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JIM MCCARTY

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Jim McCarty biography
James Stanley McCarty - Born 1943-07-25 (Liverpool, UK)

Best known as one of the founder members of THE YARDBIRDS and RENAISSANCE, drummer and vocalist Jim McCARTY worked on a number of other projects over the years, including SHOOT in 1973, the New Age ensemble STAIRWAY, the original RENAISSANCE line-up reunion band ILLUSION and (in 1990) a YARDBIRDS reunion called A BOX OF FROGS. In 1992 McCARTY and Chris DREJA would reform the YARDBIRDS again, this time under their original name, with guest appearances by Jeff BECK, Brian MAY, Steve VAI, Steve LUKATHER and SLASH on their only studio release from this incarnation, the 2003 "Birdland" album.

In all the bands McCARTY has worked in he has been prominent as one of the main composers and song-writers as well as providing backing vocals and the occasional lead. During the course of writing and composing McCARTY taught himself to play guitar and piano. In 1994 he released his first solo album, "Out of the Dark" and in 2003 he released his second, "Sitting On Top Of Time", which features guest appearance by Steve HACKETT.

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Buy JIM MCCARTY Music


FrontmanFrontman
Extra tracks · Limited Edition
McM Records 2017
$13.85
$18.36 (used)
Talkin' to MyselfTalkin' to Myself
CD Baby 2018
$17.98
Jim McCarty And Friends II - Live From Callahan'sJim McCarty And Friends II - Live From Callahan's
CD Baby 2016
$100.00
Walking In The Wild LandWalking In The Wild Land
Angel Air 2018
$10.16
$6.74 (used)
Jim McCarty and FriendsJim McCarty and Friends
CD Baby 2011
$100.00
$69.99 (used)
Jim McCarty & Mystery Train (Live)Jim McCarty & Mystery Train (Live)
CD Baby 2013
$79.99 (used)
Sitting On the Top of TimeSitting On the Top of Time
Troubadour 2010
$11.37
$3.82 (used)
Outside Woman BluesOutside Woman Blues
Silica 2002
$196.78

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JIM MCCARTY discography


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JIM MCCARTY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 4 ratings
Out Of The Dark
1994
3.39 | 3 ratings
Sitting On The Top Of Time
2009
3.00 | 3 ratings
Walking In The Wild Land
2018

JIM MCCARTY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JIM MCCARTY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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JIM MCCARTY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JIM MCCARTY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Walking In The Wild Land by MCCARTY, JIM album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Walking In The Wild Land
Jim McCarty Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Having a mid septuagenarian Jim McCarty still around and recording is so much better than no Jim McCarty at all that every new release is a bonus gift in itself. His solo works are sparse even as he remains involved in collaborative projects. "Walk in the Wild Land" is the first in 9 years, since "Sitting on the Top of Time".

This time around the arrangements are a bit sparser, mostly acoustic guitar and his expressive voice. A few tracks are more upbeat, and appearances by Alex Lifeson and John Hawken do not disappoint. Overall this is the least traditionally progressive of the three records in his name, even allowing for the new age forays of its predecessor.

Lyrically, the themes of connection to nature juxtaposed with detachment from materialism remain, with an appreciation for healthy life into later years. He is expressing more concern over the tendency of elders to live in the past, now that the generation of free love has hit its twilight years in full force. "I don't want to talk about 69" barely conceals a double entendre that is perhaps innocent perhaps wholly intended. He seems to have breached the fuzzy border between the necessity for centering oneself in an increasingly dysfunctional world and baby boomer egotism. While "Charmed" is the quintessential statement of this subtle shift, it's also one of the most enjoyable numbers, so there you go!

While a simpler and at times more simplistic McCarty is presented here, he remains a genial and reassuring companion for an occasional real or virtual walk in the woods.

 Walking In The Wild Land by MCCARTY, JIM album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Walking In The Wild Land
Jim McCarty Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars This is the third solo album from McCarty, but he will always be thought of as the drummer of The Yardbirds, the only man who stayed true to that group through all its different versions since they first came together to support Cyril Davies in 1963 (as a side note, if you have never come across this amazing blues harmonica player you need to do so!). His vocals may not be as strong as they used to be, but in fairness he is 75 later this year! Here he provides vocals, acoustic guitar and some drums, and he has been joined by fellow Renaissance co-founder John Hawken on a couple of numbers with delicate piano. Mind you, probably the most surprising guest is Alex Lifeson, who provides lead guitar and synth guitar on 'Soft In A Hard Place'.

In many ways this is an album of its time, and that time was probably either the late Sixties or mid Seventies. But, Jim is producing psychedelic pastoral folk with hints of folk, and it is obvious that he is doing so because he wants and needs to, as opposed to being forced to. There is a gentle flow through the songs, and it is incredibly easy to listen to. This is never going to set the world alight, but for someone who has been involved with the music scene for 55 years he is showing that he has lost none of his knack of writing good material, even if it may not have the punch of his heyday. Obviously fans of his previous bands, and possibly even Rush completists, will search this out. But actually, if you just want something to play on a summer's day that isn't going to tax either the ears or the braincells, then this could be the perfect sonic tonic.

 Walking In The Wild Land by MCCARTY, JIM album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Walking In The Wild Land
Jim McCarty Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars As a keeper of the flame of the first incarnation of Renaissance and of the songwriter and male vocalist for the later Illusion projects, namely Jim McCarty, I would be remiss if I failed to review his latest offering from 2018 titled Walking In The Wild Land. With songs written in a similar philosophical vain to the proceeding album from 2009 titled Sitting On The Top Of Time, I can quickly say that it's another quality offering from McCarty. However, this time most of the songs are arranged and performed in a more straight up singer/songwriter style that one would have encountered in the 1970's and '80's. That doesn't make the songs bad but they are less intriguing from those found on Sitting On The Top Of Time as they are somewhat stripped of their moody, atmospheric and, at times, esoteric musical themes and general vibes.

That said, the acoustic guitars return along with tasteful piano and keyboard playing from several guests, including the incredible John Hawken, as well as the hypnotic bass playing of producer George Koller. Where McCarty had Steve Hackett guest on electric lead from one song on Sitting On The Top Of Time, the great Alex Lifeson does a similar turn on this album's fifth track titled "Soft In A Hard Place". It has a smoking Santana-like "Smooth" tone and really wakes up this sleepy song. How great it must be top be able to call upon such stellar friends to contribute to one's album projects! Amazing. Other Standout tracks include the title track which features a stirring violin accompaniment. The Renaissance-like "Mountain Song", "Right On The Road" and "Dancing Leaves" are quite good due to their reliance on captivating piano and bass interplay. Oddly, for this album, the up tempo "Charmed" could have been a Smile era Beach Boys song in some alternate universe, with it's cheery use of a flugelhorn to steer the melody between the song's catchy verses and chorus, along with it's swooping vocal harmonies. As I stated above, Walking A Wild Land doesn't have quite the charm of it's predecessor, but it's still a valuable addition to the growing McCarty solo canon. Yes, quite amazing indeed.

 Sitting On The Top Of Time by MCCARTY, JIM album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.39 | 3 ratings

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Sitting On The Top Of Time
Jim McCarty Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Former Yardbird and Renaissance co-founder Jim McCarty is a man of deep talent as his late era solo albums can attest. 2009's Sitting On The Top of Time was a bit of a patchwork recording when McCarty's schedule permitted and was compiled over the course of a few years, but has a wonderful continuity due the depth of the stellar musicians backing him. Indeed, this group of Canadian studio pros were well versed with each other and perform together almost like a band that has played together for 20 years. Standouts include flutist Ron Korb, uber bassist George Koller and magical keyboardists Donald Quan and Lou Pamanti. Grounding this group of jazz inflected players is McCarty himself on drums, which adds a welcome counterpoint to their fluid sense of rhythm and melody.

While McCarty's lyrics deal with his growing spirituality and finding his place in the world, the support players spin mystical and at times ethereal backing to these wonderful songs, particularly Korn's moving and emotive flute playing matched with equally moving and emotive piano playing from Quan and Pamanti. Standout tracks include "The Outsider", "Blowing Through the Country Side", "Living From the Inside Out" (which features stirring guitar leads and coda from the one and only Steve Hackett),"For Eloise", "Temporary Life" and the Beatlesque title tack "Sitting On The Top of Time". The trio of Korn led instrumentals are good with" The End of May' being the standout. Lesser musicians would have let these songs slip into an MOR morass, but these stellar musicians make them soar. McCarty has only grown as a vocalist and his sincere delivery really helps to drive the songs home. 4 stars for the man that has that Renaissance vibe always imbeded deep in his soul and in his music.

 Sitting On The Top Of Time by MCCARTY, JIM album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.39 | 3 ratings

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Sitting On The Top Of Time
Jim McCarty Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars This 2009 release is the end result of several years of studio sessions recorded in Toronto during gaps in YARDBIRDS' tours. Canadian flautist Ton Korb plays a major role both as performer and behind the scenes, melding his gentle varied woodwinds to the soft rock sound already established by McCarty and renewed every 3/4 of a decade or so, on an as needed basis. And need it we do.

Again, perhaps even more so than on "Out of the Dark", this is an almost incessantly mellow album that skirts the fringes of new age both musically and lyrically, but, while it is somewhat more sprawling, it retains the same dark optimism if you will, of a man coming to terms with his place in the grand scheme of things. It is imparted in a manner neither preachy nor shrouded nor cliched, but with a beguiling clarity. Still, if your progressive rock must be igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic, you'll want to steer clear.

The music is reminiscent of early RENAISSANCE and ILLUSION, with acoustic guitars and pianos often forming the base, and an able rhythm section more than ready to fill in on those tracks where larger items need to be moved. Flutes and the occasional cello and other orchestration impart additional delicacy and care. A caring reverence is imparted in every note and vocal breath..

More space is allowed for instrumentals, the most impressive being the piano dominated "Hidden Nature" and the 7+ minute closer "Shangri-la", but these are not for the impatient, as they unfold gradually and subtly, and never really bust out. The flutes so critical to the atmosphere in these tracks bring to mind the work of HEVIA from Asturias in Spain, such is the connection within the Celtic diaspora. For the vocal tracks led by McCarty himself and his unassuming timber, "The Outsider", "Living from the Inside Out", and "Calling out to you" could all be classics in a just world, supported by delicate electric guitar work by the STEVE HACKETT" and JEAN-MICHEL KAJDAN, as well as Korb. These would probably be of more interest to the RENAISSANCE/ILLUSION fan who doesn't just like them because of their angelic female singers. The title cut and "Blowing Through the Countryside" both seem trite in comparison, while "Hummingbird" fails to generate any of the buzz one would expect from the tiny winged creature.

While not attaining the top layer of soft crossover prog comfortably occupied by "Out of the Dark", this disk provides a panoramic look down at the long gone days with loving kindness. 3.5 stars rounded down for this site.

 Out Of The Dark by MCCARTY, JIM album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.83 | 4 ratings

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Out Of The Dark
Jim McCarty Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Jim McCarty is one of the few longtime progressive artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although this achievement was based entirely on his work in the seminal YARDBIRDS. McCarty has stated that his move in a mellower direction was a direct reaction to the high decibel lifestyle, and this decision gave rise to his larger and arguably more significant body of work. As a key member of the original RENAISSANCE and ILLUSION he is well known to symphonic fans, but he has also been involved in several other formations, among them PILGRIM (like a less flashy BLACKMORE's NIGHT) and STAIRCASE (new age), and has released two solo albums, via which route he comes to our attention at this time.

On the surface, "Out of the Dark" is merely a collection of good soft rock tunes along the lines of ILLUSION's rather ignominious "Enchanted Caress" swan song. But minimal exploration reveals a concept album reflecting the idealism of the 60s brought into the post Thatcher era. It's a philosophy tempered by the realities of the day while heartened by the wisdom of experience and musical inspiration, both of which McCarty sports on his plaid sleeve.

Every track offers a simple yet gorgeous melody, powerful lyrical imagery, understated sincere vocals, and heartfelt playing in all areas. The musicianship and arrangements are what would appeal to progressive fans, and indeed some of the lovely keyboards of THE Matthew Fisher and another Matthew, surname Hammond, do taste sweetly of early Renaissance. It's hard to pick highlights because each song helps both its predecessor and successor sound richer. The dreamy drone of "Signs of an Age Gone By", the haunting self discovery of "Just Breaking Through", the emotive chill of "What if Summer Never Came", the devotional aspect of "Why Don't You Believe", the gentle blues of "Home is Where the Heart is", and the soaring finale "Back to the Earth" are all exercises in unfettered class.

McCarty's first solo album serves up a consistent vision of soft crossover prog without a trace of guile. If some of the more commercially successful 1970s bands of this sub genre had gone this route, there might have been fewer chart appearances but greater respect for prog as a whole. "Out of the Dark" positively illuminates what might have been. 4.5 stars.

Thanks to dean for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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