Mississippi Fred McDowell‘s recording of “What’s The Matter Now?” is truly raw Delta Blues. Another piece of Alan Lomax’s massive contribution to recorded music history, this was recorded in 1959 at a gas station where McDowell worked at the time. No studio, no effects, no edits, no BS. A man, a microphone, and a moment, caught on tape, eventually transferred from vinyl to CD and then mp3. What a journey to our ears! For more on this influential artist, check out Kevin Swan’s tribute at Rubber City Review.
“What’s the Matter Now?” (download mp3)
from “I’ll Meet You On That Other Shore: Alan Lomaxs “Southern Journey,” 1959-1960″
“What’s The Matter Now” (play)
This song is dying to be the music from an 80’s movie fashion-transformation-montage. “Ugly Like Me” is a funky, horn-stabbed lesson for playin’ it cool when you’re “ugly” like the GR8 Rufus Thomas. But to me, ya know, there isn’t a more beautiful man.
“Ugly Like Me” (download mp3)
from “Ugly Like Me”
Rufus Thomas – “Ugly Like Me” (play)
I Want More!
Kid Bailey – “Mississippi Bottom Blues” (mp3)
Although it’s almost a clich√© to say this about a blues musician from the American South, Kid Bailey was one of the most enigmatic musicians of the era. His recording career lasted exactly one day, and yielded only two songs. I’m proud to present one of those two songs, “Mississippi Bottom Blues.” The chorus was appropriated by Canned Heat for their song, “Going Up the Country.”