Thursday, 26 October 2017

Mississippi Fred McDowell: Sail On, Little Girl, Sail On

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  • Published on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 16:16
  • Written by Super User
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Total Length: 1:03:49

Germany Blues (Mississippi Fred McDowell) - 4.04 
John Henry (traditional) - 3:46
Red Cross Store (Leadbelly) - 4.19
Take Your Picture - 5.04
Goin' Down to Louisiana - 2:23
Sometime I Wonder - 5.35 
Sail On LIttle Girl (traditional) - 4.25 
Good Morning, Little School Girl (Mississippi Fred McDowell) - 5:13 


Mississippi Fred McDowell was actually born in 1904 rural Tennessee. After the early death of both of his parents, McDowell was a traveling street musician playing for tips, though he eventually settled in Como, Mississippi to make a living as a farmer. Influenced by Charley Patton and Son House, he developed a highly individualized way of playing slide guitar with a large repertoire of songs. McDowell remained undiscovered until lured into a studio by folk music archivist Alan Lomax in 1959. These recordings drew attention to the unassuming musician, who within a few years was recording frequently and talking part in blues and folk festivals both in the U.S. and Europe. Audiences were drawn to McDowell’s powerful yet unassuming performing style, while he appeared in several filmed blues documentaries. Among the musicians he influenced were R. L. Burnside (who was a neighbor) and Bonnie Raitt, who he taught to play slide guitar. Among those who recorded his compositions were The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Charlie Musselwhite, Rev. Gary Davis, James Cotton. Forced to quit performing after being diagnosed with cancer in 1971, Mississippi Fred McDowell died the following year, though leaving a formidable blues legacy. The songs from this 1965 session have an informal air, all acoustic blues with McDowell’s stirring vocals. His “Germany Blues” has a hypnotic air, with his foot tapping providing sporadic percussion. McDowell puts his own touch on the traditional favorite “John Henry” with his intricate guitar. His subtle shadings make his interpretation of Leadbelly’s “Red Cross Store” (sometimes identified as “Red Cross Store Blues”) something special, while chugging chords gradually build steam in his take of the traditional “Sail On Little Girl.” His wife Annie Mae joins him for the spiritual “Goin’ Down to the River,” creating the impression that they’re playing for a riverside baptism. Contrast it with his playful “Good Morning, Little School Girl,” highlighted by his powerful chords and biting individual notes as he makes his pitch for a girl’s heart.Fred McDowell-bottleneck guitar, vocals
Annie Mae McDowell-vocals (5)

 
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