McCoy Tyner The Real McCoy (1967) Liberty Blue Note

Selection 1: Search for Peace (Tyner)

.  .  .

Beautiful tune, tranquil and perfectly paced, Tyner does what he does best –  an exploration of the strong melody for its rhythmic and harmonic potential, punctuated with cascading rippling arpeggios; on cue, Henderson floats in, flying, darting, only to subside as peace is restored. A simple but satisfying musical narrative: ultimately, we all need Peace.

UPDATE: Tyner found peace, finally, in March 2020

 Selection 2: Blues on the Corner (Tyner)

.  .  .

A strutting bluesy swinger from Tyner, Elvin Jones  punishing those cymbals, they must have been very very naughty. A good track for when you have just about had it with all that limp-wristed Peace stuff, and need something a little more… aggressive.


Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone;  McCoy Tyner, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Elvin Jones, drums;recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, April 21, 1967

Tyner first appeared on the scene in 1960 with the Golson/ Farmer Jazztet, moving to the John Coltrane Quartet for most of the early sixties up to 1965, when Coltrane  was becoming more atonal and free. Tyner is said to have been unhappy about that change in direction: “I didn’t see myself making any contribution to that music… All I could hear was a lot of noise. I didn’t have any feeling for the music, and when I don’t have feelings, I don’t play.” (So, I guess that is him and me both)

Tyner released six of his own titles whilst under contract to Impulse up to 1964 , and after leaving Coltrane, recorded for Blue Note with many bop greats in their second wind, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Stanley Turrentine, Lou Donaldson and Bobby Hutcherson. In 1967, he recorded this, his first title for Liberty/ Blue Note, The Real McCoy, followed by a string of albums: Tender Moments, Time for Tyner, Expansions, Extensions,  and Cosmos, you can tell by the meditative album titles where this was heading: Enlightenment.

Full Circle: Fast forward to the summer of 2005, when a press release announces Tyner joins forces with the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York and becomes the first client of Blue Note Management, forming his own record label McCoy Tyner Music. The label is a subsidiary of the Blue Note’s In-House record label, Half Note Records.

With concert dates booked through to  Spring 2013, Tyner stands out as the only surviving member of the John Coltrane Quartet still standing and still playing.


Arguably Tyner’s best recording, The Real McCoy stands out as a blue-blooded Blue Note with three veritable legends on side, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and Elvin Jones, caught merely by an accident of history on the wrong side of the line after the sale of Blue Note to Liberty Records. This is a Blue Note in everything but the Liberty label, but less savvy dealers label it as a Liberty second citizen, priced accordingly.

For the jazz pianist

According to his Wiki: Tyner’s playing can be distinguished by a low bass left hand, in which he tends to raise his arm relatively high above the keyboard for an emphatic attack; the fact that Tyner is left-handed may contribute to this distinctively powerful style. Tyner’s unique right-hand soloing is recognizable for a detached, or staccato, quality. His melodic vocabulary is rich, ranging from raw blues to complexly superimposed pentatonic scales; his unique approach to chord voicing, most characteristically by fourths, has influenced a wide array of contemporary jazz pianists.

In a word from my more limited musical vocabulary, Great!

Vinyl: BST 84264

First released by Liberty on Division of Liberty labels, VAN GELDER stamp, Stereo label printed by Keystone,  central  ring pressing die indentation, which I believe indicates a pressing by Southern Plastics, Nashville, mere speculation.

Liberty supported pressing-close-to-market, hence its East Coast and West Coast pressing plant acquisitions. I reckon around 10% of my Liberty pressings  have this ring. These are always Keystone labels and mostly Van Gelder metal i.e. the plant concerned had merely to provide Liberty with additional pressing capacity, and a central location could ship in any direction.

Cover address still showing 43 West 61st NY,


4264-McCoy-Tyner-The-Real-McCoy-back-1600Collectors Corner

Source: A couple of years back, turned up out of the blue in a second-hand record store, very modestly price accorded by its Liberty status.

As sometimes happens, I discovered I have several Tyner albums tucked away on the shelves, unplayed for several years, perhaps not ready to appreciate them until now. That’s a little bonus from writing. I am on notice to take a second look at where Tyner went from here.


24 thoughts on “McCoy Tyner The Real McCoy (1967) Liberty Blue Note

  1. hi LJC and friends, is there any difference in cover between the 1st liberty stereo and the black note/blue label pressing please? saw a copy for sale online but sadly only the front and rear cover is shown. ill try to paste the link here. checked out discogs and the covers for the liberty and black note/blue label look identical. – front -rear
    thank you and happy weekend


    • hope to hear from anyone regarding this. thanks. p.s. please ignore prev msg about the rvg stamping. didn’t see your disc closeup shots yesterday 🙂


      • As noted, my Division of Liberty copy has VAN GELDER stamps. The labels are Keystone, and the “sixpenny pressing ring” is not All Disc, I think Southern Plastics, though that is merely an educated guess, There may well be a West Coast pressing Bert-Co labels without VAN GELDER, but new Liberty BN titles were generally Van Gelder metal for both East Coast and West Coast pressings.

        The back covers are generally the same small logo Blue Note/ A Product of Liberty Records, as the same Liberty marketing identity was used by both Liberty and United Artists, as best I recall.

        UA blue label issues are sometimes from Van Gelder metal where one existed , but many of the blue label reissues were more commonly remastered by UA engineers, thought from original Van Gelder tapes, and sound pretty good for all that. What Rudy Did didn’t take too much effort to recapture.

        A good blue label UA is generally preferable to reissues from our friends in Tokyo.


        • thanks for your kind reply LJC, yes sadly the covers look the same. sadly the seller cant show photos of the label itself; that will make things so much easier but he said its not possible. checked on discogs. issues till the late 70s all bear the same front and rear covers


  2. Pingback: McCoy Tyner – The Real McCoy « RVJ PREMIUM

  3. Just began reviewing some of Tyner’s earlier work. Funny because originally he sounded a lot like Guaraldi with a really delicate left hand presence. A few years later his heavy left hand was making him famous. Real McCoy was his first album after the break from Coltrane and it shows. I gotta pick this up soon!


  4. I recently picked up two Thelonious Monk LPs on Esquire in pristine condition — Work (Esquire 32-115) and Monk’s Moods (Esquire 32-119). The previous owner discarded their original inner sleeves for recent poly lined ones. As the LPs are in near perfect shape I’d like to marry them back together with their original first edition inners. Do you know what style of inner these LPs would have originally come with?
    I’m also interested in finding their UK release date. My guess is sometime around 1959 but I see some people online saying as late as 1961. The catalogue numbers seem to indicate that they were issued within a few months of each other.
    Any help with both these questions would be much appreciated.


    • Date of release? Interesting question, with around 35 Esquires in my collection I should be able to answer those questions but I am not sure I can. Many of the inner sleeves are unreliable as potentially replaced at some point, but I have a couple which came in a simple clear polythene bag, record-shaped at one end, and a flap folding over around an inch at the other. I have seen this several times and it is so horrid it might be the original which every one throws out.

      Funnily enough I just acquired a copy of Monk’s Work! on Esquire myself. The inner sleeve is polythene lined paper, brown with age, and printed with advice about microgroove record care. Could be an original too. There certainly was no “Esquire” branded inner sleeve, of that I am certain.

      As for what was released exactly when, I would like to know this for the Prestige originals as well, but I have never found a credible source, perhaps someone else has. I’ll get back after a play with my database.


  5. I posted this question on the Blue Note deep groove page, but got no answer, so here I try again.

    If there is deep groove and there is the ‘sixpence’ indentation, how do you call the indentation that is of the same size as the deep groove, but misses the groove?


    • Hi Christian sorry I didnt pick up on your question first time around. I dont know if there is any official term for what you describe, but in circumstance where a vintage record may present either with a Deep Groove or without a Deep Groove, (a simple shallow step in vinyl level close to the outer rim of the label) I refer to it just as “no DG”.
      As best I understand it, a metal circular die keeps the stamper centre in position during pressing. This leaves an impression in the label area, where and how deep being determined by the design of the die.The Capitol “sixpence” and the Deep Groove are just some of the many variations,
      Don’t know if that answers your question but its as much as I know. Anyone has a better story please chip in.


  6. “Finally, in 1967, he makes his first title as a leader…….”. I object. McCoy cut already sessions under his own name for Impulse during his stint with JC. At least four, of which three trio albums. The one with Roy Haynes is my favourite.


    • Absolutely correct, Rudolf. I have the Impulse with Haynes myself – Reaching Fourth (1963) – and it is excellent. I was mistakenly looking at just his Blue Note recording history, shame on me. Now fixed to include mention of his Impulse titles.Thanks, always happy to be corrected.


  7. I had a Liberty pressing with no vangelder stamp and I couldn’t stand it. The high treble was awful, too thin. I have a King pressing that’s alittle better.


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