Jim McCarty

Outside Woman Blues

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If someone wrote a book about British blues-rock and failed to mention Jim McCarty, the book would have a gaping hole. McCarty was the Yardbirds' original drummer, and failing to mention him would be like not mentioning Cream's Ginger Baker or Led Zeppelin's John Bonham. The Yardbirds weren't strictly a blues-rock band; many of their songs favored a haunting, quasi-Gregorian outlook. But blues-rock was an important part of what they did, and McCarty's blues-rock side dominates Outside Woman Blues. This 2002 release finds the drummer leading a quartet that is billed as the Jim McCarty Blues Band, which also includes guitarist/singer John Idan and ex-members of Mott the Hoople (guitarist/singer Ray Majors) and the Strawbs (bassist Rod Demick). Not everything on this CD is blues-rock; "Lawyers, Guns and Money," for example, is '70s-style arena rock, while the moody "Heart's Not in It" is Police-like reggae-rock. But Outside Woman Blues favors blues-rock more often than not, and all of the material is solid -- that is true of the studio recordings that dominate the disc as well as a few hidden live tracks at the end (including performances of "Train Kept a Rollin'" and the Yardbirds' "Heart Full of Soul"). Overall, the sound could be described as London by way of Chicago (as in Chess Records, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Little Walter) and Detroit (as in John Lee Hooker). Is Outside Woman Blues groundbreaking? Hardly. But then, it isn't supposed to be; this CD is meant to be faithful to McCarty's history. Although not in a class with the best work that the Yardbirds, Cream, or Ten Years After had to offer, it's a solid effort that will appeal to die-hard fans of classic British blues-rock.

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