Adam Rafferty Teaches How to Play the Music of the Jackson Five
Crescent Ridge Publishing

Few music catalogs are as hook and groove laden as the Jackson Five’s. Guitarist Adam Rafferty has arranged a few of the J5’s most well-known hits for solo acoustic guitar and released a nice DVD showing us mere mortals how to tap into some of that Motown soul. Here, Rafferty explores “I’ll Be There,” “Never Can Say Goodbye,” “ABC,” and “I Want You Back,” first by performing the song completely, and then by taking you step-by-step through the arrangement. You can tell from the moment the instructional section of the DVD begins that Rafferty is very comfortable teaching and demonstrating the various concepts used. During the intro, he emphasizes the need to warm up and describes a few barring techniques that help to make the songs not only more musical, but more approachable, too. Rafferty also includes a booklet that has each arrangement written out in both tab and standard notation with fingerings. As I was watching the DVD, I ended up relying on the tab less than I was expecting—and that’s a real testament to how Rafferty can break down complicated sections and explain them in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. One (very) minor issue I had with the included booklet is that Rafferty chose not to follow the standard form when it comes to notating open strings when using a capo. It was a little off-putting at the beginning, but I got used to it pretty quickly. Each of these arrangements uses a very contrapuntal style and will require some serious practice, but in the end, this is a supreme master class on how to groove, and few musicians could have pulled it off as successfully as Rafferty does.