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Glimpses 1963-1968

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Album Review

Among major league ‘60s rock & rollers, there is no discography as confusing as that of the Yardbirds. True, the Small Faces may run a close second, but those essentially recycle existing recordings: many of the Yardbirds' non-canonical sessions belong to a variety of copyright holders who happily license them to anybody that will foot the bill, causing intense catalog confusion. Easy Action's Glimpses is truly the first attempt to do a successful comprehensive roundup of rarities, packaging a variety of alternate takes, live cuts, commercials, and BBC Sessions in a handsome box. Much of this is officially unreleased, some of it is unheard, and even though it runs well over 100 tracks, there are some areas that are either missing or glossed over (no cuts of the band supporting Sonny Boy Williamson, for instance). Still, given a myriad of confusing licensing reasons, this is as definitive a collection of rarities that could possibly exist, presented in the best audio possible (and some of this is indeed pretty rough, drowning in hiss and crackles), and presented as a thorough narrative of the band’s career, complete with interview clips. Certainly, it is too much to digest in one sitting — it is clearly an archival project, proceeding doggedly through its history and sometimes hampered by its shaky audio — but all of it is interesting and much of it is compelling, particularly the live cuts and BBC Sessions. Of course, Glimpses is for the hardcore fan, the kind whose shelves are filled with all those cut-rate comps and boots released over the years, but it is a set that will thrill them: it’s handsome, entertaining, and, surprisingly, has more than its share of small revelations.


Formed: 1963 in Surrey, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '10s

The Yardbirds are mostly known to the casual rock fan as the starting point for three of the greatest British rock guitarists: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. Undoubtedly, these three figures did much to shape the group's sound, but throughout their career, the Yardbirds were very much a unit, albeit a rather unstable one. And they were truly one of the great rock bands; one whose contributions went far beyond the scope of their half dozen or so mid-'60s hits ("For Your Love," "Heart Full...
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