Eric Clapton & The Yardbirds

The album takes off with a live version of Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock" and that's exactly what this CD accomplishes from beginning to end. The album features Keith Relf o­n vocals and harmonica, Paul "Sam" Samwell-Smith o­n bass guitar, Chris Dreja o­n rhythm guitar, Jim McCarthy o­n drums, and, of course, Eric "Slowhand" Clapton o­n lead guitar. The songs o­n the CD were recorded between October 1963, when Clapton first joined the group, and March 1965. Producer Greg Russo has wisely chosen to include nine live cuts out of the twenty tracks included o­n this album. Many of the live tracks are fast, furious, and tight with excited stage announcers and screaming fans that will remind the listener of the electricity that surrounded this era of rock music. Some of my favorite tracks o­n this album include: John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom," Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning," Bo Diddley's "Here 'Tis," and, the ever-popular "For Your Love" by Graham Gouldman. Clapton is identifiable o­n every track with his stunning blues-based guitar solos that eventually launched him into stardom.

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