March 28 2021

The Real McCoy

“The real McCoy” is an idiom and metaphor used in much of the English-speaking world to mean “the real thing” or “the genuine article.

Harmonica Player and Grammy Award winning session musician Charlie McCoy was born on this day, March 28, 1941. McCoy was born in Oak Hill, West Virginia. At the age of eight he began playing on a harmonica his mother had bought him for fifty cents. He soon learned to play other instruments as well. Charlie became a guitarist, a drummer, and also played bass and trumpet in his teenage years.

Miami, Florida was where Charlie McCoy would spend his teenaged years attending Southwest Miami high school. It was at Southwest Miami high that McCoy would put together a rock band he called “Charlie McCoy and the Agendas.” After being coaxed by a friend to attend and play at a barn dance, the band was signed to the “Old South Jamboree,” a popular radio show in Miami.

McCoy’s original band included himself on guitar and as lead singer, Bill Johnson on steel guitar, Charlie Justice on guitar, and vocalist Bill Phillips. The other member of the Agendas playing bass was a man named Donny Lytle. Lytle would later be known to the country music world as Johnny Paycheck.

At the age of eighteen, Charlie McCoy received an invitation to come to Nashville and persue his musical career by artist Mel Tillis. After visiting many record companies and producers and not catching the big break he was seeking, McCoy returned to Miami to begin attending classes at Miami University.

Charlie McCoy majored in music education at Miami University with hopes to become a teacher. Faculty members of the university did not like McCoy’s work outside of the university. He was still playing his rock n roll music at the “Jamboree.” The university faculty members deemed this “a lower form of music.” McCoy made it known that he would quit playing the barn dance if the faculty would give him a scholarship, however, the University denied his request.

After working for several bands mainly as a drummer, Charlie McCoy’s music was heard by Archie Bleyer of Cadence Records.  “Cherry Berry Wine“, would become McCoy’s first recorded single. The track reached the 99th spot on the charts in Nashville.

In 1961, Chet Akins heard one of Charlie McCoy’s demo tapes. Akins hired Charlie on the spot. It was Chet Akins who gave Charlie the big break he was looking for.

With RCA and Ann Margaret, Charlie McCoy recorded his first song as a harmonica player. “I Just Don’t Understand.” At the discovery by Fred Foster of Monument records in his musical talents with the mouth harp, his instrumentals would back Roy Orbison’s, “Candy Man.”

Candy Man,” became a million seller. The prominent harmonics throughout the song drew notice. Fred Foster believed in Charlie McCoy’s music.

McCoy continued to record with Monument. In 1972, a release of “Today I Started Loving You Again” as a single sold 750,000 copies and reached #16 in the Billboard Charts. The Real McCoy, Charlie McCoy’s next album would win a Grammy from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. His album Good Time Charlie reached No. 1 in the Billboard country chart.

Throughout the 1970’s Charlie McCoy participated in over 400 recording sessions a year. McCoy’s harmonica appears on Ringo Starrs, “Beaucoups of Blues.” While his guitar ability can be heard on Dylan’s, “Desolation Row.” His bass playing can be heard on all the tracks from Dylan’s album John Wesley Harding. McCoy also recorded with Elvis Presley, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, and The Steve Miller Band, and more.

For 19 years, Charlie McCoy was the musical director of the popular television show Hee Haw. He was also a member of the Million Dollar Band, the group of all-star session musicians who performed on the show.

Happy Birthday Charlie, you truly are the “REAL McCoy.”


December 3 2020

Take This Blog and Shove It

Do you ever just feel like you are just having an off day? I have had the kind of day that something is bothering me, but I am just not quite sure what. Everything seems to piss me off, even when it shouldn’t. I just can’t seem to put my finger on it. I feel frustrated and tired.

Am I just getting old? Maybe, it’s the weather. I think winter-time has finally arrived. It has been cold and cloudy. I didn’t sleep well last night, and I am sure that is part of it. I am trying to be grateful, but I am having a very hard time.  

I don’t want to give up, I am a survivor! I know I have gone through worse trials and tribulations than what the world has thrown at me lately.

I do enjoy writing. I enjoy writing this blog. I enjoy music. I enjoy writing this blog about the music that I enjoy.

That’s it keep it up! That’s the gratitude I was after!

I wanted to title this article: “Take This Blog and Shove It” because of my piss poor mood tonight.. but as this is a music blog I am trying to write, perhaps I should have titled it, “Take This Job and Shove It.”

Take This Job and Shove It” was Johnny Paycheck’s 1977 hit single. The song is about the bitterness of a man who works long and hard with no apparent reward.

The song was written by David Alan Coe. The song was first recorded by Paycheck and is on his album of the same name. The song, Paycheck’s only #1 hit, spent two weeks at number one. “Take This Job and Shove It” spent 18 weeks on the charts.

The album was released in 1977 by CBS Recording Studios in Nashville. The album also produced two other singles that reached the charts. “Colorado Kool-Aid,” and “Georgia in a Jug.

Colorado Kool-Aid was recorded as the B-side of Take This Job and Shove It

Johnny Paycheck was born Donald Eugene Lytle. He was born May 31,1938 in Greenfield, Ohio. He legally changed his name to Johnny Paycheck in 1964. The name comes from Johnny Paychek a boxer from Chicago.

Donald (Johnny Paycheck) began competing in talent competitions at the age of 9. His first big break as a professional musician came in the early 1960’s. He played bass and steel guitar and also provided harmony back-up vocals for George Jones.

Johnny Paycheck co- wrote the song “Once You’ve Had The Best” for Jones.  

Apartment #9” is another successful song written by Johnny Paycheck. The song would become Tammy Wynette’s first hit in 1966.

Paycheck’s own personal success came in the 70’s when he associated his act with the outlaw country movement.

In 1977, Johnny Paycheck received a Career Achievement award by the Academy of Country Music. He was inducted into the Grand Old Opry in 1997.

“To me, an outlaw is a man that did things his own way, whether you liked him or not. I did things my own way”

Johnny Paycheck

With complications due to asthma and emphysema Johnny Paycheck died in Nashville at the age of 64 in 2003.

Recently, Johnny’s son Jonathan Paycheck has began touring and plays tribute songs for his dad.