In the company of his older brother Joe, the versatile Charlie McCoy ranked among the great blues accompanists of his era, his nimble, sensitive guitar work enriching recordings from performers including Tommy Johnson and Ishmon Bracey. Born May 26, 1909 in Jackson, MS, the self-taught McCoy was recording regularly by the late '20s, often alongside Walter Vincson; he also sat in with the Mississippi Sheiks, Rubin Lacy, Son Spand, and the many other Delta bluesmen who passed through the Jackson area in the years to follow, occasionally appearing on not only guitar but also mandolin (the latter most notably on his mid-'30s sessions backing sister-in-law Memphis Minnie). With his pleasantly high tenor voice, McCoy could well have become a star in his own right, but he seemed to prefer remaining in the background; among his scattered solo sessions is the first known recorded rendition of the song that eventually became Sweet Home Chicago. Between 1936 and 1939, he also cut a number of sessions with his groups Papa Charlie's Boys and the Harlem Hamfats, the latter also featuring his brother. The War cut short McCoy's career, and he made no more recordings after 1942, dying in Chicago on July 26, 1950. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

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