Thursday, July 26, 2012

Late In The Lonely Night reviewed by David Stine

Late In The Lonely Night
Tommy McCoy
Earwig Music Company
11 tracks/41.06

Tommy McCoy spent time working with Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Commander Cody before moving to Florida. Running into Michael Frank from Earwig proved fortuitous for both and thus this CD.

Although not earth shattering, “Late In The Lonely Night” is a solid outing for McCoy. Cut one, the title track introduced 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, “Angle 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 nice surprise: a reprise of the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose “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 entender 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 kinda 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 “Lonely Night” a listen.

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