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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Yardbirds - "Little Games" Vinyl, LP, UK, 1967 (Fame)


I have been avoiding The Yardbirds' album "Little Games" due that I love the b-sides of the singles of the Jimmy Page era Yardbirds.   To my surprise, I found another version of the album with the additional b-sides on it.  Bingo! Now my life is complete (in theory).  The band at this time was in a weird frame of mind.  I think everyone was thinking about their future while recording this album.  That is expressed by the duality of the songs on the album.  On one end of the spectrum you have the rockin' blues Yardbirds that is very close to their R n B roots, but then there are the sneaky ultra-pop songs of that year (1967) as well.   Me being perverse, prefer the pop material.  "Ha Ha Said the Clown" and "Goodnight Sweet Josephine" (both written by a Tony Hazzard, must make a note to check him out) are works of genius.  The muscular sound of the Yardbirds (especially Jimmy Page) adds a nervous tension to these pair of melodic songs. 

"White Summer" is Led Zeppelin just right around the corner, as well as "Think About It," but then you have Nilsson's "Ten Little Indians" or "Little Soldier Boy."  Mikie Most produced the album and b-sides, and it's interesting to note the sonic and aesthetic difference from the Jeff Beck years to this.  Which is confused, but that's OK.   In parts, the album reminds me of being a little bro to the Stones' "Between the Buttons."  I think 1967 was a year where musicians didn't only stretch out in the studio but also brought variety to the album package/sound.  Which can work, but I think The Yardbirds true nature is to have a guitar rave-up than say a retro British Music Hall "I Remember the Night."   By no means a masterpiece, but a splendid album.