In the early 1960s, jazz critic and record producer Rudi Blesh suggested the teenaged Cather search for any last survivals of Birmingham's once significant boogie-woogie piano tradition. Cather's quest led, through bandleader and educator Frank Adams, to an extraordinary player named Robert McCoy. A close friendship and unique collaborative partnership followed.
In 1962, McCoy joined Cather in a downtown Birmingham studio to record a solo, long-playing album, Barrel House Blues and Jook Piano, which Cather released on his new Vulkan label. A second album, Blues and Boogie Classics, followed in 1963.
Through the Vulkan imprint Soul-O, Cather would release two additional singles by Robert McCoy and his Five Sins, a R&B combo directed by Adams.
The Southern Music Research Center archive includes a number of outtakes and other previously unreleased recordings Cather made with McCoy in the 1960s. Visitors can stream them all in the playlist below, or select an individual track at this link.
Also included in the archive is the following excerpt of a 1960s radio broadcast, which Cather taped off his radio at home. Here, McCoy joins Benny Smith and his Houserockers for a live, in-studio performance on Birmingham station WJLD.