"BEYOND THE TEARS"
With Special Guests:
Johnny Fean from Horslips
Mark Feltham from the Rory Gallagher Band
Pat McManus from Mama’s Boys and Celtus
1. Johnny Nobody - 3.26
It took me awhile to pinpoint the origin of this song. From the first notes you’ll recognize it’s very familiar refrain and melody with a hook. At first I thought it might have been from the song Summer of 69´ by Don Henley but it’s really a formula clone of John Fogerty’s song “Centerfield” (“hey, coach put me in”) from his album of the same name. It’s also reminiscent of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits song called “Walk Of Life” from their “Brothers In Arms” release.
While that song has seen a great deal of overkill on AM – FM radio, it’s still a popular toe-tapper and a good way for Barry to introduce this new work.
2. In The Dead Of Night – 5:40
It’s a tough position to be in, for this slow, mellow and bluesy song to have to have to follow the first up-beat introduction. This is one of my favourites on this CD. A simple riff and a flowing late night style. Barry’s vocals really bring the message of the song’s lyrics of indecision along. The percussion keeps a heartbeat timing and the guitar work is fluid, smooth and soothing. The other outstanding factor that needs to be pointed out and given some serious respect is the organ – keyboard work. It’s sound and contribution to this song and others on this collection is refreshing to say the least. It’s sympathetic and supportive with a feel that invokes every other instrument to pay attention to its flow and sensuous appeal. This along with Barry’s silky and passionate vocals – along with his tasteful guitar work is a real pleasure to listen to time and again.
3. Crazy Love - 5:15
Is written by Van Morrison, and is my least favourite on this CD, as I’m no fan of Van’s work. With that being said, Barry really makes this ballad work to perfection, and I’m quite sure that he did this song much better justice than old Van did on the original version. The piano, vocals, guitar and harmonica all work in unison, and that’s no easy task on a slow number like this, as everything is open and exposed. Barry also comes across as singing from the heart – and you can’t fake that real emotion.
4. Catch Me If You Can – 3:19
This is another one of my favourites on this CD. You can’t miss the “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” underlying melody. This is an instrumental, and as such depends on all the forces contained therein to make it all reach the desired emotional level. Not only does it reach the level of perfection in musicianship but even more impressively, it ranks high on the enjoyment scale as well. A tune that’ll stick into your head long after the CD has ended. The harmonica playing is outstanding – hats off to Mick! This is an incredible bouncing little number that stands on its own merits!
5. Trouble – 6:24
This song alone is the most likely standout performance on this CD, for the common man that is. If someone were to pick out the most noteworthy track, this would be the one. This song is basically the halfway point on this CD and is really the pinnacle of all that proceeds or follows in playing order. For me, it’s the balancing factor of this collection.
It’s complex and compelling – what I hear is Paul Kossoff, David Gilmore, Alvin Lee and Rory Gallagher. Barry in his lyrics talks about “Wishing Well” a definite “Free” reference. Listen to the guitar work at 4:33 into the song and see what influences you hear? And that is the real beauty of this song, everyone hears something different. Also, once again the keyboards create a happy bed for creativity to bloom up above from this fertile base. Barry’s vocals are easy, flowing and graceful – while at the same time being earnest and strong with an underlying sense of desire and purpose.
6. Arthur – 2:54
This is another instrumental number, quiet, thought provoking and sleepy. Maybe this should’ve been the last song on this CD. It reminds me of a song that I used to practice while learning to play the guitar, called “Down In The Valley – The Valley So Low – Lay Your Head Down Boy – Lay Your Head Low”. When played right it’ll bring a tear to your eye and a pang to your heart. Performed here, it does both – if played in a country bar, it would have every inebriated person running for the pay phone to call their sweetheart in sobbing misery and regret.
7. I Wonder – 5:04
Eric Clapton lives in this song, because it reminds me of his “Tears In Heaven” with a trace of “Wonderful Tonight” style. Barry, plays it safe and soulful / full of soul and emotion. Guitar and vocals have a mutual function and responsibility to squeeze out the emotion by pulling at the heartstrings one by one. No false pretence here, just an honest lovers question – “do you feel like I do?”
8. Rollin´ - 4:25
This is my kind of song, a true Rory Boogie Rocker - one of my favourites on this CD. With a tinge of “Texas Strut” thrown in for good measure and a little Rory “The Loop” just for fun. A little Led Zeppelin riff, and the harmonica reminds me of a combination of Canned Heat and Blues Traveller. The guitar work is good picking rockabilly, jazz and rock laden. To his credit, and not to be understated, Barry’s vocals really add the proper dimension to this song. Rock with passion – Roll with purpose – to make you feel good about it.
9. Lonely Road – 5:55
This is my favourite song on this CD. I’m a big fan of Paul Kossoff’s style and overall playing and Barry hits on the true essence of Paul’s playing. Having power and control through tone! Blasting a message through quiet conviction! Along with tasteful guitar playing 50’s ballad style.
10. Bye-Bye-Johnny-Be Good - 5:00
A nice little story ballad about lonely Johnny, who’s surrounded by friends and a warm fire but still feels all alone in a crowed room. We’ve all felt that way at one time or another, and this is Johnny’s story/a sad lament.
11. The Sunset Waltz – 2:45
The final instrumental on this CD – a Celtic sounding, good night, last drink of the day kind of lullaby – for an Irish funeral I could imagine/or Picasso’s last words “Drink To Me Drink To My Health, You Know I Can’t Drink Anymore”
Now, replay this CD – with a new understanding as to where emotion and passion abound.
It’s full of delightful twists & turns and invokes a thousand nostalgic memories.
The more music knowledge you have, and the more emotionally complex you are, the more you’ll enjoy this work of art in all its facets.
Here’s to you Barry...it’s brilliant.
Something more needs to be said about this CD that can’t be included in the review text.
It’s the production, recording and mixing of this Barry McCabe CD that really makes it a work of artistic perfection. This CD wasn’t just thrown together and released in a jackrabbit hurry. This was extremely/thoroughly thought through and planned out in every aspect/detail, from beginning to end. This extra effort can’t be put into words, because it’s only in the listening that all this hard work can truly be appreciated.
Listen to it once through to get the feeling – twice through to get the taste and the third time to absorb everything else this brilliant piece of work has to offer.
It’s on my top five list for this year!
Review by Dave and Brigitte
November 7, 2006
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It's in my top five list for this year!