Like many bluesmen, Mississippi Fred McDowell was as familiar with spirituals and gospel music as he was with the deep blues. It wasn’t unusual for bluesmen to play the gutbucket music on Saturday night and the sanctified music on Sunday morning. This collection finds the great guitarist and singer playing several selections of blues accompanied by only his percussive slide guitar playing before his wife joins him for a short set of traditional spirituals. The blues tracks cover the depth of life in the south in the 1950’s and 60’s with topics like running afoul with the law on “I’m in Jail Again” and some juke joint blues on “Diving Duck Blues” and “Big Road Blues.” Fred’s guitar is extraordinary - slashing out the riveting slide playing that made him a legend. His wife Annie Mae joins him to help sing classic spirituals like “Amazing Grace” and the effect is quite good. Annie Mae really feels these songs and sings them with great enthusiasm. They also have a kicking version of the ancient standard “When the Saints Go Marching In.” This was a very good album that showed the different facets of Fred McDowell’s music and the ways in which he used his unique talents for guitar playing and singing to create potent and powerful music whatever the genre.
My Home Is in the Delta - amazon.com
Send comments to Tim.
JASS - self titled (Yolk Records, 2014) *****
4 hours ago