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July 1st, 2008

Mississippi Fred McDowell

When Mississippi Fred McDowell first started learning to play at age fourteen, he had no bottleneck slide to imitate the blues pickers of the day. So, he ripped a bone from the dead carcass of a steer and slid it over his finger to start teaching himself.  It is hard to believe he wasn’t recorded until folklorist Alan Lomax discovered him in 1959 and recorded him as a part of the American folk music series on Atlantic.

“I made up a lot of the songs I sing. It’s like you hear a record or something or other. Well, you pick out some words out of that record that you like. You sing that and add something else onto it. It’s just like if you’re going to pray, and mean it, things will be in your mind. As fast as you get one word out, something else will come in there. Songs should tell the truth… When I play– if you pay attention, what I sing the guitar sings, too. And what the guitar say, I say.

[download] “Louise” + “I Heard Somebody Call



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