Music Reviews

Mississippi Fred McDowell & Johnny Woods

Mama Says I’m Crazy

Fat Possum

Just a couple of guys, some hootch and a microphone. Seems to be all that is needed to create magic, at least when one of the guys is Fred McDowell. Best known as the writer of “You Got to Move” that ended up on a Rolling Stones album years ago, McDowell let it be known that he “didn’t play no rock and roll.” Instead he played slashing slide guitar with a tone that cuts into your head, and a rough vocal style that seems dredged up from a local swamp. The 11 cuts here are all traditional tunes done the McDowell way, which is basic, raw and hypnotic, aided well by harp blower Johnny Woods. Numbers such as “Shake ‘em on Down,” “John Henry” and a guttural rendering of “I Got a Woman” further cement the legacy of one of blues music’s true originals. Recorded in someone’s house in 1967, (after rousing Woods from a booze induced nap) the record has a loose, easy feel to it, with conversation going on in the background. Of course it sounds perfect for what it is, and would be totally impossible to recreate today. Enjoy.

Fat Possum Records: http://www.fatpossum.com


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