Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Yardbirds: I’m A Man / The Train Kept A-Rollin’ (1965)

here it comes: straightforward, wild rhythm & blues, just like straight from some young guys garage or basement. the yardbirds had been among my first favourite 60s bands, probably right after the beatles – and the introduction to that decade being more than just either beatles or stones (cause thats the picture you get if you grow up as much later as i did). so raunchy and down-to-earth, they incited my addiction to that mid 60s british r&b stuff – so lively and blistering!
these two songs however are just about my favourite yardbirds tracks, because they capture the early jeff beck-phase of the group in such a fantastic way. slightly leaving the blues roots and kicking off into a high-energy garage sound – oh what a blast! here we have a cover of bo diddleys classic ‘im a man‘ – drenched with keith relfs edgy blues harp playing and driven forward by jim mccartys steady drum beat. still not losing the charakter that mr mcdaniel had given this song, it gets a real rejuvenating cure here by these young, energetic lads.
same goes to the b-side, a cover of ‘train kept a rolling’, originally performed by tiny bradshaw in 1951 (the most famous version being recorded by johnny burnette in 1956). first the blues harp sets in imitating the train whistle, and just then the songs distinctive riff starts. there are some pretty awesome guitar solos by master beck in this track – the dual lead vocals are a bit annoying though (i dont know why but in this rip i can hear the other vocals more clearly than in the ‘official’ version), because it doesnt sound like theyre singing together, but rather like singing against each other. another interesting fact is that this song was the one the yardbirds played in the antonioni movie ‘blowup‘, although with altered lyrics – their own version is called ‘stroll on’ – sure their most famous film-performance.
however, i hope you will enjoy this classic piece of garage gold after the loooooong break i had to take this year. as always, feedback is appreciated – positive or negative – and if you have questions why there are no downloads anymore, just email me.

peace & love,

interesting links:
‘blowup’ on imdb
yardbirds official website
the yardbirds on rateyourmusic
gary walker on

Labels: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


  1. avatar RP, from facebook said:

    Hi Sarah,

    Very cool site! I don’t know many in our age group into this period and who know such obscure material.

    Yeah, maybe “copied” was too strong of a word there. I’m really talking about the solos more than anything. If you listen to the final 10-15 seconds of the final “I’m A Man” solo, you’ll hear sort of a percussive scraping of the guitar. Beck (presumably) is not playing any notes, but just scraping the guitar along with the music.

    In “Psychotic Reaction” they do the same thing. Actually, there are two guitar parts, one scraping and one playing notes. This happens in both solos, about 5 seconds in.

  2. avatar Mic Gregory said:

    thanks for getting me on the tracks! when i listened to the-train-kept-a-rollin just now my zipper broke off and my entire existence flashed through before my eyes.

    you’re very right with your article; this was rough pure rock&roll on its peak and i curse current days!

    cheers, mirco

  3. thank you very much for your comments, guys!

    @roland: yeah, scraping without actually playing any notes – thats the garage spirit! i dont really know what group or particular song inspired that style of playing you can hear in thousands of mid 60s tracks, or if they all have a common source at all. but for sure there are strong connections between the songs you mentioned, you are a good observer! :-)

    @mic: haha, cursing current days… did you read my facebook essay about rihanna btw? i so LOVE your exaggerated language and enthusiastic phrases, i cant wait for your contributions on this blog!!! :-) youll be the SHIT of a music critic!

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