"Over, Under, Sideways, Down" or "The Yardbirds" or "Roger the Engineer" was the Yardbirds` first real album released in 1966. They had released two albums in America in 1965 "For Your Love" and "Having a Rave Up", but they were merely a compilations of singles, EP`s , live-recordings or obscure recording which were included to fill up the albums to reach an acceptable playing-time. For the first time they were given the opportunity to record a real album. The were not given unlimited studio-time; on the contrary; the album was recorded during a very short time-period; I believe it was about 2 weeks. This makes the result even more impressive. It`s no exaggeration to call this album one a the greatest of the mid-sixties. Very tight playing by everyone, impressive and innovative guitar-work from Jeff Beck, solid vocals and great songs.
In my opinion there is no doubt that it`s Jeff Beck who makes the difference. I love the sounds he can get out of his guitar. It`s not difficult to imagine how he stunned people listening to his guitar back in 66. The great mixture of traditional blues and the new psychedelic sounds has never been surpassed.
Even classic 12 bar blues tracks like "Lost Woman","Over, Under, Sideways, Down", "The Nazz Are Blue", "Rack My Mind", "Jeff`s Boogie" and "What Do You Want" sounded (sounds) new; and these recordings still sound uplifting and full of energy today.
On songs like "Ever Since The World Began", "Turn Into Earth", "Hot House" and "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" showed a purer progressive side of the band. In fact "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" was not originally included on the album, as it was recorded shortly after, at a time when Jimmy Page had also joined the group. "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" was released as a single with "Psycho Daisies" as the b-side. These two songs have been featured on most re-releases of the album, and can almost be considered as originals. The moving "Farewell" is a another favourite; makes you think of the sad destiny of Keith Relf who died electrocuted in 1976 by his own guitar while practising at his home.
Unfortunately this 2 lead-guitarist period would last very short, as Jeff Beck soon left. As far as I know, they only recorded 3 songs; with "Stroll On" from the movie "Blow Up" as the third.
The bonus tracks make the CD an even better buy. The Keith Relf solo tracks a all solid; in fact they are really the Yardbirds backing singer Relf. "Mr Zero" is not far from later Yardbirds recordings like "Little Soldier Boy".
If you`re even the least interested in the music that came out of the 1960`s this milestone is a must buy!