Whether it’s presaging the darker sludge of Black Sabbath (Since the World Began), a gentle Crimson and Cloveresque beauty (Shapes in my Mind), a roadhouse rattle (Nazz are Blue), some psychedelia (Hot House of Omagarashid), or capturing an energetic catchiness (Over, Sideways, Under Down) The Yardbirds’ Roger the Engineer is a perfect snapshot of the sound of its time.
This album is pre-Page Yardbirds with a heavy influence by the innovative guitarist Jeff Beck. The reissue I have includes several bonus tracks as well as a combination of both the US and UK original releases which were inexplicably different.
The band never seemed to resonate with the American public quite as strongly as other British Invasion acts did, but as it was the launching pad for Beck, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page, it’s hard to look back on the Yardbirds without wonder. Roger the Engineer is an eclectic display of their talents and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites of the era. Plus, I adore the cover art: a wonky, trippy pen drawing by band member Chris Dreja.