RELEASE
1989
LABEL
AIP
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Freakbeat, British Blues, Rock & Roll, Regional Blues, Psychedelic, British Invasion

Album Review

Before he was a guitar god with Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page was a guitarist for hire, bouncing from studio to studio while lending his growing talents to a host of British beat groups. Session Man, Vol. 1 gathers up some of those recordings he made as a session cat between 1963 and 1965, along with both sides of a rare solo single he cut in 1965, two Yardbirds tracks from 1967 BBC sessions, and the original version of "Dazed and Confused" as recorded by Jake Holmes, which had no Page involvement whatsoever. (The compilers of the disc added it because they thought Holmes' version was "brilliant in its own right" -- fair enough and correct, as it turns out.) The early tracks on which Page played are mostly pretty standard beat group stompers and mid-tempo ballads worth hearing only for the guitar breaks on which his wildness totally eclipses the otherwise bland band. When Page's inspired playing is added to an inspired track, the results are breathtaking. Examples of that rare magic are the Sneekers cover of the Kinks' "I Just Can't Go to Sleep," which benefits greatly from Page's oddly reverbed backing licks; the First Gear's pounding cover of "Leave My Kitten Alone" featuring Page's rhythm playing, which gets more and more frantic before bursting an insane solo; Mickey Finn's very Them-sounding "Night Comes Down;" and Lulu's tough as nails cover of the Rolling Stones "Surprise Surprise" -- the one song where the singer's intensity matches Page's. As for his solo single, it is pretty good; the A-side, "She Just Satisfies," is a tough and rollicking chunk of Bo Diddley inspired garage rock with Page's vocals coming off surprisingly strong. The B-side, "Keep Movin'," is a rocking instrumental that is marred by a bad mix, but, as usual, Page's confident and imaginative playing saves the day. The Yardbirds' songs are very raw BBC sessions which have since been officially released. In fact, many of these songs have shown up on other collections of Page's early work. Despite that and the sometimes low fidelity (which is not too surprising given the quasi-bootleg nature of the release), Session Man, Vol. 1 is still worth checking out as the song selection is very good and Page's solos are sure to knock your socks off.
Tim Sendra, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Don't You Dig This Kinda Beat
  2. Sweet Little Baby
  3. Roll Over Beethoven
  4. Somebody Told My Girl
  5. My Baby Left Me
  6. Once in a While
  7. Money Honey
  8. That's Alright
  9. I Just Can't Go to Sleep
  10. A Certain Girl
  11. Leave My Kitten Alone
  12. How Do You Feel
  13. Zoom, Widge and Wag
  14. She Just Satisfies
  15. Keep Movin'
  16. Night Comes Down
  17. Little by Little
  18. Surprise, Surprise
  19. Little Games
  20. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
  21. Dazed and Confused