. A few of the old numbers, such as “Train Kept A-Rollin’” and “Shapes Of Things,” compare favourably to the extant live Yardbirds recordings of the ‘60s I’ve heard, and at worst, other numbers such as “Heart Full Of Soul” veer into cover-band territory by virtue of being just a little too slick in their execution. Bassist/vocalist John Idan deserves mention for pulling off a spot-on Keith Relf, though.

Unfortunately, the concept unravels as the new Yardbirds (which I guess can’t officially be called the New Yardbirds courtesy of the embryonic Led Zeppelin’s use of the name in 1968) trot out material from the reunion album, Birdland. Bearing in mind that most of the Yardbirds’ best-known original material was not self-penned, McCarty does offer a glimpse of the old Yardbirds style with “Crying out for Love” and “Please Don’t Tell Me ‘Bout the News,” but as the set progresses, the new material sounds less and less like the Yardbirds the fans came to see.

Ultimately, Live At BB King Blues Club, a CD packaging of their 2006 satellite radio broadcast, adds nothing to the Yardbirds’ catalogue other than to prove that some of the members put the band back together and made an alright job of it. Not something I’d recommend spending your money on – unless you’re a Yardbirds completist.