Como in Panola County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Mississippi Fred McDowell
Fred McDowell, a seminal figure in Mississippi hill country blues, was one of the most vibrant performers of the 1960s blues revival. McDowell (c. 1906-1972) was a sharecropper and local entertainer in 1959 when he made his first recordings at his home on a farm north of Como for noted folklorist Alan Lomax. The depth and originality of McDowell’s music brought him such worldwide acclaim that he was able to record and tour prolifically during his final years.
“Mississippi” Fred McDowell, as he was usually billed, was actually born and raised in Rossville, Tennessee. He never knew his birth date–January 12, 1904 is often cited, although census and Social Security documents point to 1906 or 1907. His music blended the sounds he heard from local guitarists in Tennessee with the pulsating juke joint grooves of the North Mississippi hills and the hard-edged blues he picked up during several years spent in the Delta. Spirituals were an important part of his repertoire, and one, “ You Got to Move,” recorded by McDowell in 1965, gained widespread fame when the Rolling Stones recorded it on their 1971 album Sticky Fingers.
McDowell, who learned to fret his guitar strings with a bottleneck or metal slide after seeing his father’s cousin
The highly acclaimed albums that McDowell waxed during his belated recording career (1959-1971) proved that some of the greatest country blues music had gone undiscovered by the record companies that scoured the South for talent in the 1920s and ‘30s. McDowell found himself in demand at folk and blues clubs and festivals, yet kept a job pumping gas at the Stuckey’s candy store and service station on I-55 during his final years, even when he was at last able to support himself as a musician. Stuckey’s became his social hangout and his office, where he would receive phone calls from booking agents and record producers.
Erected 2009 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 71.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 34° 30.763′ N, 89° 56.484′ W. Marker is in Como, Mississippi, in Panola County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Sledge Street, in the median on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 211 Main Street, Como MS 38619, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Otha Turner (a few steps from this marker); Napolian Strickland (within shouting distance of this marker); Como (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sardis Jessie Mae Hemphill (approx. 5.8 miles away); Bethesda Cemetery (approx. 7 miles away); Tate County World War I Memorial (approx. 7 miles away); Senatobia (approx. 7½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Como.
Also see . . . Wikipedia article on Fred McDowell. (Submitted on April 17, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 17, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 97 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 17, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.