Back in the day musicians performed under different names. The bluesman of this post had quite a few. He is best known as Kansas Joe McCoy and further performed as Bill Wither, Georgia Pine Boy, Hallelujah Joe, Big Joe McCoy and His Washboard Band, and the Mississippi Mudder. But above all, he recorded some of the best pre-war blues songs like his hit “When You Said Goodbye” in 1940.
Kansas Joe Mc Coy and Memphis Minnie
Joe Mc Coy recorded several songs in the Twenties and recorded with his wife Memphis Minnie in the thirties. In the late thirties, he divorced Memphis Minnie while they lived in Chicago. So to get his music going he teamed up with his brother to form the Harlem Hamfats.
The Harlem Hamfats “The Weed Smoker’s Dream”
In 1936, the Harlem Hamfats released their recording of the song “The Weed Smoker’s Dream”. According to the bluestrail.com “The original line up also included Herb Morand from New Orleans, Odell Rand and John Lindsey, also from New Orleans, and drummer Pearlis Williams and pianist Horace Malcom from Chicago. They were also joined from time to time by Johnny “Geechie” Temple, a long time friend of the McCoy brothers”.
Jazz Standard “Why Don’t You Do Right”
This song would later become an absolute standart. Mc Coy, changed the lyrics and retitled the song “Why Don’t You Do Right?” for Lil Green, who recorded it in 1941. ” Why Don’t You Do Right?” remains a jazz standard and is McCoy’s most enduring composition.
During World War II he entered the military but did not serve due to a heart condition. Instead, he formed a big band with Robert Nighthawk called Big Joe and his Rhythm
Kansas Joe Mc Coy was a fantastic musician, one of the few to write true standards. McCoy’s songs have also been covered by Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, the Ink Spots, Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Ann Kelly, Cleo Laine and A Perfect Circle.
Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie When the Levee Breaks – Famous 1927 Mississippi River
Feature Photo Credit byUmberto Cofini