Tommy McCoy – 25 Year Retrospect – 2CD

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A soulful singer, scorching lead guitarist, and prolific writer, Tommy McCoy’s uncommon versatility is on full display throughout this jam-packed compilation. By any standard, he has paid his blues dues and then some, as this collection eloquently testifies. The Florida-based guitarist has been performing and recording on a regular basis for well over two decades, and every one of his albums since 1992 is amply represented on this generous career retrospective. Tommy is backed on various tracks by Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon, Commander Cody, Lucky Peterson, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm and other notables.
The collection features 30 songs with tracks representing each of his previous albums, plus three impressive new songs recorded this year. The three new songs are pretty cool, too, and include McCoy’s inventive tribute to B.B. King (“The King Is Gone”), the R&B-flavored “I Got A Reason,” and “Sugar Cane,” which features McCoy solo on acoustic guitar. 25 Year Retrospect will definitely please fans of Tommy McCoy, who will be glad to get these great tracks on one collection, and will also serve as a fantastic introduction to new listeners, who will be blown away by his talent and versatility. -  Graham Clarke

Track Listing:

1. King Is Gone - 4:58   2. I Got a Reason - 4:18   3. Change Is In - 7:21   4. No Love Without Any Green - 3:05   5. Tropical Depression - 4:36   6. Ludella - 4:49   7. Love N' Money - 5:39   8. They Killed That Man - 4:40   9. Blues Thing - 4:00   10. Man Who Cried - 4:29   11. Bitter Soul to Heal - 7:28   12. Talkin' to Myself - 4:15   13. Ace in the Hole - 4:02   14. Angels Serenade - 2:47

1. Spanish Moon - 4:25   2. Poverty - 3:07   3. Angel on My Shoulder, Devil on My Back - 5:57   4. Black Eldorado Red - 2:53   5. Lay My Demons Down - 4:45   6. Late in the Lonely Night - 3:59   7. Money - 6:43   8. Broke, You're a Joke - 2:51   9 Sugar Cane - 3:16   10. Language of Love - 4:37   11. My Guitar Won't Play Nothin' But the Blues - 2:44   12. Jive Dive - 4:57   13. Cars, Bars and Guitars - 3:27   14. Space Master - 4:11   15. Hey Now - 4:38   16. Blue Water Runs Deep - 3:57


1. -2015.09.
just received the newest release, 25 Year Retrospective, from Tommy McCoy and it's exceptional! Opening with The King Is Gone, a really nice tribute to BB King structured along the lines of The Thrill Is Gone. McCoy really does a nice job of capturing the spirit of BB and the band, with McCoy on vocal and guitar, Theodore Alexiou on guitar, Demetris Georgopoulos on bass, John Dinoulas on drums and Kostas Tenezos on harp is spot on. R&B track, I Got A Reason, has a light pop feel and features Babis Tsitivigos on sax. The Change Is In has more of a rock feel but maintaining a bit of R&B. Mark McCoy on bass, Calvin Cratic on guitar, John Street on keys and Pat Geoffrey on keys set a nice stage for a fine biting guitar solo from McCoy on guitar, nicely complimenting his vocal led melody. Blues driver, No Love Without Any Green, has a great rhythm line fed my Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton. McCoy rips a hot guitar solo on this track with a crisp drumming and solid bass. Tropical Depression, a soulful ballad, finds McCoys vocals floating on an easy melody by Mondo Bizarro onbass, Chaz Trippy on drums and John Street on drums. Ludella has a polished jazz rocker feel. Featuring William Harris Jr. on bass, Popcorn Chuck Louden on drums and Lucky Peterson on B3 this track it developes a nice solo shootout between Peterson on B3 and McCoy on guitar. Nice! Love n' Money is one of my favorite tracks on disc one featuring Shannon and Layton again plus Street. A guitar instrumental, this track gives McCoy a really nice opportunity to stretch on guitar and he takes the chance and doesn't waste a note. Excellent! Blues fused, They Killed That Man, features only McCoy on acoustic guitar and vocal with Ed Lanier on upright bass. Very expressive. Blues Thing has a bit of a Freddie King feel with Peterson on B3. This tracks is hot! A Man Who Cried has a R&B format with Harris Jr. on bass, Louden on drums and Peterson on B3. Bitter Soul To Heal is an absolute smoker! Featuring Harris Jr on bass, Popcorn on drums and Peterson on keys. Peterson and McCoy each take really nice solos on this track making an absolutely excellent blues number. Talkin' To Myself has a country 2 step feel featuring Chris Lomas on bass, Tony Baylis on drums and Fred Skidmore on keys. Nice changeup and a good rocker. Ace In The Hole has a bit of a funky feel with nice slide work from Jimmy Bennett. Mark McCoy hits the bass with Levon Helm on drums, Garth Hudson on B3 and George Triconi on piano and McCoy on vocal, guitar and mandolin. A definite Band influence with a cool solo from Hudson. Very nice! A quiet ballad, Angels Serenade wraps disc one with the same lineup but adding Anastasia on piano with it's waltz like tempo.
 Opening disc two is Little Feat's Spanish Moon with all of the complexity of Little Feat's original. McCoy on guitar and vocal is joined on guitar by Branson Welsh, Mark McCoy on bass, Levon Helm on drums, Garth Hudson on B3 Triconi on piano and Tim Eddy adding really full horn work. Excellent! Poverty has a Isley's feel with Ken West on Bass, Tony Coleman on drums, Street on keys, Charlie De Chant on hot sax and Larry Mergillano on trumpet. Angel On My Shoulder, Devil On My Back has a bit of a swampy sound with a super complex funky drum beat. Joel Tatangelo on slide, Al Razz on bass, Pug Baker on drums and Tim Heding on B3 really deliver on this track making it another favorite on the release. Guitar solos from McCoy and Tatangelo as well as super keys and hot drums make this track a smoker. Swing track, Black Eldorado Red kicks butt with nice piano work from Commander Cody. McCoy on guitar and vocal is complimented by Pat Bregan on guitar, Mike Chavers on bass on James Vernardo on drums. Hot! Lay My Demons Down, is a soulful track with gospel overtones. It's slow, smokey, feel accented by punchy guitar riffs from McCoy makes this one of the nice tracks on the release. With Harris Jr on bass, Popcorn on drums and Lucky Peterson on supple organ solo's, this is a definite must hear. Smokin! Late In The Lonely Night has a Robert Cray R&B bluesy feel and I personally think that may be the best showing of McCoy's vocals. McCoy's guitar riffs have more bite on this track joined by Razz on bass, Pug Baker on drums and Tim Heding on B3. Another super track this release just keeps piling them up. Ok...Pink Floyds Money, gets a jazzy makeover and I really like it. It has a definite Shannon/Layton feel joined by DeChant on sax. I have noticed a number of times during this recording the clarity and presence. DeChant's sax solo is a clear example and McCoys own guitar solo is hot! Excellent! Broke, You're A Joke is a funky track with a bit of country. Very cool blend. With Joel Brodsky on bass and Calvin Cratic on drums this is a tight little blues rocker. Tommy takes a break again on this disc with Sugar Cane for a solo acoustic number and a more rural feel. Simple, straight forward, nice! Language Of Love, kicked off by a hot drum riff by Dave Reinhardt on drums and Karen Caruthers and Karyn Denham on vocal, this track has a life of it's own. Featuring McCoy on some of his best lead vocals, Rob McDowell on bass and Karen Caruthers on piano this track has a really nice feel. McCoy rips a new one on his guitar solo setting you back in your seat. My Guitar Won't Play Nothin' But The Blues is a silky shuffle track with Razz on bass, Baker on drums and Heding on B3. With a few tempo changes the track speaks. Jive Dive has a blues feel but with a jazzy delivery. Featuring horns and Keys by Street and Brice Waibel on bass with Trippy on drums this track features some hot guitar riffs to compliment it's swagger. Cars, Bars and Guitars is a basic 12 bar number with only McCoy, Razz and Baker. With it's easy shuffle feel, McCoy lays some really nice riffs in the groove. Space Master, with it's funk overtones features Tatangelo on slide, Razz on bass, Baker on drums and Heding on B3. Tatangelo lays out a pretty nice slide solo and an extended drum solo from Baker and McCoy sews it shut with a ripping solo of his own. Very cool! Ray Charles' R&B track, Hey Now, really hits the groove. With Jimmy Bennett on rhythm guitar, Mark McCoy on bass, Levon Helm on drums, Garth Hudson on B3 and laying down a hot sax solo, George Triconi on piano and Tim Eddy on horns and of course McCoy singing his lungs out...and smokin guitar work, this is a super track! Wrapping the release is pop track, Blue Water Runs Deep, with Jimmy Bennett on rhythm and slide guitars, Mark McCoy on bass, Levon Helm on drums and George Triconi on piano. This is more calm track overall chosen for the closer but I will comment that McCoy's and Bennett's guitar work at the end is pretty solid. I really enjoyed reviewing this release and I suggest that you go out and get one to review for yourself. It's a good one!

2. - 2015.11.16 - Peter Jacobs (3½)
Misschien kan je zanger/gitarist Tommy McCoy het best vergelijken met Duke Robillard. Hij is eenzelfde soort muzikant. Hij speelt namelijk net als Duke ook heel wat verschillende stijlen. Maar daar houdt de vergelijking dan ook op. Tommy leerde gitaar spelen op z’n achtste en zijn professionele carrière start op veertien. Maar het duurt tot 1986 wanneer hij samen met Mark Hummel een debuutalbum opneemt. Hij brengt voornamelijk blues, maar loopt even vaak zijstraatjes in waar hij rock (‘The Change is in’, ‘Talkin’ to myself’), pop (‘Angels serenade’) of soul (‘I got a reason’, ‘A man who cried’, ‘Poverty’) speelt.
Een heel aangename stem heeft Tommy niet, maar hij kan er wel veel mee. Jazzy songs, rock, blues of soul, hij zingt het allemaal.
Zijn stem klinkt erg ‘blank’ en is vrij dun. Je moet van zijn zangstijl houden. Hij zingt namelijk nogal slepend en stretcht zijn woorden vaak erg lang. Daardoor heb je de indruk dat hij wat overdrijft en dat de songs te lang duren.
Tommy’s gitaarspel is sterk beïnvloed door Stevie Ray Vaughan (was een goede vriend van hem) en BB King. Voor deze laatste schreef hij op de tonen van ‘The thrill is gone’ een tribute en noemde het ‘The King is gone’. Wat mij betreft nogal saai en totaal overbodig. Een veel betere cover is de versie van Pink Floyds ‘Money’, waarop SRV’s double trouble meedoen, Tommy Shannon en Chris Layton. En ook de versie van Little Feats ‘Spanish moon’ met Levon Helm op drums is goed te pruimen. Shannon en Layton doen trouwens ook mee op de bluesrock shuffle ‘No love without any green’. Ook de swampy southern rock van ‘An angel on my shoulder, devil on my back’, is het beluisteren zeker waard.
Maar de hoogtepunten van deze 30 songs tellende dubbelcd zijn: ‘Ludella’ en ‘Lay my demons down’ met Lucky Peterson op Hammond B3 en de southern countryrock ‘Blue water runs deep’. Maar ook de akoestische blues ‘Sugar cane’, het Little feat-achtige ‘Ace in the hole’ met prachtig slidewerk van Jimmy Bennett en de funky blues ‘Language of love’ met de backingzangeressen Karen Caruthers en Karyn Denham zijn sterke songs en uitvoeringen.

3. – 2016 .04.02
Desde 1962 Tommy McCoy se ha pasado la vida tocando la guitarra, dicho de otra modo, desde que tenia ocho años y partiendo solamente de tres lecciones recibidas, Tommy se hizo a si mismo e inició su andadura musical que gradualmente le ha conducido a convertirse en uno de los nombres más apreciados en la escena del blues. Este doble disco nos proporciona una amplia visión de los muchos palos que Tommy interpreta dentro de su vasto repertorio y sirve de compendio de algunas de sus muchas canciones publicadas desde que, en 1992, editara su primer álbum. En este álbum se incluyen tres canciones inéditas hasta el momento grabadas en 2015, “Sugar Cane” donde toca él solo, “The King Is Gone”, un homenaje a B.B. King y “I Got A Reason”, un tema con inflexiones funky, soul y rhythm and blues. Soberbio guitarrista, extraordinario compositor y cantante de gran expresividad natural, Tommy McCoy es uno de esos músicos de blues contemporáneo que aparecen de vez en cuando para cautivar totalmente al aficionado más exigente, siempre desde un prisma moderno y original. Un total de treinta canciones que, sin duda llamarán la atención del oyente y donde aparte de su calidad intrínseca, está también acompañado por un buen puñado de músicos. MUY BUENO.

Since 1962 Tommy McCoy has spent a lifetime playing guitar, to say it in another way, since he was eight years old and only with three music lessons, Tommy became a self made man starting a musical career that gradually led him to become one of the most popular names in blues scene. This double album provides us a broad overview of the many sides of blues Tommy normally includes in his wide repertoire. It also serves as a summary of some the many songs he has played since 1992 when he published his first album. He has also included three unreleased tracks he recorded in 2015, "Sugar Cane" where he plays solo, "The King Is Gone", a tribute to B.B. King and "I Got A Reason", a cut with funky, soul and rhythm and blues details. Superb guitarist, amazing composer and singer of a wide natural expressiveness, Tommy McCoy is one of those contemporary blues musicians who appear from time to time to totally captivate the most demanding audiences, always from a modern original perspective. Thirty songs that will certainly catch the attention of fans, not only for Tommy’s undeniable quality but also for the bunch of able musicians who back him. VERY GOOD.

4. - Iain Patience 
Tommy McCoy has certainly paid his blues dues over the years. And if this latest compilation release is anything to go by, maybe it’s time he was due some payback for his dedication, support and mastery of the blues cause.
A double album set spanning over 23 years of recording, this is a pretty perfect introduction to McCoy. The opening track, “The King Is Gone,” is a self-penned tribute to the recently departed B.B. King and is filled with McCoy’s characteristic touches of witty plays on King’s lyrics, song titles and fretwork, supported by an impressive display and command of the old master’s guitar work at its best. B-3 master Lucky Peterson also adds his powerhouse key skills to the mix on a number of tracks.
With 30 tracks mostly taken from McCoy’s many albums to date, the material comes thick and fast, as do the stylistic flourishes as he slips easily from rock-fueled, hard-nosed modern blues to 1960s R&B without a hiccup. Influenced initially by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, as a teenager McCoy quickly discovered the wonder of Howlin’ Wolf and soaked up the UK influences of the Animals, Yardbirds and Pretty Things before moving on to befriend Stevie Ray Vaughan in the ’70s and much of Gregg Allman‘s band a few years later. Somewhere in between he also managed to find space to work and record with the Band’s singer/drummer Levon Helm, whose pounding, rhythmic input pounds the double-disc set to a close.
This is an album that gets better with each earful, a positively rewarding release from a true bluesman.


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