Top Topham’s recent rejoining with the Yardbirds — for whom he served as original lead guitarist in their art-school days — was a chance to come full circle. He began that journey here, however, in an often-overlooked reunion with drummer Jim McCarty.
The former Yardbirds bandmates got together back in 1990 for sessions that make up the forthcoming Topham McCarty Band recording, highlighted by this energetic take on an Otis Rush classic, but for some reason never released the album. (Topham’s Yardbirds replacement Eric Clapton, fans will remember, later did a memorable take on “All Your Love” with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers in 1966.) The next time we heard McCarty and the singer on this date, John Idan, they’d jumpstarted the Yardbirds again — and Idan would front the group from 1992 through 2009.
Now, Topham McCarty Band is finally set for release on April 1, 2014, via Mooreland Street Records. Topham, who is also joined here by bassist Andy Cleveland, unleashes a series of tasty, economical licks — illustrating why he’s remained such an intriguing figure, despite the Yardbirds having been home to a succession of far more famous players in his spot.
Topham, after all, later worked as a sessions musician on albums by Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green and Christine McVie. But for his age — Topham was only 15 when his school-boy bandmates decided to make music full time — who knows where he might have landed in the heirarchy of Yardbirds guitarists? Topham later worked as an art dealer before rejoining his old group last summer when co-founder Chris Dreja departed for medical reasons. The current edition of the Yardbirds, who just released the live set Making Tracks, also includes McCarty, Ben King, Dave Smale and vocalist Andy Mitchell.