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Red Ink - Sitting on the Top of Time

  by Lisa Torem

published: 5 / 11 / 2010

Red Ink - Sitting on the Top of Time
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Lisa Torem examines Yardbirds' drummer Jim McCarty's 2009 album, 'Sitting on the Top of Time', his first solo album in six years

“I am the outsider and I’m out on a limb,” sings Liverpool-born, Jim McCarty. He soon finds his way down to earth, however, as he happily concludes, “Beautiful times in the land of wine/Beautiful rhymes coming to my mind.” McCarty’s CD ‘Sitting on the Top of Time’ is awash with positive parables and upbeat sensibilities. Best known as drummer for the acclaimed British rock bands, The Yardbirds and Renaissance, this guitarist, vocalist and co-songwriter of ‘Shapes of Things’ and ‘Still I’m Sad’ released in 2009 his first solo recording in six years. When flautist Ron Korb visited McCarty in France, the two began combining talents. Korb played McCarty some of his recent work featuring Loreena McKennitt, a Canadian multi-instrumentalist and Donald Quan on piano. Soon, Jason Relf, the son of the late Yardbirds frontman Keith Relf, offered digital support, In 2006, an additional group of musicians, collectively renowned for their work in jazz and new age, came aboard. Though, the celebrated songwriter has rejoined Chris Dreja, touring and recording as the Yardbirds, since the mid-‘90s, he seems extremely spirited, too, regarding this current collaboration. “I put a lot of importance and spent a lot of time making sure the lyrics are all positive; quite different from the ‘60s’ self-destructive thing!” he says. The album might be a surprise if you’re unwilling to allow a recognized artist to grow. It clearly pulls McCarty in new directions. You might say, “Hey, Jim! Did you forget the back beat?” This is a lo-fi production, however, and though, when the drums are added, they're crisp and appreciated, they’re not the focus. But, allow the man his freedom and you will be paid back generously. ‘Blowing Through the Countryside’ might recall early Dylan, but isn’t that a good thing? “New winds blowin’/Old values going” is guitar-based, pure, stark and yet definitive. ‘Living From The Inside Out’ features Korb. His serene flute intro injects intimacy. “All the time I waited just to feel a golden warm embrace,” McCarty muses. His sonorous voice is well-suited to the meditative lyrics. ‘Hidden Nature’ is the first of three instrumentals. Pianist Quan shines; a tranquil melodic mantra manifests. ‘For Eloise’ is an uplifting portrait of a steadfast and enduring love. ‘Temporary Life’ taps into the ephemeral nature of existence: “The golden moment disappears/Before the blinking of an eye,” McCarty implodes. The album is as much about philosophy as it is about the pursuit of creativity. ‘Near End of May’ is the second instrumental. Quan and Korb remain texturally unencumbered, as they dreamily engineer time and space in this quasi-classical composition. The result is a delicate flurry; as light and fragile as winter’s first snowfall. ‘Sitting On The Top of Time’ is baroque-tinged. ‘Shangri-La’ is the album’s third instrumental. It is arranged by Quan, but performed by Quan, Korb and McCarty. The creation is a shimmering minimalist trance echoed by floating strains of flute.

Track Listing:-

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Red Ink - Sitting on the Top of Time

Red Ink - Sitting on the Top of Time

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