Sound — 10
Roger The Engineer is a varied album. The Yardbirds were previously a blues act, but were at this point experimenting. The early psychedelic style, fresh and new in 1966, colors the album. Middle Eastern influence is all over Jeff Beck's playing. Weird little bits of drugged up dream music like the dreary "Turn Into Earth" really dazzle and daze. The odd little instrumental "Hot House Of Omagarashid" is pure silliness. Blues is not gone from their vocabulary here, however. "Lost Woman" and "The Nazz Are Blue," for instance, are freak-out friendly psychedelic blues. The sound quality is good also.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics vary with the songs. The bluesier songs are typical "evil woman" stories. The trippier tunes are mind expanding workouts full of magic and poetry. The lyrics are all-in all pretty good. Keith Relf's voice has great range. On some songs he's deep and gentle, on most he yelps with glee and mirth.
Overall Impression — 8
Roger The Engineer was The Yardbirds' first album with Jeff Beck. Before this, their discography had been a bit muddled and uneven. In their attempt at a proper album, this, they couldn't stay very consistant. As it turns otu though, the variety may be the album's best asset. There's psychedelic blues, pure psychedelic pop work, and even a straight-up boogie woogie instrumental, "Jeff's Boogie." The album is the best showcase of Keith Relf's vocal range, and Jeff Beck gets some good lead licks in. Jim McCarty and Paul Samwell-Smith provide the rhythm with no trouble at all. While might be put off by the varied atmosphere, its definately the Yardbird CD everyone needs (the CD contains two bonus tracks, which feature Jimmy Page, who joined the group later that year. John Paul Jones plays on one. In 1968, the band fell apart leaving Jones and Page to pick up the pieces. Thus was born: Led Zeppelin).