Saturday, February 9, 2013
Mississippi Fred McDowell
"I shall never forget", wrote Shirley Collins," the first sight I had of Fred in his dungarees, carrying his guitar and walking out of the woods toward us in a Mississippi night." Collins traveling companion and recording genius Alan Lomax recorded McDowell over four nights in 1959. Night time, because during the day McDowell was picking cotton. As Tom Piazza describes the bluesmaker in his book The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax ~ McDowell was "a sharecropper who sang and played slide guitar in juke joints and at dances, he embodied a legacy of black work songs and field hollers. When he performed his "61 Highway Blues" for Lomax, the folklorist wrote a single word beside the entry in his field log: "Perfect."