Yardbirds – Latest Mod Sounds (Bad Wizard)

 Latest Mod Sounds (Bad Wizard)

Louise, I Wish You Would (Tell It On The Mountain July 22, 1964), I Wish You Would (Shindig August 11, 1965), I’m A Man, Heart Full Of Soul (Shivaree January 2, 1966), Still I’m Sad (Adamo Show, Belgium November 13, 1965), For Your Love, Hang On Sloopy (Richmond Shindig! August 6, 1965), Train Kept A Rollin’, Shapes Of Things (NME Poll Winners May 1, 1966), Over Under Sideways Down, Ravi Shankar interview (Whole Scene Going June 8, 1966), Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (Milton Berle October 25, 1966), Stroll On (Blow Up October 12, 1966), Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (Beat Beat Beat March 15, 1967), Dazed & Confused (Bouton Rouge March 9, 1968), Louise, I Wish You Would (Tell It On The Mountain July 22, 1964), I Wish You Would (Shindig August 10 – 11, 1965), For Your Love, Hang On Sloopy (Richmond Shindig! August 6, 1965), For Your Love, Heart Full Of Soul, I’m A Man (Shindig August 10 – 11, 1965), For Your Love (promo), I’m A Man, Still I’m Sad, Heart Full Of Soul (Shivaree January 3, 1966), I Wish You Would, You’re A Better Man Than I, Shapes Of Things (Where The Action Is March 17, 1966), Over Under Sideways Down, Turn Into Earth (Mod Mod World June 15, 1966), I’m A Man (Hullabaloo September 22, 1965), Train Kept A Rollin’ Shapes Of Things (NME Poll Winners May 1, 1966), Stroll On (Blow Up October 12, 1966), Shapes Of Things, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, Over Under Sideways Down, I’m A Man (Beat Beat Beat March 15, 1967), Heart Full Of Soul (Up Beat April 25, 1968), Train Kept A Rollin’, Dazed And Confused, Goodnight Sweet Josephine (Bouton Rouge March 9, 1968), Island. Kings And Queens (Renaissance (Keith Relf) and Jim McCarthy) (Beat Club May 30, 1970)

Latest Mod Sounds is a rare Yardbirds release, compiling together every extant and television appearances at the time of release from their first in 1964 when Eric Clapton was their guitarist through to the final days of the Jimmy Page era.  Although there are other known appearances (most notably color footage from “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”), they do not currently circulate.  Moreover, Bad Wizard present many of the clips from two unique sources.  A majority of the first sixteen clips are taken from a documentary DVD presenting excerpts from those songs in chronological order.  All but three, “Adamo Show,” “Whole Scene Going,” and “Milton Berle,” are given a more complete treatment on the second half of the disc.

The quality of the footage and sound varies depending on the source ranging from poor to excellent.  All of the television footage is in black and white and the only clips in color are the portion from the film Blow Up and the 1968 “Up Beat” footage.  The DVD is more than two hours long in the NTSC format region zero to be playable with all players.  The menus are easy to navigate and are divided into two screens.  The second screen is notable because the late Yardbirds outtake “Knowing That I’m Losing You,” which Page used several years later for “Tangerine” on Led Zeppelin III, makes its commercial debut.  The song isn’t present in its entirety unfortunately, but it is good to hear it since Page blocked it inclusion, against the protests of Chris Dreja and Jim McCarthy, on Cumular Limit released a decade ago.    

Bad Wizard arrange the video clips roughly in chronological order with the earliest placed at the beginning of the DVD.  The Yardbirds began under that name in 1963 and were signed to Columbia in February, 1964.  Their first single, “I Wish You Would” backed by “A Certain Girl” was issued in May, 1964 and unfortunately didn’t chart.  Their first television appearance was on May 22, 1964 where they played their single but unfortunately this didn’t survive (or at least isn’t available).  Another early film of their appearance at the Fourth Jazz And Blues Festival in Richmond on August 9, 1964 also isn’t present.  This last is notable for Keith Relf’s absence due to a collapsed lung.  He was replaced by Mick O’Neill.  Their appearance on “Go Tell It On The Mountain” is placed first on this release and was broadcast on the BBC on July 22, 1964. 

This is in excellent quality and is the only footage on this collection with Eric Clapton on guitar.  The next clip is a promo video for their third single and first hit “For Your Love.”  The video quality is poor and Jeff Beck appears with the band even though Clapton plays on the single.  The band are dressed in medieval armor in a field and mime to the song.  Chris Dreja plays harpsichord and the band appear at the beginning on the beats and all fall down in the end.  It is interesting to note the popularity of English bands filming promos in a field in the mid sixties.  Both Pink Floyd and The Beatles would follow with promos in a similar setting.

The second “I Wish You Would” dates from the US television show “Shindig!”  this is the earliest video footage of Jeff Beck in the band and the caption on the short clip at the beginning lists this as “Dutch T.V. February 1965.”  Bad Wizard list it as August, but other sources claim it is from December 23.  the full clip on the second half of the disc is in lesser quality than the short clip at the beginning, and the band are filmed standing in the studio and Relf is wearing very cool looking sunglasses. 

This is followed by a two clip performance from “Shindig Goes To London.”  It contains footage of two songs from the Richmond Jazz And Blues Festival.  Some sources place this in February, 1965 but the festival was always scheduled for the summer so this probably was filmed on August 13.  The clip begins with the ABC placard, has a time code in the upper right hand corner, and has a voice over speaking about the festival.  The picture quality is fuzzy, but Dreja is very animated during “For You Love,” there are many shots of screaming girls in the audience and it is very exciting footage.  The next three songs, “For Your Love” and “Heart Full Of Soul,” come from the same “Shindig!” session as “I Wish You Would” which came before the tracks from Richmond.  The best sources date the latter two songs from a broadcast on ABC on September 23.  “I’m A Man” is from the same session with the band on the same set, but comes from a broadcast on December 16, 1965.  The picture quality of this is below the others being somewhat fuzzy, but the performance is outstanding with Relf banging on the congas and Beck quoting “When The Saints Go Marching In” during the improvisatory guitar solo.  The song ends with a mini rave up while the credits roll. 

The next three songs come from “Shivaree” filmed in late 1965 and broadcast on January 8, 1966.  This was a music show taped in Los Angeles and aired from 1965 to 1968.  The video is in very good quality and contains the show’s introduction by host Gene Weed.  The band lip sync to the studio recordings and are joined by the Shivaree dancers behind them.  Only the first two songs, “I’m A Man” and “Still I’m Sad” were broadcast and the recording is in very good quality.  The third song wasn’t and what is present in this collection is a raw, pre edited film of the song “Heart Full Of Soul” with a time counter in the upper right hand corner. 

Three songs come from Dick Clark’s “Where The Action Is” from the spring, 1966.  This music show was his follow up to “American Bandstand” and ran from 1965 to 1974.  Clark’s voice is audible at the beginning of each track and each of the three were broadcast on different shows.  The video quality is fair at best and has timing counters in the corners.  The two songs from “It’s A Mod Mod World” date from the summer of 1966.  Some sources place it on June 15 and others in August.  The video quality is very poor with tape crinkles during the first song.  The second is a rare performance of “Turn Into Earth” and contains a voice over calling The Yardbirds an excellent example of the mod lifestyle.

The clip from “Hullabaloo” comes from either September or December 1965 and consists of the band  miming to “I’m A Man” with the Hullabaloo dancers vigorously dancing behind them.  The next is an excellent quality two-song clip taken from the NME Poll Winners Concert at Wembley Empire Pool on May 1, 1966.  this massive show featured The Who, The Rolling Stones, and the last official British concert of The Beatles among others.  The Yardbirds set was taped live and they deliver raw and powerful versions of “Train Kept A-Rollin'” and “Shapes Of Things.”  From the movie Blow Up the Yardbirds play a re-written version of “Train Kept A Rollin” called “Stroll On.”  This features both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page playing dual lead guitars and the former smashing one of Steve Howe’s guitars on stage. 

The four song, black and white set from “Beat Beat Beat” was videotaped at the Offenbach Stadthalle, Offenbach, Germany on March 15, 1967 right at the beginning of the sessions for their final studio album Little Games.  Relf is asked by an announcer between songs about the line up, and he explains that Beck left and they are a four piece now.  The highlight of the broadcast is a long version of “I’m A Man” with Page playing the guitar with a violin bow and McCarthy bashing out interesting rhythms.  An announcer comes on the screen at the end speaking in German.  The footage from “Up Beat” dates from April 1968 and is the final television appearance of The Yardbirds.  It was taped in New York during their final tour features the band miming to “Heart Full Of Soul.”

 The “Bouton Rouge” footage was filmed a month before “Up Beat” and features two songs from their current live set, “Train Kept A Rollin'” and “Dazed And Confused” and their latest single “Goodnight Sweet Josephine.”  The mc bops along with the music and Page’s fashion is able to make a lame song like “Josephine” look cool.  The final song is rare color footage of the first line up of Renaissance, the band Relf and McCarthy formed after leaving The Yardbirds, joined by Keith’s sister Jane Relf on vocals, John Hawkens on piano and Louis Cennamo on bass.  This dates from the May 30, 1970 broadcast of the German show “Beat Club” and they shared the show with Black Sabbath, Bloodwyn Pig and Canned Heat. 

Renaissance play an excellent song called “Island” from their debut album with an interlude that includes Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.8 in C minor, op 13 (Pathétique) which segues into “Kings And Queens.”  Relf plays guitar and is almost unrecognizable with very long hair and flowing beard, looking like a wizard.  Latest Mod Sounds is definitely recommended.  It not only presents so much rare and hard to find material, but compilations like this serve as fascinating documentaries  of a band’s career without the fast edits and sometimes annoying voice-over commentaries.  The progression, development and dissolution of the band lay right before the eyes in detail.  Another interesting clip has surfaced from Michelle Arnaud’s TV programme “Music Hall de France” of the band during the time Page was playing bass, but that came out after the Bad Wizard title.  (GS)

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