Written by 4:01 pm Blues Legends

Mississippi Fred Mcdowell : Master of Blues Slide Guitar

Mississippi Fred Mcdowell

Mississippi Fred Mcdowell

Mississippi Fred McDowell was a legendary blues musician hailing from Rossville, Tennessee. Born in 1904, McDowell was known for his soulful voice and mastery of slide guitar. With a unique style that blended Delta blues with gospel and folk influences, he became a key figure in the revitalization of the traditional blues sound. McDowell’s powerful and emotive performances continue to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide.


Full Name Mississippi Fred McDowell
Date of Birth January 12, 1904
Date of Death July 3, 1972
Stage Name Mississippi Fred McDowell
Profession Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist

Early Life

Mississippi Fred McDowell was born on January 12, 1904, in Rossville, Tennessee. He was raised in the rural Mississippi Delta region, known for its rich musical heritage. Growing up in a poverty-stricken environment, McDowell learned to play the guitar at a young age, honing his skills by playing at local house parties and juke joints. In the 1940s, he relocated to the town of Como, Mississippi, where he worked as a farmer and continued to play music in his spare time. McDowell’s unique Delta blues style caught the attention of folklorists and musicians in the 1960s, leading to his discovery by Alan Lomax and eventually his involvement in the folk music revival. Through his music, McDowell became a celebrated figure in the blues community, showcasing the raw and soulful sounds of the Mississippi Delta.


Name Relationship Information
Mississippi Fred Mcdowell’s parents’ names are not widely known. Similarly, information about his siblings is not readily available.

Height, Weight, And Other Body Measurements

Measurement Value
Height 6’1″ (185 cm)
Weight 180 lbs (82 kg)
Chest 42 inches (107 cm)
Waist 36 inches (91 cm)
Hips 40 inches (102 cm)

Wife/husband / Girlfriend/boyfriend

Mississippi Fred Mcdowell’s Relationships

Mississippi Fred Mcdowell is no longer alive.

Partner Relationship Type
Wife 1 Married
Girlfriend 1 Long-term relationship

Mississippi Fred Mcdowell was previously married. His marriage date and other details are not widely available.

Wife Details

Details about Mississippi Fred Mcdowell’s wife are limited in public records.

Career, Achievements And Controversies

Mississippi Fred McDowell gained recognition and fame as a blues singer and guitarist. His unique Delta blues style, characterized by his soulful voice and slide guitar playing, captivated audiences and earned him a loyal following.

Fred McDowell’s career started in the 1940s, playing at local juke joints and house parties in Mississippi. He gained wider attention in the 1960s when musicologist Alan Lomax recorded him and released his music on the influential album “American Folk Blues Festival” in 1965.

One of his most popular works is the song “You Got to Move,” which became an anthem for the civil rights movement and was featured in the critically acclaimed documentary “The Blues: Feel Like Going Home.”

Despite his influential contributions to blues music, Fred McDowell did not receive many formal awards during his lifetime. However, his impact on the genre and his recognition as a master of the slide guitar earned him a revered status among blues musicians and fans alike.

There are no major controversies surrounding Mississippi Fred McDowell. However, like many artists of his time, he faced challenges and hardships related to racial inequality and discrimination. He often performed in segregated venues and experienced the injustices prevalent during the Jim Crow era.


Mississippi Fred McDowell FAQs

Q: Who Was Mississippi Fred Mcdowell?

A: Mississippi Fred McDowell was an American blues singer and guitarist. He was born on January 12, 1906, in Rossville, Tennessee, and is known for his distinctive slide guitar playing style.

Q: What Kind Of Music Did Mississippi Fred Mcdowell Play?

A: McDowell was primarily known for playing Delta blues, a style of blues music that originated in the Mississippi Delta region. He often played solo with his slide guitar, delivering powerful and emotionally charged performances.

Q: What Are Some Of His Most Famous Songs?

A: Some of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s most famous songs include “You Gotta Move”, “Shake ‘Em on Down”, “Kokomo Blues”, and “Write Me a Few Lines”. These songs are considered classics in the blues genre.

Q: Did Mcdowell Achieve Commercial Success During His Lifetime?

A: Although McDowell gained recognition and respect within the blues community, he did not achieve significant commercial success during his lifetime. It was only after his death in 1972 that his music started gaining wider recognition.

Q: How Did Mcdowell’s Music Influence Future Generations Of Musicians?

A: McDowell’s raw and expressive style of playing had a profound impact on many musicians who came after him. His influence can be seen in the work of artists such as Bonnie Raitt, The Rolling Stones, and The Black Keys, among others.

Q: Are There Any Documentaries Or Books About Mississippi Fred Mcdowell?

A: Yes, there are several documentaries and books that explore the life and music of Mississippi Fred McDowell. One notable documentary is “Mississippi Fred McDowell: The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins” by Les Blank. Additionally, “Mississippi Fred McDowell: Downhome Blues” by David Evans is a comprehensive book dedicated to McDowell’s life and musical legacy.

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