Eastern influence

The Yardbird Live in Spain

The Yardbirds are off to Spain tomoorow for 3 concerts in Valladolid, Madrid and Bilbao. It will be a fantastic opportunity to soak up a few of the many facets of Iberian culture, albeit for a short time. Another great culture that has been heavily influenced by Moorish and Arabic culture, architecture, science, mathematics… you name it, it’s there.

Following our recent gigs in Istanbul, Turkey, I have been pondering the influence of “Eastern” music on “Western” rock, including my own songs.

As you know, The Yardbrids were in effect a “fusion band” blending their blues influence with other in musical landscapes in true psychedelic fashion.


Perhaps the best example being “Happenings Ten years time ago“, voted top psychedelic tune by Record Buyer. It was the first single to feature Jimmy Page, and (future Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones) Voted number 3 in Record Collector’s “100 Greatest Psychedelic Records“, and was covered by Todd Rundgren in 1976 on his album Faithful.

Led Zeppelin

It is of course well-know that Pagey went on to explore eastern sounds in Led Zeppelin – the trancendent “Kashmir” springs to mind, and one of my favourite Zep tracks “Dancing Days

Lewis Taylor

Another of my musical heroes is this mysterious character called Lewis Talyor, a monster musician, and a master of that British thing we call “understatement”, kind of Prince-meets-

Curtis Mayfield-meets-Beach Boys-not-forgetting-Steely-Dan. Now retired from music, and having more or less completely erased his internet footprint, his best known moment was via

Robbie Williams, who covered a LT song called Love Light. However, I like him best when he mixes euphoria-inducing dark soul with eastern-tinged psychedelia. His first album was a masterpiece, and an enduring playlist favourite.

Several of the songs have thie wonderful meandering quality like a lazy road trip with a few surprise turns, and all-too-brief soulful guitar solos. Do yourself a favour and listen to “Lucky”, “Bittersweet” and “Track” on we7 (or grooveshark or spotify etc) http://www.we7.com/#/album/Lewis-Taylor/Lewis-Taylor-Spectrum.

The Yardbirds live in Spain in December:

Dec 9th, 2010, Carrion Theatre, Valladolid
Dec 10th, 2010, Heineken, Madrid.
Dec 11th, 2010, Kafe Antzokia, Bilbao


2 Nights In Istanbul – a great review by Jay Dobis

Following my brief write-up of the recent gigs in Istanbul, here is a great review by Jay Dobis in the online journal todayszaman.com

The Yardbirds – Two nights in Istanbul

Novernber 2010

The Yardbirds played 2 packed out shows at the Istanbul Jazz Centre, aka JC’s, a great intimate venue on the banks of The Bosphorus, owned by Jazz saxophonist and rock enthusiast Aytek ┼×ermet.

Just one look at the list of jazz greats who play there proves that it is arguably the best place in the world to go and see live jazz.

However, it had been Aytek’s long-held desire to get the Yardbirds over to Istanbul (since 1975 in fact!), and finally, here we were with our affable host.

Istanbul is a modern cosmopolitan city with a deep historical resonance and a unique blend of cultures, and the people I was lucky enough to meet and chat with were all, to a person, charming, warm and engaging.

This all added up to a special atmosphere at the club: We played two 1 hour sets, and we could therefore include some songs which have not been part of the set recently, like “Lost Woman”, “Think about it” as well as “Back where I started” from the first Box OF Frogs album, which featured Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty and vocalist John Fiddler. Jeff Beck and harmonica legend Mark Feltham are the guest soloists on “Back where I started”.

We also cooked up a storm during our extended blues jams in “Five Long Years” which has been a firm favourite at all of our recent concerts. Its always great to watch Ben King wringing all that emotion out of his Telecaster, and as usual, the audience erupted with loud enthusiasm.

As soon as we played the first notes of “For Your Love” the crowd grew even more animated, getting to their feet and singing along… they clearly love that song.

The Yardbirds live in Spain in December:

Dec 9th, 2010, Carrion Theatre, Valladolid
Dec 10th, 2010, Heineken, Madrid.
Dec 11th, 2010, Kafe Antzokia,Bilbao, SPAIN