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     McCoy, Charlie (28th March 1941-Present)

    He is a singer, harmonica player and all-round musician born Charles Ray McCoy born in Oak Hill, West Virginia who was raised in Fayetteville, West Virginia before later moving to Miami, Florida.

     

    When he was eight years old he started to play the guitar and the harmonica but his interest in these two instruments didn’t stay with just them alone when he added the trumpet and bass to his repertoire.  By the time he was a teenager it was obvious that his talents in music would be enough for him to want to make it his professional career.

     

    He was already working in a band when he was in his mid-teens and after his friend had persuaded him to sing at Happy Harold’s show Old South Jamboree he made enough of a good impression for he and his band, which included the bassist Donny Young aka Johnny Paycheck, to be signed up by the show.

     

    He and his band then won a rock and roll contest and before long, in 1959, he got an invite to go to Nashville for a week by Mel Tillis.   Sadly all of his efforts at getting his career off the ground in Nashville failed and so her returned to his home town of Miami where he decided to try his chances as a teacher and studied musical education at Miami University.  He did, however, continue to work on the Old South Jamboree even though the faculty at the university had tried to warn him off playing rock and roll at square dances as they deemed it a “lower form of music”.

     

    He decided to try for a job in John Ferguson’s band back in Nashville but his original hope of being a guitarist was quashed when it had already been taken.  He did, however, get the job as the band’s drummer but before long they disbanded.  Not to be idle for long he was back drumming for Stonewall Jackson.

     

    After he spent several months with Stonewall Jackson he was signed up by Cadence Records after Archie Bleyer had heard his tapes.  He released his debut single with them and “Cherri Berri Wine” took him into the chart where he scratched the surface at No.99. He also formed the band Charlie McCoy and the Escorts.

     

    After his agent advised him to concentrate on his harmonica playing and to record some demos he became a bass player for Wayne Moss at Fort Cambell, Kentucky.  Not too long later in 1961 some of his demos got the attention of Chet Atkins who liked what he heard and hired him for RCA straight away, first using him as a harmonica player on Ann-Margaret’s “I Just Don’t Understand”.

     

    RCA wasn’t the only record company taking attention of Charlie though as Monument Records’ Fred Foster arranged for them to hire him as well, which led to him performing on the million-selling “Candy Man” by Roy Orbison.  This saw him working for Monument on many other recordings and through persuasion by Charlie Dillard, who worked for WFPA, the company released one of his previous album recordings “Today I Started Loving You Again” which had been aired on WFPA.  It proved to be a good move as it went to No. 16 on the Billboard country charts in 1972 with sales of 750,000.

     

    Firmly on the road to success now he became an extremely sought after studio musician with annual recording sessions that amounted well into the hundreds during the 1970s as well as a member of the acclaimed session player group Area Code 315 and their offshoot group Barefoot Jerry.  Working in the studio with Bob Dylan he performed on “Desolation Row”, where he played the guitar and “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” where he played a variety of instruments and his work with Simon & Garfunkel saw him performing on their hit record “The Boxer”.

     

    Some of the other artists he has performed with throughout his busy career, mainly as a harmonica player, have included Eddy Arnold, Joan Baez, Moe Bandy, Randy Barlow, The Browns, Henson Cargill, Johnny Cash, Buzz Cason, Rodney Crowell, Lacy J. Dalton, Charlie Daniels, Janie Fricke, Don Gibson, Vince Gill, Ian Gillan, Steve Goodman, Dobie Gray, Lloyd Green, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall,  Wanda Jackson, Tommy James, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, The Jordanaires, Doug Kershaw, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Al Kooper, Kris Kristofferson, Vicky Leandros, Brenda Lee, Gordon Lightfoot, John D. Loudermilk, Andy Fairweather Low, Loretta Lynn, The Manhattan Transfer, Reba McEntire, Memphis Slim, Ronnie Milsap, Michael Martin Murphey, Anne Murray, Mickey Newbury, Harry Nilsson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Joan Osborne, Dolly Parton, Stella Parton, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, Johnny Rivers, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Earl Scruggs, Joe Simon, Nancy Sinatra, Terry Stafford, The Statler Brothers, Ray Stevens, Nat Stuckey, Gene Summers, B.J. Thomas, Pam Tillis, Randy Travis, Ernest Tubb, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Bobby Vinton, Jerry Jeff Walker, Slim Whitman and Townes van Zandt as just a very few of many.

     

    In his career as a solo artist he released many singles that went onto the Billboard country chart and some of these include “I Really Don’t Want to Know” and “I’m So Lonesome I could Cry” in 1972, “Orange Blossom Special” in 1973, “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” in 1974, “Wabash Cannonball” in 1976, “Fair and Tender Ladies” in 1978 and “The State of Our Union” in 1983. His performance of “Boogie Woogie” with Barefoot Jerry saw them climb to No. 22 in 1974.

     

    He was a Grammy Award winner for his 1972 The Real McCoy and achieved the No. 1 spot on the Billboard album chart for his Good Time Charlie the following year.  A few of the other 35 albums he has released include The World, The Fastest Harp in the South, The Nashville Hit man, Christmas with Charlie, Harpin’ the Blues, Play It Again Charlie, Stone Fox Chase, Appalachian Fever, Beam Me Up Charlie and American Roots.

     

    Some of his numerous other albums which are far too many to mention, include Trip in the Country by Area Code 315, Superpickers by Chet Atkins, Mercury Years by Bobby Bare, Watchin’ TV/You Can’t Get Off With Your Shoes On by Barefoot Jerry, Really by J.J. Cale, Sentimentally Yours by Patsy Cline, Scene Changes by Perry Como, Liberty by Gene Cotton, Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan, High Country Snows by Dan Fogelberg, Wayward Wind by James Galway, Plays Hip Hits by Quincy Jones, Darlin by Tom Jones, Mercury Smashes…and Rockin’ Sessions by Jerry Lee Lewis, Personal Belongings by Dave Loggins, Number 5 by Steve Miller, Listen to the Band by The Monkees, Yesterday’s Wine by Willie Nelson, Don’t Stop Believin by Olivia Newton John, Frankie and Johnny by Elvis Presley, Hank Wilson’s Back by Leon Russell, Seven by Bob Seger, Paul Simon by Paul Simon and Beaucoup of Blues by Ringo Starr.

     

    In the area of broadcasting he became the music director for the TV show Hee Haw and remained for them for nearly 20 years. He also performed as a member of the Million Dollar Band with musicians such as Chet Atkins, Roy Clark and Floyd Cramer among others who made regular appearances on the show.

     

    Recognised for his contribution to music he has been presented with the Specialty Instrument Award by the Academy of Country Music seven times, has been CMA’s Instrumentalist of the Year twice, is a member of the West Virginia Hall of Fame and the International Musician’s Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in February 2009.

     

    Today he is still touring and recording and can regularly be heard performing concerts in Europe and Japan.

     

    Randy Barlow recordings

    Dixie Man (J.L. Wallace/Terry Skinner/Ken Bell)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.charliemccoy.com/bio.html
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_McCoy
    3. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/charlie-mccoy-p157385/biography
    4. http://www.answers.com/topic/charlie-mccoy
    5. http://musicianshalloffame.com/blog/?page_id=641
    6. http://www.bronsonsmusic.com/charlie_mccoy.html
    7. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1357829/
    8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million_Dollar_Band_(country_music_group)
    9. http://blog.cmt.com/2009-02-05/new-hall-of-famer-charlie-mccoy-is-a-multi-threat-talent/#more-2056
    10. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/charlie-mccoy-p157385/credits
    11. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/charlie-mccoy-p157385/credits/date-asc/100
    12. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/charlie-mccoy-p157385/credits/date-asc/200
    13. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/charlie-mccoy-p157385/credits/date-asc/300
    14. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/charlie-mccoy-p157385/credits/date-asc/400
    15. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/charlie-mccoy-p157385/credits/date-asc/500

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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