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Charlie McCoy (1928-1932)

Charlie McCoy & Rosie Mae Moore

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Album Review

A native of Jackson, MS, Charlie McCoy (1909-1950) is remembered as a master of the blues mandolin and guitar. In 1992, Document Records Ltd released an unprecedented survey of early Charlie McCoy material in the form of a 24-track collection of rare recordings made during the years 1928-1932 and originally issued on the Victor, Columbia, Brunswick, Okeh, and Vocalion labels. On the first three tracks McCoy is heard backing Rosie Mae Moore, a powerfully expressive singer whose "Ha-Ha Blues" conveys a refreshing "screw you" attitude. "Hidin' on Me" and "Sweet Alberta," a pair of robust, old-fashioned singalong numbers, were performed in New Orleans in December 1928 by the Jackson Blue Boys, consisting of Charlie McCoy, Walter Vinson, and Bo Chatman. (Vinson and Chatman also made records together as the Mississippi Sheiks.) On September 22, 1929, the trio convened as Chatman Mississippi Hotfooters's at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis to sing "It Ain't No Good (Ain't No Way You Can Make It Fit Your Thing)." Before leaving the hotel, McCoy sang and strummed his guitar on his first solo record, the "Last Time Blues." The trio made a number of records in 1930, often with Chatman bowing a wheezy, gritty fiddle and sometimes billed either as the Mississippi Mud Steppers or the Mississippi Hot Footers. The "studio" chosen for most of these sessions was a room in the King Edward Hotel in Jackson, MS. This fascinating collection ends with two recordings made in New York City in early February 1932. Now presenting himself to the world as "Papa" Charlie McCoy, our hero performed duets with pianist Georgia Tom Dorsey and a guitarist who was either Tampa Red or Charlie's brother, Kansas Joe McCoy. The remainder of Charlie McCoy's discography (carefully researched and reissued by Document in various editions) includes sessions involving some of the people heard on this collection and quite a stylistic spread of recordings made in the company of his brother. The McCoys did some of their best work in 1936 as members of a swinging Chicago-based party band known as the Harlem Hamfats.

Biography

Born: 28 March 1941 in Oak Hill, WV

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Charlie McCoy was perhaps the definitive Nashville session musician, a multi-talented performer best known for his harmonica playing and whose mastery of the instrument virtually defined its role within the context of modern country music. Though born in West Virginia on March 28, 1941, Charles Ray McCoy was raised in Miami, FL, where he first picked up the harmonica at the age of eight. By his mid-teens, he was playing harmonica and guitar in an area rock & roll band, and a few years later graduated...
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Charlie McCoy (1928-1932), Charlie McCoy
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