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Charles "Papa Charlie" McCoy (May 26, 1909 – July 26, 1950) was an African American delta blues musician and songwriter.


papa charlie mccoy
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, McCoy was best-known by the nickname 'Papa Charlie'. He became one of the major blues accompanists of his time. A guitarist and mandolin player, he played in the Mississippi area with his band, The Mississippi Hot Footers.

McCoy recorded several sides with Bo Carter as the 'Mississippi Mud Steppers'. Among the tracks recorded with Carter were two variations of Cow Cow Davenport's "Cow Cow Blues" . The first, an instrumental, was released as "The Jackson Stomp". The second, with lyrics and vocals by McCoy, as "The Lonesome Train, That Took My Girl From Town". They also wrote and recorded "The Vicksburg Stomp" which was resurrected and recorded by Mike Compton, of O Brother, Where Art Thou? fame.

His nimble, sensitive guitar work enriched recordings from performers including Tommy Johnson and Ishman Bracey. He also recorded regularly in the late 1920s, 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 that followed.. He also backed his then sister-in-law, Memphis Minnie in the mid 1930s.

As a slide guitarist, McCoy recorded as under the name of Tampa Kid, and released "Keep On Trying".

McCoy also joined and performed with his brother (Kansas Joe McCoy) for many years, and they released records under the title of "The McCoy Brothers".

He eventually migrated to Chicago where he organized two bands, "Papa Charlie's Boys" and with his older brother Kansas Joe McCoy, the Harlem Hamfats, that performed and recorded during the second half of the 1930s. However, service with the United States Army during World War II cut short McCoy’s career.

In poor health, McCoy never returned to music after the war, and he died in Chicago, Illinois in 1950 from paralytic brain disease, only a few months after his brother had died. They are both buried in the Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

McCoy's composition, "Too Long" was recorded several times by both black and white artists. This song is typical of the 1930s song that had appeal in numerous genres. Indeed, when you compare the western swing rendition by Bob Dunn's Vagabonds with Moon Mullican on vocal with the original, it is hard to tell which is the blues version and which is the "country" version!

Source: Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)