harlie McCoy Complete Recorded Titles 1928-1932.
Charley McCoy (also as “Papa” Charlie McCoy), vocal, guitar, mandolin.
With contributions by: Walter Vincson, vocal, guitar; Bo Chatmon (Carter); And others.
Genre: Mississippi Country Blues.
Informative booklet notes by Teddy Doering.
The first recordings of Charlie McCoy show him as an accompanist with his mandolin. They were cut at the beginning of the famous session that produced the Johnson/ Bracey recordings, as a “warming up” so to speak. (The fourth title can be found on Bracey’s CD – Document DOCD-5049.) The subsequent recording career of Charlie McCoy can be divided in two groups, the first one lasting till the end of 1930. In this period he played with members of the Mississippi Sheiks (Walter Vincson and Bo Chatman mostly) and he appeared under different names like Mississippi Mud Steppers or Mississippi Blacksnakes. Most of these recordings were made in Memphis, only one last session took place in his home town of Jackson, Mississippi. At least part of the songs were new versions of old successes: It Ain’t No Good and It Is So Good are a mixture of ‘Beedle Um Bum’ (Georgia Tom) and ‘It’s Tight Like That’ (Tampa Red). It’s Hot Like That is, of course, a slightly rephrased version of the latter, and all these songs belong to the hokum genre. Another popular tune of the time, ‘Cow Cow Blues’, by Cow Cow Davenport, was recorded twice by Charlie, first as an instrumental version as Jackson Blues, then with lyrics of his own as the above mentioned That Lonesome Train Took My Baby Away. These lyrics are an outstanding example of blues poetry. In the last stanza of the song Charlie sings, as a summary and climax of the overall statement:
I walked down the track, when the stars refused to shine
Looked like every minute! was going to lose my mind
Now my knees was weak, my footsteps was all I heard
Looked like every minute I was stepping in another world
Here we have all the ingredients of great poetry: personification (“stars refused to shine”), the expression of complete loneliness (“my footsteps was all I heard”) and a great metaphor (“stepping in another world”) standing for utmost despair. In one of his last recordings in Jackson, Mississippi, Charlie McCoy stated, together with Bo Chatman, ‘The Northern Starvers Are Returning Home’.
NOTE: The remaining titles by Charlie McCoy can be found on Document BDCD-6019 and BDCD-6020, ‘The McCoy Brothers, Vol. 1 and 2’.