McCall (born Maurice Dollison Jr., January 28, 1941, New Madrid,
Missouri) is an American electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He
is best known for his 1966 R&B hit, 'When You Wake Up'. McCall's long career
has seen him evolve in musical styles from gospel to soul to the blues. He
is not to be confused with the 1960 film of the same name.
Cash joined the United States Army, and then settled in Chicago where he had
lived for a period as a child. In 1964, he played guitar and sang, alongside
Otis Clay, with the Gospel Songbirds, who
recorded for Excello Records. Cash later joined another gospel singing
ensemble, the Pilgrim Jubilee Singers.
Billed under his birth name, his debut solo single release was 'Earth Worm'
(1963). Three years later he co-wrote 'When You Wake Up' with the record
producer, Monk Higgins. His initial soul styled demo was issued by Thomas
Records, who chose to call him Cash McCall. The song reached #19 on the US
Billboard R&B chart. This led to McCall touring with Lou Christie and Mitch
Ryder in Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars. However, subsequent releases for
both the Thomas and Checker labels failed to chart. These included the song,
'It's Wonderful To Be In Love'. In 1967, McCall co-wrote 'That's How It Is
(When You're in Love)', a Top 30 R&B hit for Otis Clay.
Under the tutelage of Willie Dixon, McCall
went on to become a session musician and songwriter for Chess Records. In
the late 1960s, McCall, along with Jimmy Dawkins and Johnny Twist, played
guitar on some of George 'Wild Child' Butler's
McCall gravitated towards the blues in the 1970s. He issued Omega Man (1973)
before relocating to Los Angeles in 1976 and, by 1983, McCall had released
No More Doggin'. In 1985, McCall and his band, appeared at the Long Beach
Blues Festival. In 1987, Stony Plain Records released the album, Cash Up
Front. The collection included notables such as Nathan East and Welton Gite
(bass); Chuck Findley (flugelhorn, trumpet); Hank Cicalo (sound engineer)
and Bernie Grundman (mastering); Les McCann and Richard Tee (piano); plus
Phil Upchurch (rhythm guitar).
McCall co-produced Willie Dixon's Grammy Award clinching Hidden Charms
(1988), and played in Dixon's All-Stars band. Since then he has toured as a
solo artist, and appeared with the Chicago Rhythm and Blues Kings for whom
he has written several tracks. He has also provided backing to the singer
known as Big Twist, and performed in the Chicago Blues Review. McCall's
songs have been recorded by The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Mighty Reapers,
Margie Evans, Tyrone Davis and Mitty Collier.
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