June 15, 1999

Album Review

In 1986, Jerry Donahue released Telecasting on a limited budget and in limited quantities. The record was out of print for years when Donahue, enjoying a renaissance of sorts due to his association with the Hellecasters, decided to revisit his old solo album. The result, Telecasting Recast, is far more than just a new printing of a 15-year-old record. While keeping the lion's share of his electric guitar tracks, Donahue has replaced the percussion, bass, and acoustic guitar of the original recording; in short, everything except for the aforementioned electric guitar and the keyboards. So how does the result sound? For the most part, very good. The live drums, replacing the synthesized percussion of Telecasting, are solid, but it seems as if they, as well as the rest of the new tracks, sonically overwhelm the electric guitars. Donahue's lead playing, supposedly the highlight of the album, sounds thin and buried under its supporting tracks. Nevertheless, Telecasting Recast will be particularly interesting to Hellecasters fans, as this record contains the original recordings of two songs familiar to them: the haunting "King Arthur's Dream" and the Donahue/Jerry Reed composition "The Beak/The Claw." These songs receive stronger performances on The Hellecasters, but it is educational to hear Donahue's solo treatments. As a player, he is simply incredible (one does not get to be Richard Thompson's replacement in Fairport Convention without a great deal of musical vision). He is known for his amazing string-bending skills, and he shows off his remarkable facility to play both very vocal melodies and very virtuostic passages in which his guitar sounds like it is coming apart at the seams. Despite his proficiency, what is lacking from Telecasting Recast is a bunch of recognizable songs. There's a good reason why, out of all of the songs on this record, only "King Arthur's Dream" and "The Beak/The Claw" were covered by the Hellecasters: they're the best tracks on the album. However, Donahue's playing is so mesmerizing, you may not even notice. Fans of hot country guitar will be pleased.
Daniel Gioffre, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Tokyo
  2. Around the Bend
  3. King Arthur's Dream
  4. Just a Minute
  5. Without a Woman
  6. The Beak/The Claw
  7. Juliet
  8. Medley: Snowflake Reel/Toss the Feathers/Red-Haired Boy/The Cherokee S
  9. Mixed Emotions
  10. Ramon II