“No Doubt About It”
Written by Steve Seskin and John Scott Sherrill
#1 (1 week)
March 19 – March 26, 1994
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
March 11, 1994
A Charley Pride protégé finally gets his breakthrough hit.
The Road to No. 1
Neal McCoy was exposed to a wide range of music growing up, and initially formed an R&B band before settling on country music as his permanent home. Winning a 1981 talent contest earned him an opening act slot for Charley Pride, who kept McCoy on the road with him through 1990. He had a few minor hits on independent label 16th Avenue Records in the late eighties, using the name Neal McGoy. Atlantic switched the G to a C and signed him to a recording contract.
He got off to a slow and steady start, with his 1990 album producing some minor chart hits and his 1992 album producing two top forty hits – “Where Forever Begins” and “Now I Pray For Rain.” Finally, with his third album, he broke through, taking the first single and title track to No. 1
The No. 1
The thing about Neal McCoy was he was this incredible live performer that was never paired in the studio with a producer that could capture his frenetic and charismatic stage presence.
What they were good at was capturing his ability with a midtempo ballad, and “No Doubt About It” is a good example of what he could do quite well. The song doesn’t require big money notes or an intense production. It’s just a simple love song expressing gratitude for a love that was clearly meant to be.
Sometimes you don’t need any more than that.
The Road From No. 1
McCoy’s biggest hit is up next.
“No Doubt About It” gets a B+.
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I have always wanted to like Neil McCoy more than I do. For starters, I am an insane Charley Pride fan, so his endorsement carried a ton of weight. K102 evening DJ and music director Wayne Elliott used to promote McCoy’s showmanship as being better and bigger than Garth Brooks. From the amount of attention Elliott gave him, I assume played the Twin Cities a lot.
Had he continued to mine this vein, I may have gotten there as a Neil McCoy fan and ponied up to actually go see his live show. He certainly rides the rolling lyrics here smoothly enough and sounds confident doing it.
I just know what is coming next from him.
26 years later this song would get slightly rewritten and released by Luke Combs under the revised title “Better Together”.
I came SO CLOSE to making the same observation in my writeup. Dead on comparison!
Between the beginning of the Tony Brown era of George Strait, the growing popularity of upbeat, dance friendly novelty songs, and the success of John Michael Montgomery’s “I Swear,” another thing that always signaled the beginning of the “Mid 90’s” era of country for me was the arrival of Neal McCoy as a successful hit maker. With him having success with smooth contemporary leaning ballads like this and rocked up dance friendly ditties, he was pretty much the epitome of the typical mid 90’s “hat act.” While some of the uptempos haven’t aged quite as well for me, I still find a lot of his ballads and more serious songs still enjoyable today, including this one.
As already mentioned, it’s a simple love song that has a timeless charm to it, and it’s the kind of ballad that suits Neal’s smooth vocals very well. I also just really love the overall sound of it, especially the low guitar notes and great steel guitar licks from Paul Franklin. Besides “I Swear,” I also consider this to be one of the first of the slightly more contemporary leaning ballads that we’d hear a lot more from most male artists not named George Strait or Alan Jackson in the next few years of the decade. Also, not only does the sound of the record scream “Mid 90’s Country” to me, but since I didn’t hear this song until I got back into listening to country radio seriously in 1995 and 1996, this song always personally takes me back to that time period, and brings back really good memories, as well.
I’ve always really loved the music video for this particular song, as well, especially the shots of the beautiful mountain scenery in the background. It really fits the overall feel of the song. I eventually found out that it was shot in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It sure makes me want to visit that area! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIiwWcC2kGg
I actually like quite a bit of Neal’s music prior to this, especially his second album, 1992’s Where Forever Begins, which is another pretty good neo-traditional flavored record from the early 90’s, imo. It’s too bad he didn’t have more success with it. I especially love the title track, “The Wall,” “Palm Of My Hand,” and “Where Do Daddies Go” from that album.
I hadn’t listened to this song in a while, and I like it a lot more than I thought I would. The steel guitar playing throughout is really nice and the more subdued production works really well. It’s nothing fancy, but really pleasant and more country sounding than a lot of its fellow ballads.