Album Reviews

Tommy McCoy

25 Year Retrospect

Artist:     Tommy McCoy

Album:     25 Year Retrospect

Label:     Earwig

Release Date:     09/18/2015

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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.

—Iain Patience

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