Coming to the World Channel’s Reel South series this Sunday, March 5:
SHAKE ‘EM ON DOWN: THE BLUES ACCORDING TO FRED MCDOWELL
Southern Circuit, Oxford, Raindance
The story of a legendary Mississippi bluesman.
McDowell, who was best known as Mississippi Fred McDowell, emerged in the late 1950s/early 1960s as part of the blues revival that saw a newfound appreciation for American music, particularly African-American musicians in the American South. While McDowell supported himself as a sharecropper, he had performed locally in Mississippi, but it wasn’t until noted ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax and British folk singer Shirley Collins discovered his work in 1959 that the musician was able to reach a larger audience through album recordings and festival and other live performances. York’s loving profile details McDowell’s origins, as well as his standing as a pioneer of a distinctive Mississippi sound known as the north hill country blues style, showcasing his talent through choice archival performance footage and with particularly compelling commentary from Bonnie Raitt, who was mentored by the musician before his death in 1972.