Thursday, December 18, 2008

(Review) John McCarthy "Drive"

(My music reviews are a lot more critical then my other reviews, so don't judge until you have read it all.)

So I figure, this guy is the one teaching me guitar, but can this clown actually play? "Those who can't do, teach" seems to be a pretty popular saying, so why not put old blondie to the test aye?
I have heard his playing on the instructional DVD, and it seemed "ok", but how much can you really get into the music when you are panning through the DVD contents huh?

All in all, there were 4 selling points led me to make the initial purchase of this CD:

  1. You get a sample of each track at the website.
  2. The CD is autographed. (UPDATE 01-01-09: Mine came, and was not autographed! Burned!)
  3. You get to download the entire CD whilst waiting for the product to arrive.
  4. It was only $10.99
  • The samples were awful short, could have used an extra ten seconds more, but still a sample none the less. Don't be so cheap next time on the samples pal, if folks are going to buy, they are going to buy no matter what. Don't get caught up in the Metallica/RIAA snivel about "If they hear our music without buying it, they won't buy it!" crapola, that is just plain BS, and anyone with half a brain, and money in their pockets knows it is. And even if they get to hear more, is that going to cause them to listen to it in the sample pop-up player instead of buying it? No. And don't give us the "bandwidth burn" excuse, because the added 10 seconds or so will never really show. And if "Well, that's the industry standard" timing for samples, then stop following the tired old standards, and try leading the industry! You can tell I was a bit bent at the short samples huh? LOL
  • How can you beat an autographed CD? And how many artists even care enough to take the time to sign them? Nice "value added" to the product. Good show!
  • Now here is a nice perk. You get to download it right after the purchase, and start blazin it within minutes of paying for it! Again, how can you beat that? With a stick? I don't think so. This was a huge selling point for me, along with the price.
  • $10.99 Now this was the chief attraction, for two reasons...
  1. It is cheaper then the usual CD that we have to buy, so DUH! If you can get something cheaper, then why aren't you!
  2. At this price, you know that the label is not some greedy scum label that abuses it artists, and rips them off for every penny they can bleed off of them. For this reason, and this reason alone, I would have bought this 10 times over! If I can spend my money ANYWHERE BUT Sony, Warner, MCA, blah blah, then I am on it a poor parent battling over a "Huggies diaper coupon", at an Ebay auction! And believe me, if you are a "poverty parent" like me, with infants, toddlers, and the like, you know how valuable those coupons really are! LOL
So on to the music...

The guitar playing is classic. That is the only word needed to describe the talent. If you don't know what I mean by that word, then try listening to something other than rap and hip-hop. Drop back to 1950-1985, and start listening to Rock, Blues, & Jazz in that time frame, and then you will get an idea of the type of legendary sounds these folks are making.

The CD consists of 10 tracks:
  1. The Arrival
  2. Away
  3. Drive
  4. Johnny Blues
  5. Sunshine Girl
  6. Power Rush
  7. The Trance
  8. Melody's Moving
  9. Never Coming Back
  10. Freedom
The following are my impressions for what they are worth...

Alot of 70's and 80's style rock that feels kinda Zepplin-esque at times, and at other times, chimes in with a bit of an Aerosmith flavor.
Track 1 is a good example of that.

Track 2 sounds to me like a "Funky Sammy Hagar" on an acid trip.

The title track, (3) is quite the blusey Motley Crue.

Track 4 is my favorite. Maybe because I have heard it countless times on the DVD menu in the background, but also because it has that "Chillin with the bong, some scotch, and some blues" sound.

Track 5 has a familiar 80's glam ring to it, something I would expect at the Rainbow down on the strip on a Friday night. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Where I come from, that is a good thing.

Track 6 is mix of Chicago, Kansas, and Styx that was written by Rob Halford & Johnny Ramone. Dunno why, but that is the way it comes off. Strange that is the only way I can describe it...

Track 7 sounds like B.B. King and Jerry Garcia sitting in a holding cell down at the county, awaiting arraignment on a bogus traffic warrant. (Dont'cha just love these descriptions so far?)

Track 8 I cannot make up my mind on until I figure out where I have heard 01:35 - 02:00 before. It is probably something right in front of my nose that I can't put my finger on. Same with 03:10 - 03:43 Dissapointing though, is the background feeling of "Enter Sandman" at 04:20. Ya lost me there. (Though that might be cool for many others out there...)

Track 9 is the same scenerio as track 7, except this time B.B. got popped with SRV instead of Jerry. Will King ever learn to deal with those tickets before they turn to "Failure to appear's"? LOL

Track 10 is back to the Aerosmith/Led thing... Interesting how the disc opens and closes the same way huh?

My overall impression of this CD?


"Head out to the living room, dim the lights, put a lava lamp on each side of the ol' Hi-Fi, slide the disc in, plop down on the couch, prop your back up against the arm, stretch your legs out, roll a couple of numbers, tilt your head back and take a big draw off of that bone wedged between your lips, and spend about an hour playing some smooth air guitar..."

My rating on this, (with 1 star being Disco, and 5 stars being Old School Legendary) is 3 stars. (UPDATE 01-01-09: Was 4 stars until the non-autograph clip, so it only gets 3 now for not living up to promises.)

But never fear Johnny, only a dozen artists qualify for 5, and less than 100 qualify for 4, so you are in good company! And like I said in the beginning, I tend to be more critical of music then I do other product reviews, but what artist in his or her right mind is interested in some "yesman" review, where nothing is accomplished but the acquisition of a brown stain on the reviewers nose? If there is something wrong, or something that could be done better, wouldn't the artist be chomping at the bit to find out, so they can repair or make changes in the future, as opposed to just letting it slide by without ever knowing?

Ya know, any monkey can throw together some music and call it rock/metal. But it takes someone with talent to infuse their creation with something outside of the pre-defined lines, like blues or jazz. And our boy John does just that.

2 comments:

Dy-sphoric said...

Rose Garden Music,

Great review. I have been a member of the RHM family for about a year now and I still do not have any of John's music. I am not sure what is wrong with me, (lack of money) but I need to get his music. I have checked out his sample music on the RHM site and that of Amazon and I love what I am hearing. If I had to pick, Johnny Blues would be my favorite. Now, I need to buy the cd....

The Old Man said...

Johnny Blues is mine favorite as well... It also has a sort of "Carlos -n- Charlie's late night dinner outdoor serenade in La Paz, BC, Mexico" sound with the acoustic. Very well done, I actually play it alot, over and over at home.

I needed to settle in my mind once and for all if John was going to be nothing more then a run-of-the-mill teacher, or would he have a "Master" status in the eyes of the student, ergo I needed to hear for myself what he was actually made of. And I must say, he is made of quite sturdy stock. Not only did he take on the status of Master, but I get a good hook-up for some nice music to play around the house now!

It is great music at a great price, save up your pennies and get one, you will be satisfied that you did.

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