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The Alan Lomax Recordings
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These recordings capture the essence of Fred McDowell before his widespread recognition, before he became associated with Mississippi blues and before renowned artists like the Rolling Stones covered his work. Predating folk festivals and blues clubs, these recordings showcase the music McDowell played on his porch, at informal gatherings, and in juke joints, often with friends and family and occasionally for remuneration but always for the joy of it.
Remastered from 24-bit digital transfers of Alan Lomax’s original tapes, and meticulously annotated by Arhoolie Records’ Adam Machado and the Alan Lomax Archive’s Nathan Salsburg, these recordings provide a glimpse into the captivating artistry of Fred McDowell.
In the autumn of 1959, in Como, Mississippi, McDowell, a farmer, emerged from the woods and joined his neighbour Lonnie Young on the front porch. Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins, recording the Young brothers’ fife and drum ensemble and the country dance music of the Pratcher brothers, had no expectations as they began recording this unassuming man in overalls. Little did they know that Fred McDowell would soon achieve international acclaim as one of the most distinctive, talented, and emotionally resonant country blues musicians ever documented.
A1 Shake 'Em On Down
A2 Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
A3 Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
A4 Fred McDowell's Blues
A5 Woke Up This Morning With My Mind On Jesus
A6 Drop Down Mama
B1 Going Down To The River
B2 Wished I Was In Heaven Sitting Down
B3 When The Train Comes Along
B4 When You Get Home Please Write Me A Few Of Your Lines
B5 Worried Mind Blues
B6 Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning (Instrumental Reprise)
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