Music Reviews

Preachin’ The Blues

The Music of Mississippi Fred McDowell

Telarc Blues

Most people, if they know of Fred McDowell at all, know him as the writer of “You Gotta Move,” which The Stones did a cover of. Good song, good version. Well, Preachin’ The Blues is 12 more examples of McDowell’s blues boogie, all done in good fashion. Brian Stoltz does a take on “You Gotta Move,” as does Tab Benoit on “Train I Ride” which is Fred’s version of “Mystery Train.” “Get Right Church” showcases Paul Geremia’s skill at the 12-string, and is a thing of beauty. Fans of Hot Tuna will recognize “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning,” and the version here, featuring Colleen Sexton on vocals and Gregg Hoover on guitar is a chugging, sensuous romp.

Mississippi Fred McDowell made the point during his life to make sure people knew “he didn’t play no rock and roll.” That might be true, but from “61 Highway” to “Kokomo Blues,” he helped create the sound that rock and roll was built on. This set is excellently assembled by Steve James (who serves up a nifty “I Rolled and I Tumbled” here), who also did the Charley Patton tribute (Down the Dirt Road) on Telarc a few months ago. Keep it up, Steve!

Telarc Records:

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