Jim McCarty broke onto the music scene as guitarist for “Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels” in 1964 and from ‘64 thru ‘66 they charted with the songs “Jenny Take A Ride” (#4), “Devil With A Blue Dress On” (#2) and “Sock It To Me” (#4). When Mitch Ryder decided that he wanted to turn the group into a Las Vegas act, McCarty knew it was time for a change.
Jim moved on to join up with Corry Siegal and the “Siegal Schwall Blues Band” and, on a trip to the west coast, he met Buddy Miles. Buddy was coming off the “Electric Flag” and putting his own band together and Buddy asked Jim to join the “Buddy Miles Express”. McCarty accepted because he wanted to work with the “Big Sound” of a horn section. Jim recorded two albums with the “Buddy Miles Express”, the latter being produced by Jimi Hendrix.
Jimi Hendrix was around quite a bit and he was talking to Buddy about putting a band together. “It was a little intimidating”, McCarty remembers, “doing guitar overdubs with Hendrix in the studio but he was a “Mitch Ryder and Detroit Wheels” fan so it was cool.” Jim had the chance to play with Hendrix on quite a few occasions with the most memorable being in L.A. with players that included Jimi Hendrix, Jack Bruce, John McLaughlin, Mitch Mitchell, Buddy Miles and Jim!
With the end of The Vanilla Fudge in late ‘69 Jim was approached by Carmine and Tim to form Cactus. McCarty was heavy into Jeff Beck’s first two albums (Truth and Beck Ola) so it seemed like good timing. The band recorded three albums and broke up because of different views about the direction of the music, but the music Cactus made had a strong cult following which still exists today.
With the end of Cactus in ’72, McCarty moved back to Detroit and put the “Rockets” together with his old drummer from the “Wheels” the legendary “Johnny B-Badandek. The band cut six albums and toured constantly with artists ZZ Top, Bob Seiger, REO Speedwagon, The Who, the Cars and more. The Rockets where together for ten years but Jim was feeling a strong desire to play the kind of music that had always been close to his heart, the Blues. With the end of the “Rockets” Jim joined the “Detroit Blues Band”. Jim stayed with the “Detroit Blues Band” for eight years and they ultimately recorded four CD’s.
New things were on the horizon for Jim when a new blues club called the Memphis Smoke opened. They asked Jim to put together a house band and Jim saw this as an opportunity to put together a band with musicians of his choice. The band that resulted was named “Mystery Train” and are still together today with four CD’s to their credit. Jim is at home with Mystery Train playing his brand of blues and rock & roll.