Charlie McCoy has played on more recording sessions than most any other. For he has worked with everyone from Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan by way of all your country greats since 1960 who in 2009 joined his hero, Hank Williams in the Country Music Hall Of Fame. Viewers of the BBC’s 1970s Old Grey Whistle Test will no doubt be familiar with its theme tune, ‘Stone Fox Chase’ —that was performed and written by harmonica king pin, McCoy.
Lonesome Whistle is but a simple affair which has in Ricky Skaggs, Roy Clark and through modern technology a duet featuring Hank Snr, his band, The Drifting Cowboys and daughter Jett Williams (unlike her half-brother Hank Williams Jr she never became a force in country music) plus session musicians Hargus ‘Pig’ Robbins, Hoot Hester, Rob Ickes, Russ Hicks, Harold Bradley and Dennis Crouch among others lend support.
It is all in all the music is friendly with nothing to upset or send you into raptures. Good though the playing of everyone involved and Charlie’s intention of playing tribute to the man he calls ‘the greatest’ the darkness of some of Hank’s music is missing, instead you have slick, perfectly performed versions of ‘Lovesick Blues’, ‘Cold Cold Heart’ and ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ that like the others noted is done as an instrumental and has Charlie play the dickens out of it. To where the hairs on the back of your neck raise on the back of your neck and how about the spoken piece (that has recollections by Skaggs with one concerning Hank and Bill Monroe passed on by his father-in-law Buck White is well worth repeating) by Ricky and Roy on ‘Mind Your Own Business’. But the ones to top all is Hank and the Drifting Cowboys performing ‘I Saw the Light’ (Jett would have best been left off this one) with additional, recently added harp from Charlie that is before he sings his own song ‘The Hank Williams Song’ and bow out, graciously with his closing remarks and credits. The place this recording would be best suited is playing at the Hank Williams Snr museum accompanying those viewing the artefacts on display. For more from McCoy be sure to check-out his work when he was in Area Code 615 and Barefoot Jerry.
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