Birdland Album reviews.
Release Date: 04.22.03
Record label: Favored Nations Records
by: john reed
Does anyone in rock have a more prestigious legacy than the Yardbirds? Probably not, since most bands have not had the luxury of having the headiest trio of lead guitarists (Clapton, Beck & Page) pass through the bands rotating roster. While the legacy is good, it has also proven a cross to bear for the other band members. Add to that the loss of lead singer Keith Relf (who died in '76), the chances of seeing any incarnation of the band, except as a tribute, seemed lean at best (especially in the wake of the lack of interest that followed the Box Of Frogs band in the mid-80's, which featured three original Yardbirds).
Now down to two original members, rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja and drummer Jim McCarty, the band, with three new members, have released a new studio recording - the first new Yardbirds product since Little Games in 1967. Saying that the CD is "new material" is a bit of a stretch, as the revamped Yardbirds spend a good deal of time actually covering themselves on Birdland.
Though they start off the CD strappingly with an authentic rendition of "I'm Not Talking," they do make a misstep or two, especially in their choice of guest musicians. Queen's Brian May does some inspiring solo work on "Mr. You're A Better Man Than I," as does Stevie Vai on "Shape Of Things." But having a lesser talent as the Goo Goo Doll's Johnny Resnick guest on "For Your Love" (which really should not have been tampered with in the first place) was a blunder. Though, this is just a trifling distraction as it was more than a coup in getting Jeff Beck to play on "My Blind Life," which turns out to be the most stirring, albeit nostalgic, moment on the CD.
A valiant effort and proof that, even though the original members are presently scant, the rock world will always welcome any form of the Yardbirds. 04-Jun-2003 10:47 AM