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Mississippi Fred McDowell
Mississippi Fred McDowell

An Authentic Blues Experience in the Wilderness of Fayette County

If you travel due north from Holly Springs in Marshall County, Mississippi, you will come to Fayette County, Tennessee, a rather similar county in many …

Celebrating The Legacy of Como, Mississippi Como, Mississippi is an historic town …

Album Review: Mississippi Fred McDowell “Come And Found You Gone”

Mississippi Fred McDowell, of course, is a legend. He was one of the first country bluesmen to be rediscovered and recorded by scholars, and toward the end of his life toured across the country and overseas. Although he would claim “I don’t play no rock-and-roll music”, songs he performed like “Get Right Church” were covered by the Rolling Stones, and he guest appeared on an album with Don Nix. So for the fan of Mississippi traditional blues, the first commercial issue of these field recordings made by the eminent blues scholar Bill Ferris is a welcome discovery. McDowell’s home community of Como is stuck just where the hill country meets the Delta, and likewise, McDowell’s blues style seems to cross-breed the hill country and Delta styles. There are familiar standards here, of course, like “John Henry” and “Little Red Rooster”, but also unusual original compositions like “Dream I Went to the U.N.” where the lyrics say he went to “set the nation right.” There are also gospel tunes, including “Get Right Church”, “I Got Religion”, “You Gonna Meet King Jesus” and McDowell’s take on “Where Could I Go?” a tune that springs from the white country gospel tradition. On various tunes, McDowell is joined by his wife Annie Mae, and his friend Napoleon Strickland on harmonica. On the final track is an excerpt of an interview with Bill Ferris regarding these recordings. Extensive liner notes and photos increase the value of this lovingly-conceived issue of recordings that resurrect a voice from the grave. To listen to “Come and Found You Gone” is almost like spending an afternoon with Mississippi Fred McDowell on his front porch.

Pursuing the Hill Country Blues Tradition in Como

Perhaps no town is as much a part of the Hill Country Blues tradition as the small town of Como, Mississippi in Panola County. It was the hometown of Mississippi Fred McDowell, and of Otha Turner, whose Rising Star Fife and Drum Band may be last band of its kind in America. Today, it is home to great restaurants like the Como Steak House and the Windy City Grill, the Como Inn bed-and-breakfast, and Jimbo Mathus’ Delta Recording Service, where great music is still being recorded. It’s also worth noting that at some point, Tallulah Bankhead briefly lived there!