Jerry McCain

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Jerry McCain
Background information
Birth nameJerry B. McCain
Also known asJerry "Boogie" McCain
Born(1930-06-19)June 19, 1930
near Gadsden, Alabama, United States
DiedMarch 28, 2012(2012-03-28) (aged 81)
Gadsden, Alabama, U.S.
Instrument(s)Harmonica, guitar, vocals
Years active1940s–2000s
LabelsTrumpet, Excello, OKeh, Jewel, Romulus, Ichiban

Jerry McCain, often billed as Jerry "Boogie" McCain (June 18, 1930 – March 28, 2012),[1] was an American electric blues musician,[2] best known as a harmonica player.[3]


Born near Gadsden, Alabama, United States, he was one of five children of a poor family. Many of his siblings also became involved in music, most notably his brother, Walter, who played drums on some early recordings.[1] McCain picked up the harmonica from itinerant musicians "Chick" and "Shorty" who played at the local bars (and street corners) when he was young.

McCain was a fan of the music of Little Walter and met the artist when, in 1953, he traveled to Gadsden for a show.[1] McCain's recording debut came via Trumpet Records the same year under the name "Boogie McCain", with his brother Walter on drums. The two tracks were "East of the Sun" and "Wine-O-Wine". After recruiting Christopher Collins, who would be with him throughout most of his career, he went on to the Excello label. During his years with the Excello (1955–57) he developed his amplified harmonica style, and unusual blues lyrics. The Excello Label period saw the release of such noted songs as "The Jig's Up", and "My Next Door Neighbor". His later recording for Rex Records "She's Tough" / "Steady" was an inspiration to The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Kim Wilson duplicated McCain's harp work on their version.[1]

McCain also released singles and albums for Columbia, under their Okeh Records label (1962), and for the Shreveport-based Jewel (1965–68) record label.[1] The complete collection of his Jewel label records are available on a compilation album and, in recent years, several of his early recordings have been released on "retrospective" and compilation CDs, including the Verose Vintage album, Good Stuff. His longest partner, Ichiban Records, also released several retrospectives in the 1990s, including ICH1516-2: Jerry McCain.

In 1989, after a period spent performing and touring with lesser known bands, McCain signed with Ichiban Records, and released the albums: Blues and Stuff, Struttin' My Stuff, and Love Desperado. During his time with Ichiban, McCain also released one record on the Jericho label, This Stuff Just Kills Me, which featured Jimmie Vaughan and Johnnie Johnson.[1] His 1977 release, This Stuff Just Kills Me eventually appeared on the Music Maker label.

In 2002, Ichiban released an album called American Roots: Blues featuring McCain.[1] McCain's abridged work was featured on track 8 of the Rhino Records Blues Masters Volume Four: Harmonica Classics, with an almost lost recording of "Steady". McCain's inclusion in the Blues Master series, was alongside Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Howlin' Wolf, Snooky Pryor, and George "Harmonica" Smith.

The City of Gadsden honored McCain by including his own day at their annual Riverfest Event;[4] a four-day music event. The addition of The Jerry McCain Broad Street Blues Bash rounded out the entertainment and allowed many local citizens to experience McCain. A commemorative CD, featuring some of McCain's music, was compiled for sale at the 1997 Riverfest Event. In 1996, McCain was selected by the Etowah Youth Orchestras as the most well-known musician from Gadsden. The EYO commissioned the composer Julius Williams to write a work for solo harmonica and orchestra, to be performed by McCain and the Etowah Youth Symphony Orchestra, as a part of the City of Gadsden's Sesquicentennial Celebration. "Concerto for Blues Harmonica and Orchestra" was premiered in November 1996, on the EYO's Fall Formal Concert at Wallace Hall, on the campus of Gadsden State Community College. McCain performed the solo harmonica part with the EYSO, under the direction of Michael R. Gagliardo. The "Concerto" was subsequently performed in Alice Tully Hall, at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City in June 1997, with McCain, the EYSO, and Julius Williams conducting.



  • 1973 : Jerry McCain (Romulus R-108)
  • 1978 : Living Legend (Zeus S-1021)
  • 1979 : Blues on the Move Robox EQL-1912)
  • 1979 : Choo Choo Rock (White Label WLP 9966) Demo recordings for Excello Records 1955-1957
  • 1980 : Black & Blues (Gas Company GAS 1001) reissued as Black Blues Is Back 1989 (GAS 1001)
  • 1981 : Southern Harp, Cadillac & The Blues (P-Vine PLP-715) Japan
  • 1986 : Bad Blues Is My Business (BAD 30001)
  • 1987 : Midnight Beat (Charly CRB 1148) UK
  • 1989 : Blues 'n' Stuff (Ichiban ICHCD 1047)
  • 1991 : Love Desperado (Ichiban ICHCD 9008)
  • 1991 : Rockin' Harmonica Blues Man with Kid Thomas (Wolf WBJ 018)
  • 1992 : Struttin' My Stuff (Ichiban/Wild Dog ICH-9020-CD)
  • 1993 : Jerry 'Boogie' McCain and Others - Strange Kind of Feelin' (Alligator) 1950s recordings
  • 1993 : I've Got The Blues All Over Me (Ichiban/Wild Dog ICH-9106-2)
  • 1995 : That's What They Want: The Best Of (AVI/Excello CD 3009)
  • 1996 : Turn Your Damper Down (Black & Allright LP001)
  • 1997 : Rock'n'Roll Ball (Atomic Bomb LP 701)
  • 1997 : Broad Street Blues Bash (Riverfest CD001)
  • 1998 : The Jig's Up: Complete 50's Recordings (JMC CD2111)
  • 1998 : Retrospectives (Ichiban ICH 1516-2)
  • 1999 : This Stuff Just Kills Me (Music Maker) with John Primer.
  • 1999 : Good Stuff! (Varèse Sarabande VSD-6022)
  • 2000 : Somebody's Been Talking: The Complete Jewel Singles 1965-72 (Westside WESM 625)
  • 2000 : Soul Shag (Sterling 20702) UK
  • 2000 : This Stuff Just Kills Me (Jericho/Cello 90005-2)
  • 2000 : Southern Harp Attack with Frank Frost (P-Vine PCD-24047) Japan
  • 2001 : Unplugged (Music Maker JM 200)
  • 2001 : Absolutely The Best:Complete Jewel Singles 1965-1972 (Varèse Sarabande/Fuel2000 302061098-2)
  • 2002 : American Roots: Blues (Ichiban CD 1018)
  • 2003 : Boogie Is My Name (Music Maker MMCD 34)
  • 2008 : Better Late Than Never – The Greatest Hits 2 CD (Boogie Down Records 2008)



Year A-Side B-Side Artist Record Label
1953 "East of the Sun" "Wine-O-Wine" Jerry McCain & His Orchestra Trumpet 217
1953 "Ooh Wee Baby" "Feel Just Like I'm in Love" Jerry "Boogie" McCain Trumpet 218
1954 "Stay Out of Automobiles" "Love to Make Up" Jerry "Boogie" McCain Trumpet 231
1954 "Crazy 'Bout that Mess" "Fall Guy" Jerry McCain Trumpet 232
1955 "That's What They Want" "Courtin' in a Cadillac" Jerry McCain & His Upstarts Excello 2068
1956 "If It Wasn't for My Baby" "You Don't Love Me No More" Jerry McCain & His Upstarts Excello 2079
1956 "Run, Uncle John, Run" "Things Ain't Right" Jerry McCain & His Upstarts Excello 2081
1957 "My Next Door Neighbor" "Trying to Please" Jerry McCain & His Upstarts Excello 2103
1957 "Listen, Young Girls" "Bad Credit" Jerry McCain & His Upstarts Excello 2111
1957 "Groom without a Bride" "The Jig's Up" Jerry McCain & His Upstarts Excello 2127
1960 "She's Tough" "Steady" Jerry McCain Rex 1014
1962 "Red Top" "Twist '62" Jerry McCain Okeh 7150
1962 "Run Back Home" "Jet Stream" Jerry McCain & His Harmonica Okeh 7157
1962 "Popcorn" "Jet Stream" Jerry McCain Okeh 7158
1963 "Turn the Lights on Popeye" "Hop Stroll" Jerry McCain Okeh 7170
1965 "Courtin' in a Cadillac" "Courtin' in a Cadillac" Jerry McCain & Blues Rockers Excello 2268
1965 "Here's Where You Get It" "Pokey" Jerry McCain Rik's 153-65
1965 "Love Me Right" "Ting-Tang-Tigalu" Jerry McCain Continental C-777-1/2
1965 "Shimmy Shimmy Sham" "Pussycat A Go Go" The Shindigs feat. Jerry McCain Esco Prod. 100
1965 "Edna" "She's Righteous" Jerry McCain Esco Prod. 101
1965 "728 Texas" "Homogenized Love" Jerry McCain Jewel 753
1966 "Honky Tonk" "Sugar Baby" Jerry McCain Jewel 761
1966 "Love Ain't Nothing to Play With" "She's Crazy 'bout Entertainers" Jerry McCain Jewel 773
1967 "Juicy Lucy" "Put it Where I Can Get It" Jerry McCain Jewel 790
1969 "Homogenized Love" "728 Texas" Jerry McCain Python PKM 02
1970 "Welfare Cadillac Blues" "Funky Down Easy" Jerry McCain Royal American RA-4
1970 "The Cockfight" "I'm in Trouble" Jerry McCain Royal American RA-14
1972 "Somebody's Been Talking" "Soul Spasm" Jerry McCain Jewel 828
1973 "Rainin' in My Heart" "King Bee" Jerry McCain Romulus R-1001
1973 "The Woodpecker Song" "Hot Nuts" Jerry McCain Romulus R-1004
1977 "Steady" "She's Tough" Jerry McCain GAS 1101
1977 "Ruff Stuff" "What About You" Jerry McCain GAS 1102
1979 "Blues on the Move" "Cost of Living" Jerry McCain Robox EQ 1904
1980 "Love Whip" "If I'm Your Fool" Jerry McCain GAS 106
1984 "Hot Nuts" "The Woodpecker Song" Jerry McCain Merit M45-2508
1985 "Long Tall Texan" "If I'm Your Fool" Jerry McCain Merit M45-2514
1986 "She Tore Me Up" "A Little Bit of Something" Jerry McCain BAD 1001
1986 "53 Year Old Man" "Your Place or Mine" Jerry McCain BAD 1002
1989 "She's Tough" "Soul Shag" Jerry McCain Heart HR 1961
1990 "Trying to Please" "My Next Door Neighbor" Jerry McCain & His Upstarts Delta 6 (promo)
1991 "Burn the Crackhouse Down" "Blues Tribute" Jerry McCain Ichiban 92-242
1992 "Vote" "Strut My Stuff" Jerry McCain Ichiban 92-264
1994 "Tumblin' in the Sea" "Teddy Bear" Jerry McCain Ichiban 94-295
2001 "Geronimo Rock & Roll" "Choo Choo Rock" Jerry McCain Norton 855
2001 "A Cutie Named Judy" "It Must Be Love" Jerry McCain Norton 856
2001 "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy" "Bell in my Heart" Jerry McCain Norton 857
2001 "My Next Door Neighbor" "Crying Like a Fool" Jerry McCain Norton 858
2001 "Rock'n'Roll Ball" "I Want Somebody to Love" Jerry McCain Norton 859


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Biography by Bill Dahl and Al Campbell". Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  2. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  3. ^ Carter, Kendra. "Legendary bluesman Jerry Boogie McCain dies". Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  4. ^ "Gadsden RiverFest homepage". Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  5. ^ " : Jerry McCain discography". Archived from the original on 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2015-11-03.

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