WV: Charlie McCoy

Charles Ray McCoy, born March 28, 1941 in Oak HIll WV, is a Grammy-winning American session musician, harmonica player, and multi-instrumentalist. In 2009, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Based in Nashville, McCoy’s playing is heard on recordings by Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings and Loretta Lynn.

McCoy was born in Oak Hill, West Virginia, United States. His family moved to nearby Fayetteville when he was a boy and then to Miami, Florida.

At age eight, he began playing the harmonica, starting on an instrument his mother bought for 50 cents. He also learned to play the guitar, and in his teens, the bass and trumpet. While attending Southwest Miami high school, he put together a rock and roll band called “Charlie McCoy and the Agendas” as a guitarist and singer. At age sixteen he reluctantly accompanied a friend to a Miami-based country music barn dance radio show called the “Old South Jamboree”. Upon their arrival, McCoy’s friend left him in the crowd and went to talk to Happy Harold, the host of the show, with the intention of coaxing McCoy up on stage to sing. McCoy’s performance that night, along with the positive response from the audience, led to him and his band being signed to the Old South Jamboree. His band consisted of Donny Lytle, later known as Johnny Paycheck, on bass; Bill Johnson on steel guitar; Charlie Justice on guitar; and Bill Phillips, vocal. About this time the band took part in a local rock and roll contest, winning first prize.


1961“Cherry Berry Wine”
1968“Gimmie Some Lovin’/The Boy From England”
1972“Today I Started Loving You Again”
“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
“I Really Don’t Want to Know”
1973“Orange Blossom Special”
“Release Me”
1974“Silver Threads and Golden Needles”
“Boogie Woogie” (with Barefoot Jerry)
“I Can’t Help It”
“Blue Christmas”
1975“Everybody Stand Up and Holler for the Union”
“Pots and Pans”
“Columbus Stockade Blues”
1976“Wabash Cannonball”
1977“Summit Ridge Drive” (with Barefoot Jerry)
“Amazing Grace”
“Foggy River”
1978“Fair and Tender Ladies”
“Drifting Lovers”
1979“Midnight Flyer”
“Ramblin’ Music Man”
1981“Until the Night” (with Laney Smallwood)
1983“The State of Our Union” (with Laney Smallwood as Laney Hicks)
1989“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (re-recording)
1990“One O’Clock Jump”

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