Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chance Discovery: Clyde McCoy

Last week, I picked up an old Mercury 10-inch jazz record by Clyde McCoy. For 50 cents I was willing to find out what was in the grooves. If McCoy's name sounds familiar, it's because he was a member of the McCoy clan that feuded with the Hatfields. Or, if you're into the history of electric guitars, you may know that the first wah-wah pedal was named after him, because it simulated the wah-wah effect that he mastered on the trumpet using a mute. McCoy also co-founded the venerable jazz magazine Downbeat.

According to Wikipedia, McCoy's best known song "Sugar Blues", which sounds like straight bluesy jazz to me, topped the "country (hillbilly)" music charts. Here's another example of how the borders of country music was wide open in the past (see previous post on the hardening of the boundaries between country and R&B music). Later, the song was recorded by country artists such as Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and used in the movie Some Like It Hot.

It's all a wonderful bit of music history learned from a random record purchase.

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