Having a Rave up with the Yardbirds

Greatly Appreciated

Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds,  or simply Having a Rave Up, is the second American album by English rock group the Yardbirds.  It was released in November 1965, eight months after Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton on guitar.  It includes songs with both guitarists and reflects the group’s blues rock roots and their early experimentations with psychedelic and hard rock.  In addition to the studio material, the album contains some of the earliest live recordings with Clapton.  Recorded in March 1964, they appeared on the band’s British debut album, Five Live Yardbirds, which was not issued in the United States.  Next to their 1967 Greatest Hits collection, Having a Rave Up is the Yardbirds’ highest-charting album in the US and remains their longest-lasting release.  Several music critics have cited the album’s influence, particularly on hard rock guitar.  Rolling Stone magazine called it “the bridge between beat groups and psychedelia”.  (More from Wikipedia)

It wasn’t just the hits though; their album tracks also sound terrific, but it is as a live band that the Yardbirds truly cook.  On my first Yardbirds album, The Yardbirds’ Greatest Hits, one live track was included, a scorching cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning”; as much as I loved the hit songs that made up most of the tracks, it quickly became one of my favorite songs on the album.  Smokestack Lightning was taken from the band’s first (British) album, Five Live Yardbirds, described by Allmusic as “the first important – indeed, essential – live album to come out of the 1960’s British rock & roll boom”.  And how many rock bands have the guts to put out a concert album as their debut release?  Five Live Yardbirds wasn’t released in the U.S. until a CD finally came out in the 1980’s, although one side of Having a Rave up with the Yardbirds was composed of four songs from the album.  


(May 2014)


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The Yardbirds included Train Kept A-Rollin’ on their second American album, Having a Rave up with the Yardbirds that is absolutely chock full of classic songs; in addition to their major hits “I’m a Man and Heart Full of SoulHaving a Rave Up includes “Evil Hearted You” and “Still I’m Sad”, plus a full side of the Yardbirds in concert featuring Eric Clapton on lead (taken from their British debut album, Five Live Yardbirds) that includes I’m a Man again plus their devastating cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning that I first heard on their 1967 collection The Yardbirds’ Greatest Hits.  Anyone who thinks that the British Invasion began and ended with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones needs to hear this music post haste. 
(June 2015)
Last edited: April 8, 2021