The McCoys - Human Ball

The McCoys – Human Ball


The McCoys are the brothers Rick and Randy Zehringer. Rick is better known in the industry as Rick Derringer, while 1969’s ‘Human Ball’ would be their swansong.

Written by: Eric

ARTIST: The McCoys
ALBUM: Human Ball
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: SR-61207
YEAR: 1969
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Rick Zehringer – guitar, organ * Randy Zehringer – drums, percussion * Robert Peterson – piano, organ, percussion * Randy Hobbs – bass, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Human Ball Blues * 02 Only Human * 03 Epilogue * 04 All Over You * 05 Daybreak * 06 It Really Doesn’t Matter * 07 Love Don’t Stop * 08 Clergy Lies * 09 Stormy Monday Blues

The McCoys Background

When I first began wrapping my young toe-head around the concept of pop music, 1965’s ‘Hang On Sloopy’ was in the mix. But I swear for many years, I thought it was it was a Beach Boys song!

Of course while musically different I was confusing the title ‘Sloop John B’ with The McCoys bubblegum smash. But whatever, both tunes were great pop although the subject of this review was far less successful.

The McCoys first formed in the off-the-beaten-track town of Union City, Indiana in 1962 by the brothers Rick and Randy Zehringer. Initially known as Rick And The Raiders, the band struggled until meeting all the right people.

They soon struck solid gold with ‘Hang On Sloopy’, a major hit that would soon become an albatross around the band’s necks. Further singles failed to chart significantly and change was in the air.

Signing to Mercury Records, Rick Zehringer took over in a big way. He produced two albums for the label. 1968’s ‘Infinite McCoys’ and what would become the groups swansong, 1969’s ‘Human Ball’.

The Songs

Both albums reflect the open-minded experimentation of the times with a mixture of blues-rock and psychedelic pop. This was spearheaded by Rick Zehringer’s firebrand guitar workouts. Unfortunately, The McCoys moniker still conjured up images of contrived pop and Mercury did very little to promote the LP’s.

This was a shame as the band had matured considerably, appearing on stages with some of the biggest names of the day. These included Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Country Joe And The Fish, Procol Harum and others.

Of the two albums, I’m of the opinion ‘Human Ball’ is the stronger effort. This album is book-ended with straightforward blues cuts ‘Human Ball Blues’ and a cover of T.Bone Walker‘s ‘Stormy Monday Blues’. However its the remaining tracks that hold the most interest. ‘Only Human’ takes a successful stab at Buffalo Springfield‘s country rock sound while ‘Epilogue’ has a loungey Burt Bacharach vibe.

The record’s high points and I mean that literally are ‘It Really Doesn’t Matter’ with its swirling intro and outro, Doors-ish organ. It contains some trippy but melodic vocals and killer guitar soloing from Rick. Add to that The Beatles influenced ‘Clergy Lies’ which hints at ‘I Am The Walrus’. It closes with the sound of a flushing toilet. Heady Stuff!

In Summary

By the end of 1969, The McCoys set free of their contract from Mercury called themselves Transition for one gig. From there they hooked up with the legendary Johnny Winter as the great white one’s backing band.

Anxious and willing to strike out on his own, Zehringer smartly changed his name to Rick Derringer. Once done, Rick was hoochie-kooing all the way to the bank. All thanks to a plethora of good hard rock albums throughout the 1970’s and early 80’s.

The McCoy’s on Video

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