JACKSON STOMP – THE CHARLIE McCOY STORY: Nehi Records (NEH02)
A new release on a new label but, fear not, the guys behind Nehi are the same as used to release all those super blues CDs on Catfish Records. That fact alone provides comfort that you are in the hands of blues enthusiasts, ready, willing and able to find and release the rare and obscure records that we all crave.
This CD is one of three releases now becoming available to celebrate the official launch of the label. And, more good news, the plan is to release more early in the new year as part of an ongoing and regular release schedule. If the subsequent releases are as good as the three CDs that have kicked-off the programme, then we sure are going to have a series worth collecting. Not only are they well chosen and compiled, the sound quality is as good as your going to get and the notes are exhaustive and excellent. And, I haven’t even got to the very attractive price yet!
On this CD, the genius of Charlie McCoy is celebrated across 26 tracks from the 1920s to the early 1940s, either with Charlie as the featured artist (often under a pseudonym) or demonstrating his flexibility and versatility backing a range of other artists and friends on guitar or mandolin.
And as well as his renowned musical abilities, we should also add mobility as, having established his reputation in Mississippi in the 1920s on tracks by the likes of Tommy Johnson, Ishmon Bracey, Bo Carter and Will Weldon (some of which are included here), he was soon lured to Chicago in the early 1930s to work on sessions for the likes of Sonny Boy (John Lee) Williamson, Johnny Temple, Curtis Jones and in bands with brother Joe McCoy, such as the Harlem Hamfats and Memphis Minnie (Joe’s then wife).
Unfortunately, into the 1940s Charlie’s luck changed as he was called up by Uncle Sam to support the war effort and, by the time this stint was over, his impetus and momentum had gone.
Nonetheless we are left with a fantastic musical legacy that this CD presents and celebrates magnificently.
I’m already licking my chops in anticipation of the next lot of releases from Nehi. They can’t all be this good, can they?