Fred McDowell

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Fred McDowell

Fred McDowell (January 12 1904 - July 3 1972) (also known as Mississippi Fred McDowell) was a Delta blues singer and guitar player. His parents died when he was young.

Career[change | change source]

Early career[change | change source]

McDowell was born in Rossville, Tennessee, near Memphis. He started playing guitar when he was 14 and played at parties around where he lived.

Later career[change | change source]

McDowell moved to Memphis in 1926 where he played for money. Soon after, he moved to Como, Mississippi in 1940 or 1941 and worked as a farmer. He still played at parties.

Mostly, he played slide guitar using a pocket knife and then a slide made from a beef rib bone, later switching to a glass slide. He played with the slide on his ring finger.

Fame[change | change source]

In the 1950s, people became more interested in Blues Music and McDowell became more famous. He recorded for the first time in 1959 with Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins.[1] He started playing on electric guitar rather than acoustic but said "I do not play no rock and roll". He taught Bonnie Raitt the slide guitar technique, and was written about by The Rolling Stones'.

Albums[change | change source]

McDowell's first album came out in 1969, called I Do Not Play No Rock 'N' Roll.

Death[change | change source]

McDowell died of cancer in 1972 and is buried at Hammond Hill M.B. Church, between Como and Senatobia.

References[change | change source]

  1. Collins, Shirley (2004). America Over the Water. S.A.F. pp. 134-6. ISBN 0-946719-91-8

Other websites[change | change source]