Release Date: 05/06/14
The front cover of this CD lists the artist as Helm, Hudson & McCoy, but when you pop Angels Serenade into your download-equipped computer, the menu credits it to Thomas McCoy, and in all honesty this music sounds more like the work of that journeyman blues man than a true collaboration. The Helm and Hudson listed on the cover are Levon Helm and Garth Hudson of the Band, and the sessions were recorded at Helm's studio in Woodstock, NY; McCoy eagerly plays up his associations with these landmark musicians in the liner notes, and there's no arguing that they're sidemen nearly anyone would be proud to have on their recording project. But neither Levon or Garth contributed to the songwriting or the production, and while they add a faint taste of the Band's signature sound to these recordings, McCoy is front and center on this disc -- he wrote nine of the twelve songs, plays lead guitar, and sings most of the lead vocals, handing four over to his brother Doug. And while McCoy is a solid guitarist and not bad with a tune, as a lyricist he's a far, far cry from Robbie Robertson or Richard Manuel, with Ace in the Hole, Sentenced to Love, and Blue Water Runs Deep sounding just as hokey as their titles, and he turns Ray Charles' Hey Now into an unfortunately generic sounding blues workout. Levon Helm and Garth Hudson seem to have been elevated from backing musicians to headliner status largely to help Angels Serenade in the marketplace, and while they deliver the fine performances you'd expect, ultimately this is a Tommy McCoy album and it isn't likely to bowl over Helm or Hudson's more discriminating fans. Mark Deming
|Label: Blues Boulevard|
|Run Time: 40 mins|
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