Your Complete Guide to the Chicago Blues Scene

radio shows
record labels

Live Shows
Windy City Blues ad

CD REVIEW -- Tommy McCoy



Late In The Lonely Night

Earwig Music Company

11 tracks/41.06

Tommy McCoy CD art

by David Stine

Tommy McCoy spent time working with Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Commander Cody before moving to Florida, a few decades back. Fortunately, McCoy ran into Earwig label boss Michael Frank, a meeting which proved fortuitous, thus resulting in this CD.


Although not earth shattering, Late In The Lonely Night  is a solid outing for McCoy. Cut one, the title track, introduces us to McCoy’s singing, songwriting and axe handling. You may not run out and tell all your friends about McCoy, but there is nothing here that is offensive or substandard. McCoy plays nice, subdued guitar and knows how to float a tone with his voice. He also avoids many of the well-trod and predictable themes and rhymes in his lyrics.


Song two, “Angel On My Shoulder, Devil On My Back” is a good example of what I’m talking about. Not a show boater, McCoy allows for some tasty piano and organ work in his songs. Karen Denham takes over vocals on cut three “I Never Should Have Listened” with McCoy adding the response –a nice touch. Cut four is a pleasant surprise: a reprise of the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose’s “It’s Too Late To Turn Back Now.” McCoy stays pretty true to the original arrangement only adding tasty guitar.


“Space Master” is more of a guitar romp than great song but that’s OK. “Language Of Love” allows McCoy to get “sexy” with its staggered funky rhythms and female backup vocals. He may not be Barry White, but McCoy handles himself well on songs of this ilk. “Cars, Bars, And Guitars” kind of says it all. He spent it all on them. “Life’s Tides” is a love ballad that’s really outside the prevue of the blues genre and more suited to “entertainers” like John Davidson. I suppose McCoy is flexing the breadth of his songwriting here and I won’t attack him because so much of this CD is “blues.” “Dance Your Pants Off,” is a not-so-subtle double entendre that, well, maybe was better left to the live McCoy show. Some will like it; others, like me, will go URGH. “Treat Her Like A Lady” borrows again from The Cornelius Brothers and here is given more fire, thanks to McCoy’s hot arrangement and guitar treatment. The last cut “My Guitar Won’t Play Nothin’ But The Blues” is rather undercut by McCoy’s soul and pop wanderings, yet the blues is the basis for most of this CD.


All in all, this a very listenable CD -- the kind you would buy after seeing McCoy live. He sings well, plays well and avoids, for the most part, simplistic and cloying writing. McCoy also avoids the pitfalls of many bluesmen out there and limits his guitar playing to what is called for and no more. In a blues world packed with guitar heroes, McCoy’s adherence to “the old way” is very commendable. Give Late in the Lonely Night a listen.

For info:


Dave Specter Eddie Shaw ad
Dave Specter & Eddie Shaw, Sept. 20 at SPACE, Evanston
Liz Mandeville CD
Liz Mandeville's new CD Clarksdale features 11 originals with Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith, Eddie Shaw & Nick Moss. Buy now on cdbaby
Get the party started!
Grana Louise flip photo
Book a blues band & more with Cain's Music Connection
Hambone Logo
Hambone's Blues Party on WDCB 90.9 FM
Momo Mama Blue Chicago
Blue Chicago
536 N. Clark
Chicago, IL


rambler.jpg lynnejordan.jpgLynne Jordan