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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jim McCarty

Sitting On the Top of Time

Review by Gary Hill

The name Jim McCarty might be familiar. He has been a member of both The Yardbirds and Renaissance. This solo disc is a rather mellow one that is quite organic. The vocals are distinctly British and there is a lot of folk music in the mix. It’s still quite proggy, too, though. It should please fans of The Strawbs and Renaissance, but there will also be appeal to McCarty’s Yardbirds fans.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Outsider

There’s a folky sort of air to the music here. In many ways it makes me think of The Byrds, but there’s also a bit of the Syn on display here. This is very British and a bit proggy. There is a tasty instrumental section that definitely pulls the song more into the progressive rock end of the spectrum.

Blowing Through the Countryside
The folk elements are more fully in play here on this piece. It’s got some progressive rock in it, too and perhaps comparisons to the Strawbs would be warranted. The guitar solo on this makes me think of some of the old surf bands.
Living from the Inside Out
The arrangement here is more involved, due at least in part to the prominent piano work. This is much more purely progressive rock than the previous pieces were, but still has a lot of folk music in the mix, too.
Hidden Nature
This instrumental piece, with its classical music meets prog rock will certainly take away questions of whether or not it fits into the progressive rock heading.
For Eloise
There is definitely a Beatles-like quality to some of this, but it’s also very much in keeping with the folky progressive rock of groups like The Strawbs. This is one of my favorite cuts and one of the more dynamic.
Temporary Life
I detect a bit of a space rock texture to this. The folk elements are less prominent and it’s got even more of the progressive rock on display. This is another highlight of the set. The keyboard arrangement on this gets quite involved and somehow the cut reminds me a little of early Hawkwind at points.
Near End of May
Another instrumental, this is pretty and quite intricate and definitely progressive rock.
Hummingbird
This mellow piece is another that’s quite folk oriented. It’s solid, but not one of my favorites.
Calling Out to You
In some ways this doesn’t vary a lot from the number that preceded it. Still, the arrangement gets more involved and powerful as it continues. It gets more prog-like in the extended instrumental segment that closes it out.
Sitting On the Top of Time
The title track has some elements that call to mind The Beatles, particularly on the introduction. In many ways, though, it feels a lot like some of the more folk/country inspired output from Neil Young. It’s a good tune and does get more progressive rock oriented than that description might make one think. The Beatles-like elements return in an instrumental movement later.
Shangri-La
A final instrumental closes out the CD. There is a bit of a Native American element to some of the music on this track. Most of the folk music ghosts are exorcised on this piece as it is nearly purely progressive rock in texture. At almost seven and a half minutes in length, it is the real epic of the disc, too.
 
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