Charles McCoy, bass on Dylan's John Wesley Harding

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by on1ne, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. on1ne


    Dec 21, 2004
    I've never heard anyone else play quite the way this guy does on this album. It's an unusual style, tone and mix but it swings like crazy. Perfect match fopr Ken Buttrey's clean solid drums. I've not seen McCoy credited for bass on any other recordings, seems to be an all around session guy, plays organ and guitar. Is he the same Charlie McCoy the harp player?

    Anyway I love the style and his playing on this one album has been a huge influence on me. Anyone know more about him?
  2. MR PC

    MR PC Inactive

    Dec 1, 2007
    Yes, that album is interesting for a few reasons. The bass parts really stand out because there is alot of space in the arrangements. Almost like a free jazz player following chord changes!

    Charles "Charlie" Mcoy was the #1 session call for harmonica in Nashville at the time "John Wesley Harding" was recorded.

    I always get a kick when I hear Dylan wheezing out the harmonica solo on "All Along the Watchtower" as Charlie (one of the "best harp players in the world) held the bottom end.

    A great album.
  3. on1ne


    Dec 21, 2004
    So that is the same Charlie McCoy who plays harmonica and was part of Area Code 615?
    Seemed like it had to be him but I have to wonder how he ended up playing bass of all things on the one Dylan album. I can't find any other recording where he is credited for bass.
  4. MR PC

    MR PC Inactive

    Dec 1, 2007
    Here's a snip from Charlie" web page bio:

    In his book "Backstage Pass", Al Kooper described a typical Charlie McCoy incident which took place during the sessions for Dylan's "Blond On Blond" Album. One song called for a trumpet part which should have been an easy overdub, except that Dylan didn't care for overdubs. So McCoy, while playing bass with his left hand, played trumpet with his right hand, without missing a beat. Kooper points out that Dylan stopped in the middle of the song, amazed.
  5. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Charlie McCoy is one of my heros. I am stunned to read the words "John
    Wesley Harding" and Area Code 615 in the same thread. :eek:

    These two recordings completely rearranged my conception of electric
    bass back when they appeared. Hooray for Norbert Putnam too! :hyper:
    :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:
  6. Dig Wilbur Ware

    Dig Wilbur Ware

    Mar 7, 2003
    Love his playing on that date! It's been ages, but I recall sublimely fat P-bass tones with huge fundamentals. The "feel" he supplied!

    Similarly, anybody recall Harvey Brooks with Richie Havens? The lp with the tune "Follow" ?

    I'd also be interested to know who played bass on Fred Neil's "The Dolphins"
  7. MR PC

    MR PC Inactive

    Dec 1, 2007
    Alright, alright , memory lane here. I'd guess Felix Papaladri, I know that he played a big old Mexican Guittaron on Fred Neil's earlier dates, modified to four string from the traditional six.

    Another important album from the era of John Wesley Harding and Area Code 615 is Towne Van Zandt's first album. Great bass playing sounds.
  8. lejmark


    Jun 27, 2009
    Does anybody know what kind of bass he played during theese sessions (John Wesley Harding, Blonde On Blonde)?
  9. bassfiddlesteve

    bassfiddlesteve Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    He played a stack-knob Fender Jazz Bass.