Freddie McCoy – Summer In the City from the Prestige Records 45
With all the hot, humid, and down right nasty heat we have had as of late, I decided to post this record. In fact, it will be included on a future mix I have in the works called Prestige on Prestige. This mix will feature my favorite cuts from the Prestige label. Keep your eyes and ears out for that in the near future. I will hopefully have my latest podcast mixed down over the weekend, and will drop it sometime next week. I think you’ll enjoy it, as it has some recent finds as well as some tunes you’ll love to play while hanging with a cold one in the Summer. For now, let’s get into “Summer In the City” by Freddie McCoy from 1967 on Prestige Records.
When we talk about Soul Jazz, there are a lot of names that come into play. We always talk about the organ, because let’s face it: McGriff, Holmes, McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott, the list goes on and on. How about a vibraphonist? Freddie McCoy started out in 1961, and along side Johnny Hammond in 1963 on the Prestige label ( releasing Lonely Avenue )would start his journey into Jazz history. He was a cat who really didn’t play for the critics, but for himself, and would be known for laying down some funky grooves and a load of Soul jazz sides. His seven record run with this very label ended in 1968, but he’d move on to the Budda subsidiary Cobblestone to release a fave over at Funky 16 Corners, Gimme Some! in 1971. While on the Prestige label, his albums were produced by Cal Lampley. Lampley has produced artists like Groove Holmes, Miles Davis, Joe Jones (Introducing the Psychedelic Guitar of..which looks interesting, I need to have it), among many other reissues of the likes of Nina Simone, etc. When Lampley was replaced by Bob Porter, McCoy Tyner did not record for Prestige again. That is a question that was raised shortly after about McCoy’s departure, and if indeed Porter’s presence had anything to do with the absence of one of the funkiest Soul Jazz players around.
The song itself, as we all know is a classic. No doubt recorded after the Lovin’ Spoonful had success with it in 1966, The Freddie McCoy Septet hit pay dirt with this side. Along with Freddie on vibes, his band line up of Wilbur Dad Buscomb, Edward David Williams (trumpet), JoAnne Brackeen (piano) Wally Richardson (guitar) Eustis Guillemet (bass) and Ray Lucas (drums) were laying down some funky Soul Jazz whether they knew it or not. Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs in 1967, one can only wish they were a fly on the wall at this session (as well as many, many others there). This is the type of Soul Jazz record I like to find. I got this thing for next to nothing, and to me, it was a really great find. It’s records like this that push me to dig deeper and deeper, uncovering forgotten gems and bringing them to the masses. I’ll be back Monday with another FMF Guest Mix from the Guest Mix Series. Keep Diggin’!
**PS: Check out my man SF from The Offside Rules collabo with the wunderkid Jozy Altidore (formerly of NY Red Bull, now of Villereal) on a play list here. Jozy, we’re gonna miss you man, but good luck! By the looks of this playlist, his kicking is better than his picking, knowwhutimsayin?
RE: The “disappearance” of Freddie McCoy, This was posted in the comments for ‘Gimme Some’ by drummer Chuck Purro:
“I played drums with Freddie in 1970 in Boston and in Hawaii. Last time I saw Freddie was in 1970 on the Big Island. We were living on a Macadamia Nut Farm in mail trucks we converted into campers. We weren’t playing at that point and Freddie sold his amp. I needed to play so I was heading back to civilization and I asked Freddie what his plans were. He said he was going to go to China, buy a chinese junk and sail to India. I said good luck and left. Then back in Boston I read in Oui Magazine an article about Americans living in Ashrams in India and Freddie McCoy was mentioned in the piece. His had overstayed his visa, which was for two weeks, and he had to go to court. The judge asked him what he had to say for himself regarding his offense and he said, “Well Judge, the way I see it, I was reborn 2 weeks ago, so I have only been in this country two weeks.” That was the end of the article on him, it never said if he was deported or thrown in jail or what. I would love to find out if he is still alive and talk to him. Anyone that knows anything else, please post it or contact me at Yankeebk@comcast.net I am also looking for Dave Low who played bass in that band.”