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Published: 2013/01/14

Yardbirds - Making Tracks: On Tour 2010-2012

Howlin’ Wolf/MVDvisual

There are no sightings of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck but that’s alright. This 21st century version of Yardbirds unites original members Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja with musicians a couple generations younger who capably carry on the band’s legacy. “Making Tracks” compiles live clips from five concerts over a two-year span. Switching from show to show may be disconcerting visually but it works out, musically, into a cohesive 15-song set. A second disc offers a tour documentary featuring interviews with all the members as well as several bonus tracks plus a couple from a McCarty solo project.

The concert segments offer something old (classics such as “Heartful of Soul,” “Shapes of Things” and “Over Under Sideways Down”), something new (“Mystery of Being,” “Crying Out for Love” and “My Blind Life” from 2003’s “Birdland”) and something borrowed (a cover of “I’m a Man”). With mighty shoes to fill, guitarist Ben King supplies economical solos that give a nod to the Book of Beck but are stamped by his own personality within the group’s sound. Overall, becoming one part of the whole is what works best in this latest Yardbirds lineup. Because of that there’s a consistent line that runs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act’s mid-‘60s commercial peak to this latest incarnation without tarnishing its history. “Making Tracks” may take fans on a nostalgic journey but Dreja, McCarty, King plus Andy Mitchell (vocals, guitar, percussion) and David Smale (bass, vocals) keep the music and the artist relevant.

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