Monday, October 21, 2013

The Magical Mystery Listening Tour: Day 18

Thanks to alphabetical order, today is dominated by BBC sessions:

Cream - BBC Sessions
Led Zeppelin - BBC Sessions
The Who - BBC Sessions
The Yardbirds - BBC Sessions

Cream's sessions are really nice, although for a band that thrived on the live stage and on volume and extended improvisation, you'd think these radio spots would be tame. To the contrary, it forces them to tighten them up a bit and they almost veer into power-pop territory. Either way, they're a blast to listen to. Led Zeppelin, same thing, they sound poppier than they ever would before or after. Plus, we get some never-recorded-for-album cuts including covers of Something Else, The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair, and the blistering Traveling Riverside Blues. The Who, yet again, would seem to be too explosive to be contained in a radio studio live setting, but they come off great. Since they were for all intents and purposes the inventors of power-pop in the mid-1960s, this makes sense, but even the later sessions from '68-'72 sound like the energy is barely contained in the shorter radio format. Finally, wrapping up the BBC sessions, the Yardbirds' collection covers all three era, from Clapton to Beck to Page, and has some great cuts. Interesting that two of those three (Clapton, Page) were also represented in today's listening in their subsequent bands, the ones which made their legends (Clapton in Cream, Page in Led Zeppelin).

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