It is taking longer than expected to fetch the next song to play. The music should be playing soon. If you get tired of waiting, you can try reloading your browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.

Please ensure you are using the latest Flash Player.


If you are unable or do not wish to upgrade your Flash Player,
please try a different browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.
Your Pandora Plus subscription will expire shortly.
More Info
No Thanks
Your Pandora Plus trial will expire shortly.
Restore
Close
close
Your Pandora Plus trial subscription will expire shortly. Upgrade to continue unlimited, ad-free listening.
Upgrade Now
You've listened to hours of Pandora this month. Consider upgrading to Pandora Plus.
More Info
No Thanks
Close
Hi . Pandora is using Facebook to personalize your experience. Learn MoreNo Thanks
 Upgrade  sign up   |   help   |  
-0:00
0:00
Change Skin

Free personalized radio that
plays the music you love

Now Playing
Music Feed
My Profile
Create a Station
People who also like this

Fred McDowell

When Mississippi Fred McDowell proclaimed on one of his last albums, "I do not play no rock & roll," it was less a boast by an aging musician swept aside by the big beat than a mere statement of fact. As a stylist and purveyor of the original Delta blues, he was superb, equal parts Charley Patton and Son House coming to the fore through his roughed-up vocals and slashing bottleneck style of guitar playing. McDowell knew he was the real deal, and while others were diluting and updating their sound to keep pace with the changing times and audiences, Mississippi Fred stood out from the rest of the pack simply by not changing his style one iota. Though he scorned the amplified rock sound with a passion matched by few country bluesmen, he certainly had no qualms about passing any of his musical secrets along to his young, white acolytes, prompting several of them -- including a young Bonnie Raitt -- to develop slide guitar techniques of their own. Although generally lumped in with other blues "rediscoveries" from the '60s, the most amazing thing about him was that this rich repository of Delta blues had never recorded in the '20s or early '30s, didn't get "discovered" until 1959, and didn't become a full-time professional musician until the mid-'60s.

He was born in 1904 in Rossville, TN, and was playing the guitar by the age of 14 with a slide hollowed out of a steer bone. His parents died when Fred was a youngster and the wandering life of a traveling musician soon took hold. The 1920s saw him playing for tips on the street around Memphis, TN, the hoboing life eventually setting him down in Como, MS, where he lived the rest of his life. There McDowell split his time between farming and keeping up with his music by playing weekends for various fish fries, picnics, and house parties in the immediate area. This pattern stayed largely unchanged for the next 30 years until he was discovered in 1959 by folklorist Alan Lomax. Lomax was the first to record this semi-professional bluesman, the results of which were released as part of an American folk music series on the Atlantic label. McDowell, for his part, was happy to have some sounds on records, but continued on with his farming and playing for tips outside of Stuckey's candy store in Como for spare change. It wasn't until Chris Strachwitz -- folk-blues enthusiast and owner of the fledgling Arhoolie label -- came searching for McDowell to record him that the bluesman's fortunes began to change dramatically.

Two albums, Fred McDowell, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, were released on Arhoolie in the mid-'60s, and the shock waves were felt throughout the folk-blues community. Here was a bluesman with a repertoire of uncommon depth, putting it over with great emotional force, and to top it all off, he had seemingly slipped through the cracks of late-'20s/early-'30s field recordings. No scratchy, highly prized 78s on Paramount or Vocalion to use as a yardstick to measure his current worth, no romantic stories about him disappearing into the Delta for decades at a time to become a professional gambler or a preacher. No, Mississippi Fred McDowell had been in his adopted home state, farming and playing all along, and the world coming to his doorstep seemed to ruffle him no more than the little boy down the street delivering the local newspaper.

The success of the Arhoolie recordings suddenly found McDowell very much in demand on the folk and festival circuit, where his quiet, good-natured performances left many a fan utterly spellbound. Working everything from the Newport Folk Festival to coffeehouse dates to becoming a member of the American Folk Blues Festival in Europe, McDowell suddenly had more listings in his résumé in a couple of years than he had in the previous three decades combined. He was also well documented on film, with appearances in The Blues Maker (1968), his own documentary Fred McDowell (1969), and Roots of American Music: Country and Urban Music (1970) among them. By the end of the decade, he was signed to do a one-off album for Capitol Records (the aforementioned I Do Not Play No Rock 'N' Roll) and his tunes were being mainstreamed into the blues-rock firmament by artists like Bonnie Raitt (who recorded several of his tunes, including notable versions of "Write Me a Few Lines" and "Kokomo") and the Rolling Stones, who included a very authentic version of his classic "You Got to Move" on their Sticky Fingers album. Unfortunately, this career largess didn't last much longer, as McDowell was diagnosed with cancer while performing dates into 1971. His playing days suddenly behind him, he lingered for a few months into July 1972, finally succumbing to the disease at age 68. And right to the end, the man remained true to his word; he didn't play any rock & roll, just the straight, natural blues. ~ Cub Koda, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Essential Blues Masters

1. Freight Train Blues

4. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning

5. Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl

6. What's The Matter Now

7. Been Drinkin' Water Out Of A Hollow Log

8. Soon One Mornin'

9. Worried Mind

10. You Done Tol' Everybody

11. Wished I Was In Heaven Sitting Down

12. Germany Blues

13. Fred Mcdowell's Blues

14. I Want Jesus To Walk With Me

15. 61 Highway Blues

16. When You Get Home, Write Me A Few Little Lines

17. Lord Have Mercy

18. Drop Down Mama

19. Woke Up This Morning With My Mind On Jesus

20. You Gonna Be Sorry

21. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning (Alternate Take)

22. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning (Instrumental)

x

Track List: Fred McDowell: The Alan Lomax Recordings

1. Shake 'Em On Down (Alan Lomax Recording)

2. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Alan Lomax Recording)

3. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning (Alan Lomax Recording)

4. Fred McDowell's Blues (Alan Lomax Recording)

5. Woke Up This Morning With My Mind On Jesus (Alan Lomax Recording)

6. Drop Down Mama (Alan Lomax Recording)

7. Going Down To The River (Alan Lomax Recording)

8. Wished I Was In Heaven Sitting Down (Alan Lomax Recording)

9. When The Train Comes Along (Alan Lomax Recording)

10. When You Get Home Please Write Me A Few Of Your Lines (Alan Lomax Recording)

11. Worried Mind Blues (Alan Lomax Recording)

12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning (Instrumental Reprise)

x

Track List: The Best Of Mississippi Fred Mcdowell

1. Write Me A Few Of Your Lines

2. Do My Baby Ever Think Of Me

3. Levee Camp Blues

4. When The Saints Go Marching In

5. My Bottleneck (Story)

6. Fred's Worried Life Blues

7. Kokomo Blues

8. Meet Me Down In Froggy Bottom

9. Good Morning Little School Girl

10. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning

11. Shake 'Em On Down

12. Going Away - Won't Be Gone Long

13. I Wish I Was In Heaven Sittin' Down

14. Fred's Rambling Blues

15. I Looked At The Sun

16. You Gotta Move

17. My Baby

18. Shake 'em On Down - With Intro/ Louise - With Comments

x

Track List: Levee Camp Blues

1. Levee Camp Blues

2. Let Me Lay Down In Your Cool Iron Bed

3. My Baby Don't Treat Me Like Human Kind

4. My Baby Has Eyes Like An Eagle (Take 2)

5. Jim Steam Killed Lula

6. Pea Vine Special

7. Dark Clouds A-Rising

8. My Baby Has Eyes Like An Eagle (Take 1)

9. Will Me Your Gold Watch And Chain

10. Won't Be Worried Long

11. Down On Dankin's Farm

12. Bye And Bye, Goin' To See The King

13. Goin Over The Hill

14. When I Lay My Burden Down

x

Track List: Mississippi Blues

1. Some Day Baby

2. Milk Cow Blues

3. The Train I Ride

4. Over The Hill

6. I Wished I Were In Heaven Sitting Down

Comments

Report as inappropriate
amen, Scrap-iron! Robert Johnson my fave! ;-D
Report as inappropriate
I agree. Please check out Blind Willie Johnson.
Report as inappropriate
Ain't nothin like some old Mississippi blues to get you feelin like your issues just ain't that bad got to thank them old timers for there self expression. In a time when and where hard times and oppression were a daily battle there was still the music that could make you feel good for the little things

Don't have a Pandora account? Sign up

We're sorry, but a browser plugin or firewall may be preventing Pandora from loading.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser.

Please check our Help page for more information.

It looks like your browser does not support modern SSL/TLS. Please upgrade your browser.

If you need help, please email: pandora-support@pandora.com.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser
or install a newer version of Flash (v.10 or later).

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please install Adobe Flash (v.10 or later).

[84, 75, 116, 87, 93, 114, 76, 113, 125, 109, 73, 95, 113, 76, 77, 65, 124, 93, 84, 107, 71, 108, 75, 80, 110, 95, 107, 97, 64, 122, 124, 73, 127, 76, 116, 110, 125, 117, 64, 103, 123, 96, 97, 73, 117, 125, 92, 71, 65, 71, 119, 113, 124, 90, 92, 82, 103, 65, 64, 108, 104, 112, 75, 118, 90, 73, 98, 81, 125, 119, 73, 126, 108, 115, 65, 105, 109, 67, 119, 105, 100, 118, 85, 76, 78, 103, 74, 127, 77, 118, 96, 96, 105, 99, 67, 97, 80, 66, 92, 74, 103, 125, 82, 106, 75, 98, 72, 64, 114, 69, 111, 65, 124, 99, 95, 70, 88, 124, 102, 112, 108, 112, 94, 98, 118, 98, 108, 100, 83, 81, 120, 85, 90, 100, 98, 65, 65, 89, 126, 120, 113, 89, 109, 82, 89, 104, 97, 87, 80, 92, 110, 117, 110, 104, 78, 97, 79, 118, 77, 67, 76, 72, 75, 123, 95, 109, 71, 113, 90, 107, 101, 88, 86, 117, 125, 66, 96, 122, 69, 108, 71, 124, 71, 116, 83, 115, 71, 89, 107, 86, 108, 124, 85, 68, 89, 75, 69, 95, 69, 73, 115, 73, 82, 99, 93, 126, 120, 126, 83, 95, 92, 85, 73, 127, 126, 117, 121, 90, 64, 78, 103, 86, 72, 66, 110, 82, 81, 73, 103, 101, 87, 72, 124, 82, 119, 118, 64, 81, 111, 102, 87, 74, 105, 68, 111, 115, 119, 120, 75, 104, 109, 89, 74, 90, 97, 96, 67, 74, 97, 67, 117, 124, 112, 79, 66, 90, 121, 73, 72, 115, 121, 95, 98, 118, 113, 118, 75, 121, 96, 67, 68, 124, 117, 104, 85, 126, 113, 75, 97, 114, 94, 87, 104, 86, 77, 78, 73, 78, 112, 121, 115, 117, 126, 117, 99, 103, 89, 104, 73, 118, 85, 65, 78, 66, 105, 86, 105, 73, 119, 78, 72, 98, 69, 93, 122, 92, 75, 84, 105, 82, 124, 117, 75, 125, 107, 87, 93, 106, 123, 122, 104, 100, 69, 69, 64, 121, 88, 114, 109, 82, 113, 112, 102, 108, 71, 76, 73, 96, 74, 96, 65, 121, 64, 104, 70, 76, 95, 110, 117, 119, 79, 93, 107, 107, 69, 111, 115, 108, 93, 96, 91, 110, 107, 112, 106, 64, 126, 120, 126, 96, 84, 77, 103, 119, 109, 84, 94, 98, 124, 72, 106, 89, 76, 108, 97, 100, 108, 113, 116, 99, 77, 105, 127, 77, 127, 122, 74, 95, 91, 81, 91, 80, 86, 73, 117, 107, 122, 105, 108, 92, 125, 93, 86, 118, 89, 85, 100, 92, 84, 112, 81, 79, 101, 100, 101, 108, 94, 117, 93, 124, 72, 123, 84, 99, 86, 97, 80, 106, 105, 64, 67, 123, 104, 113, 70, 88, 122, 106, 111, 69, 108, 81, 67, 120, 75, 80, 120, 108, 90, 73, 103, 122, 68, 96, 77, 100, 65, 80, 74, 94, 123, 92, 70, 93, 70, 67, 96, 88, 78, 127, 109, 101, 107, 81, 113, 87, 92, 67, 73, 127, 113, 125]