Album Review: Mississippi Fred McDowell “Come And Found You Gone”

Album Reviews, Albums, music

Mississippi Fred McDowell, of course, is a legend. He was one of the first country bluesmen to be rediscovered and recorded by scholars, and toward the end of his life toured across the country and overseas. Although he would claim “I don’t play no rock-and-roll music”, songs he performed like “Get Right Church” were covered by the Rolling Stones, and he guest appeared on an album with Don Nix. So for the fan of Mississippi traditional blues, the first commercial issue of these field recordings made by the eminent blues scholar Bill Ferris is a welcome discovery. McDowell’s home community of Como is stuck just where the hill country meets the Delta, and likewise, McDowell’s blues style seems to cross-breed the hill country and Delta styles. There are familiar standards here, of course, like “John Henry” and “Little Red Rooster”, but also unusual original compositions like “Dream I Went to the U.N.” where the lyrics say he went to “set the nation right.” There are also gospel tunes, including “Get Right Church”, “I Got Religion”, “You Gonna Meet King Jesus” and McDowell’s take on “Where Could I Go?” a tune that springs from the white country gospel tradition. On various tunes, McDowell is joined by his wife Annie Mae, and his friend Napoleon Strickland on harmonica. On the final track is an excerpt of an interview with Bill Ferris regarding these recordings. Extensive liner notes and photos increase the value of this lovingly-conceived issue of recordings that resurrect a voice from the grave. To listen to “Come and Found You Gone” is almost like spending an afternoon with Mississippi Fred McDowell on his front porch.


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