Tommy McCoy review….October 30, 2015….

TOMMY MCOY

25 YEAR RETROSPECT

EARWIG MUSIC CD 4971

CD 1: THE KING IS GONE–I GOT A REASON–THE CHANGE IS IN–NO LOVE WITHOUT ANY GREEN–TROPICAL DEPRESSION–LUDELLA–LOVE ‘N’ MONEY–THEY KILLED THAT MAN–BLUES THING–A MAN WHO CRIED–BITTER SOUL TO HEAL–TALKIN’ TO MYSELF–ACE IN THE HOLE–ANGELS SERENADE

CD 2: SPANISH MOON–POVERTY–ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER, DEVIL ON MY BACK–BLACK ELDORADO RED–LAY MY DEMONS DOWN–LATE IN THE LONELY NIGHT–MONEY–BROKE, YOU’RE A JOKE–SUGAR CANE–LANGUAGE OF LOVE–MY GUITAR DON’T PLAY NOTHING BUT THE BLUES–JIVE DIVE–CARS, BARS, AND GUITARS–SPACE MASTER–HEY NOW–BLUE WATER RUNS DEEP

Tommy McCoy is a native of Warren, OH, and was playing guitar in his own band in the sixth grade.  By the mid-Seventies, the other band members were bitten by the disco bug, so Tommy bade ’em all a fond adieu and headed south to Florida to pursue his love for blues.  Over seven albums recorded since 1992, Michael Frank and Earwig Music has compiled the “25 Year Retrospect” collection, a whopping thirty cuts over two CD’s of every shade of blue one can imagine.  Tommy’s on guitar and vocals throughout, and features him playing with the Double Trouble rhythm section, B-3 master Lucky Peterson, and Levon Helm and Garth Hudson.

There is so much good music on these two discs that we are going to hit our favorites, and let listeners decide for themselves what they like.  A chugging shot of SRV-inspired boogie finds Tommy Shannon on bass and Chris Layton on drums, where every man knows that there’s “No Love Without Any Green,” and the fellows do a spot-on read of Pink Floyd’s “Money,” from that same session, with Hall and Oates alum Charlie DeChant on sax.

Switching gears, Tommy gets down with an icy-cool “Blues Thing,” where Lucky holds down the B-3 and Tommy name-checks all the greats, Albert Collins included, on this swingin’ blues history lesson.  They slow that groove down and dig into some deep, slow blues on one of Tommy’s originals about a lover who “hurt the only thing you couldn’t steal,” “A Bitter Soul To Heal.”

Tommy joins forces with ole Commander Cody on a cool Sun-kissed rockabilly tune, where the body shop “painted my Black Eldorado Red!”  He tells it like it is on his autobiographical story of his “big ole Gibson guitar that Don’t Play Nothing But The Blues.”  For us, tho, the set’s most powerful cut led the whole thing off.  It is one of three new songs recorded for this compilation.  Tommy was in Athens, Greece, in July when he heard of B. B.’s passing, and “The King Is Gone” is a monster tribute.  Tommy reworks that classic minor-key riff of “The Thrill Is Gone,” and uses the titles of many of King’s most revered songs to great effect.  And, plaintive harp can be heard in the background, courtesy of Kostas Tenezos.

Thirty songs from a deeply-soulful guitarist and singer makes “25 Year Retrospective” from Tommy McCoy one of the best sets we’ve had the pleasure of hearing this year!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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