Darrell McCall - A living Country Music legend
Darrell McCall actually began his recording career as a member of the Little Dippers in 1960. Darrell broke away from the group the following year, and by 1963 his sound had evolved into pure country. He sang both traditional country and honky tonk during the '60s, but eventually became devoted to the dance hall country that has remained popular for decades.
Born in and raised in New Jasper, OH, Darrell began his musical career by landing a slot as a Saturday morning DJ on a local radio station when he was 15 years old. Around the same time, he was playing local dances and events as a musician. Following his high school graduation, he joined the Army, where he was stationed in Kentucky. After his tour of duty was completed, he and his childhood friend Johnny Paychech moved to Nashville in 1958. Darrell and Johnny attempted to record as a duo, but they were unsuccessful. Eventually, Darrell became a studio harmony vocalist, singing on records by Faron Young, George Jones, and Ray Price among others. In a short time, the studio work metamorphosed into road work, as he played bass and sang harmony for several different touring bands, including those of Young, Price, and Hank Williams Jr.
During a recording session in 1959, Darrell met Buddy Killen, a famous Nashville producer and publisher. Impressed with Darrell's abilities, Killen asked him to join a group he was assembling called the Little Dippers, which also featured Hurshel Wigintin, Delores Dinning, and Emily Gilmore. Darrell agreed, and the Little Dippers had one major pop hit, the Top Ten single "Forever," in 1960. The following year, he signed a solo contract with Capitol. During 1961, he released two pop singles for the label, "My Kind of Lovin'" and "Call the Zoo".
Darrell returned to country in 1962 and signed a contract with Phillips. In January of 1963, "A Stranger Was Here," his first -- and, as it would turn out, his biggest -- country hit, appeared. Peaking at number 17 on the charts, the single spent eight weeks on the charts and seemed to be a positive beginning to his country career. He also sang the theme to the Paul Newman film Hud that same year.
In 1965, Darrell appeared in the film Nashville Rebel, and the following year, he was in Road to Nashville and What Am I Bid. He didn't return to recording until 1968, when he joined the roster of the independent label Wayside Records. Over the next two years, he had four hits for the label -- "I'd Love to Live With You Again," "Wall of Pictures," "Hurry Up," "The Arms of My Weakness" -- and released one album, 1970's Meet Darrell McCall, which was distributed by Mercury. The contract with Wayside expired in 1971, and Darrell didn't immediately sign another recording contract. However, Hank Williams, Jr. took Darrell's "Eleven Roses" (which he co-wrote with Lamar Morris) to number one, which led to Tree International signing him as a professional songwriter.
Darrell reactivated his recording career in 1974, when he signed with Atlantic. His debut single for the label, "There's Still a Lot of Love in San Antone," nearly reached the country Top 50 that year. In 1975, he left Atlantic for Columbia, where he had his greatest period of chart success since the early '60s. His first single for the label was "Pins and Needles (In My Heart)." His second single, "Lily Dale," was a duet with Willie Nelson that cracked the country Top 40. Darrell's new success was partially due to the popularity of outlaw country, and how he neatly fit into its rough and ready musical style.
"Lily Dale" was named Best Duet of 1977 by Cash Box magazine, and it was followed by "Dreams of a Dreamer," Darrell's first solo Top 40 hit since 1963. Darrell followed that with his singles "Down the Roads of Daddy's Dreams" and "The Weeds Outlived the Roses."
In 1980, he signed with Hillside Records, where he recorded a duet on "San Antonio Medley" with Curtis Potter. He switched labels to RCA, where he reached the charts with the single "Long Line of Empties." Darrell recorded only sporadically, most notably as the uncredited "friend" on Connie Hanson and Friend's 1982 hit, "There's Still a Lot of Love in San Antone." Two years later, he charted "Memphis in May," which was released on Indigo Records. In 1986, McCall cut two albums: a record with his old backing group the Tennessee Volunteers called Reunion (released on BGM) and Hot Texas Country, a duet record with Johnny Bush.
Darrell signed with Artap Records and released three successful projects in the 1990's. Two singles did well with traditional country music fans including "Set Me Down Where Country Music Plays".
In 2005, he joined Heart of Texas Records. His first full length album in over five years was released to rave reviews. "Old Memories and Wine" was the first time that Darrell was actually allowed to pick all the material and the musicians for an album. Darrell's daughter Guyanne wrote the title track and his son Cody did all the harmony work. Mona McCall, Darrell's wife, contributed two songs to the project "The French Song" and "The Deepening Snow."
"I am so happy with 'Old Memories and Wine' and singing with Heart of Texas Records," Darrell said. "Justin Trevino is a fine producer and knows how to get the sound that I need and want. I am having so much fun now working the road and getting to see those fans all over the country. This is the only life that I know and I appreciate the opportunity to make a living doing what I love to do."
Currently Darrell and his wife Mona live on a farm about an hour away from Nashville. They talk about returning to Texas sometime in the future. His work finds him driving to the Lone Star State nearly every weekend. He is still in high demand for personal appearances. Darrell is making his dreams come true every single day.
Information courtesy of The Official Darrell McCall web site.
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