Special Guest: Charlie McCoy (Part 2 of 2) might be one of the most honored and revered guests in my roster. His impact on music (both Country and Rock) is immeasurable. To bringing up the fact that he played on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, Nashville Skyline, and John Wesley Harding, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” or Roy Orbison’s “Candy Man” would overlook some of the other amazing achievements of this great musician. It should be noted that he also played with Elvis Presley throughout his career, including his early RCA sessions, and put out 35 great solo albums of his own. He is a Country music legend and has played with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Flatt and Scruggs, Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Paycheck. He was in the Nashville’s super group, Area Code 615, as well as being part of the Nashville A-team, he was the musical director for the ground breaking television show Hee Haw for 14 years and was inducted into the Country Hall Of Fame in 2009 with Roy Clark and Barbra Mandrell (and if you had to ask he recorded with them too).
In this podcast McCoy talks about working with Gordon Lightfoot and Kris Kristofferson, working on Hee Haw and explains his thoughts on the music and recording technique in Nashville today.
Charlie McCoy - Workingman's Musician.
It's rather remarkable how Charlie McCoy gets as little attention as he does; he's been in many of the landmark moments in many of the great musicians connected to Nashville. Perhaps, most notably for his work with Bob Dylan. Being the guitarist on Dylan's song, Desolation Row, should alone gain him attention. Getting thrown into the mix changed the sound immensely, but once Dylan had it, it stuck. Not to mention the input McCoy had on Dylan's monumental album, John Wesley Harding. Regardless of being one of the most sought after session musicians in Nashville, you hear relatively little about him. At least, not as much as you'd expect to, considering the places he's been and the people he's worked with. But he doesn't seem to mind being out of the spotlight. He seems to be one who just puts his head down and get to work, be that whatever is needed, but most often he's there with a harmonica in his hands. Kind of like a John Henry except with the harmonica as his tool of choice. He just gets it and goes to work, like a workingman musician.
For Desolation Row, McCoy just happened to be in New York at the time when Dylan was recording and was asked by producer Bob Johnson to add an improvised guitar part to the song. McCoy played a Mexican style fill to Dylan's lyrics which has been said by some critics to add a crucial element to the song. Rolling Stone ranked the song as number 187 in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Simply chance and knowing the right people landed him into music history. Yet countless scores of people may know the song, may even be able to sing along, but have no clue to who played the guitar that delicately enhanced and outlined Dylan's verses of the song. It seems sort of odd that he didn't get more recognition since careers have been launched on much simpler guitar riffs on much less important songs.
Now add this to the input McCoy had on John Wesley Harding; throughout the entire album, the songs consisted of Dylan, McCoy, Kenneth A. Buttrey on drums, and occasionally Pete Drake on pedal steel. For those being the only members of the band on the recording, McCoy makes for a rather large piece of the pie, yet no one has chased him down to write a book on his input on those sessions. At least, I have yet to find it. Even the Nashville Public Library has only small amount of material on him. McCoy has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, but you may find no one amongst the inductees more understated.
Maybe this persistence of being hidden in the shadow of the spotlight owes itself to McCoy devoting so much time to being a session musician, had he landed a longer stint in a band, he would have surely proved his usefulness many times over, being the multi-instrumentalist that he is. He has risen to the occasion before, and in a more stable setting, where one might expect, and look forward to his repeated showings, he might have gained a reputation by fans as being someone's right-hand man. After all, all Joe Perry and Jimmy Page did was play guitar, right?
Interview Date: July 8, 2011 @11am EDT
Special Guest: Country Hall of Fame Artist Ray Price (recorded July 8, 2011). In this podcast we finish our interview with Ray Price by talking about the studio, "New Country", and his insightful thoughts on computers and the internet. He also gives a heartfelt story about his good friend Hank Williams Sr.
It can't be said any simpler, or stronger than to say that Texans love their music. Texas is home to SXSW and Austin City Limits. National Public Radio co-produces a weekly program, This Week in Texas Music History. There are many ways and means for Texans to show their love for the music that comes out of Texas. Even the Governor of Texas (the republican nomination hopeful Rick Perry) is sure to include his name on the Texas Music Office website in big letters. There you can even buy a Texas Music licence plate in homage to the pioneers of Texas' musical history
Interview Date: July 8, 2011 @11am EDT
Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys
I don’t know where to begin, or how to explain the gravity and cultural significance of my next guest. Ray Price is a Country honky-tonk legend who, by all accounts, kept the Hard Country torch alive as the rest of the world was turning its back and jumping on the Rock ’n ’Roll bandwagon.1 He is a man whose “music” and “message”, I would argue, is more relevant today than any other time in history. To listen to him is to listen to over a hundred years of American history all boiled down into one well crafted tune; a man so important that Hank Williams