NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WOWK) – West Virginia native Charlie McCoy played the harmonica on Loretta Lynn’s 1975 hit “When the Tingle Becomes a Chill.”
McCoy says he played on five or six Loretta Lynn records and a few with Lynn and Conway Twitty. He said she was great to work with.
“She was from back in the mountains, no doubt about it and it was fine. I think one of the cool things was that her producer Owen Bradley never tried to change her at all,” McCoy said.
McCoy is a member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Grand Ole Opry.
Anchor for WBOY’s sister station in Charleston, Rob Macko, first met him in 2020 at the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Today, he shared two of his favorite memories about the “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
One was when he was playing harmonica in a studio vocal booth.
“She says, ‘Owen I can’t hear the French Harp,’ and Owen said, ‘Loretta the harmonica’s in the booth.’ And she said, ‘well, you can call it a harmonica if you want to, but it ain’t nothing but a French Harp,’” McCoy said.
He also recalls the time he came to the studio for a recording session after coaching his 12-year-old daughter’s softball practice.
The team’s name was the Demons. There was a “devil face” on the ball cap.
“She turns and looks at me startled and says, ‘here we was talking about things that made us scared and you walk in with a dadblamed devil on your hat.’”
On Tuesday night, McCoy performed at the Grand Ole Opry.
It was a scheduled performance but because of Lynn’s death, he says the Opry had her picture on the big screen and Carly Pearce paid tribute to her.
“What do you think her lasting legacy is going to be?” I asked McCoy.
“Well I think number one, some of the people questioned some of her songs, but number two, she was a great writer, those songs are great,” he said.
McCoy is from Fayette County, West Virginia.
Watch the full interview with McCoy here:
He said it was really hard for female singers back then, but says Loretta Lynn put in lots of miles on buses to get her music to the people.
He said he hadn’t worked with Lynn in about 15 years, but says he saw her several years ago at a Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.