Monday, December 26, 2011

Tommy McCoy Lays His Demons Down

An Ohio native, but living in Florida since 1967, Tommy McCoy has been playing blues ever since. In 1986, journeying to San Francisco and recorded his first project with Mark Hummel. He toured with Johnny Thunder, played in a band with three former Allman Brothers and then did a session in Austin with the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section. A couple years later he entered Kingsnake Studios with a studio band that included Lucky Peterson and recorded Lay My Demons Down, which led to touring the UK as well as a tour of Norway with the late Florida bluesman Rock Bottom.

Blues Boulevard has reissued Lay My Demons Down, co-credited to Lucky Peterson, whose organ helps anchor and spark the performances. Included are 15 performances that are pretty straight-forward efforts. Most tunes are originals such as the rocking Blues Thing, with his recitation of various blues artists and grooving with a feeling playing the fender in a bar with sawdust on the floor as well as the slow Bitter Soul to Heal, a nice slow tune with a bit of a Boz Scaggs feel. He picks acoustic guitar for several tracks including the They Killed That Man, with its narrative of taking a life without a reason why. The title track has him talking about drinking, smoking and staying up all night doing things that ain’t right but things are wrong unless he lays his demons down and changes the life he is living. Its a nice lyric that is well played. He provides his own arrangement of Jimmy Rogers’ Ludella, giving it a funk groove while adding a shuffle beat to Robert Nighthawk’s Bricks in My Pillow, with some broomdusting lap slide from Laptop Randy. He adds an insistent beat to Tampa Red’s Crying Won’t Help You.

Musically this is a solid effort. Tommy Mccoy is a good songwriter, an able singer and a solid guitarist, and receiving solid backing throughout produced an engaging disc that maybe will garner attention from those who missed it the first time around.

My review copy was either provided by Jazz & Blues Report or Blues Boulebard. It was written for Jazz & Blues Report, but I am not sure if it was ever published. Here are videos of him performing.

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