Category Archives: Old Stuff

Mississippi Fred McDowell

A few weeks ago I purchased a Seasick Steve single from Third Man Records, on which he covers two tracks by Mississippi Fred McDowell. I’m no expert by the way, I only knew that after reading the Third Man Records blurb about the single. Anyway the other night I was flicking through my Instagram account and saw a video from my local record store, Plaid Room Records, showing their most recent restocks and lo and behold there was a Mississippi Fred McDowell album.

So I called in Plaid Room Records the next day and snagged this beauty,Mississippi Fred McDowell, a self titled album released by Everest Records, Archive of Folk & Jazz Music.

Fred McDowell

 

 

 

 

 

And get this, it only has one of the tracks that Seasick Steve covered on his Third Man Records single, that track being Levee Camp Blues, how neat is that?

Mississippi Fred McDowell - Side1

Mississippi Fred McDowell Side2

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a great piece about Mississippi Fred McDowell on the Mississippi Blues Trail website. Apparently You Got To Move, which is also on this album, was covered by the Rolling Stones on their Sticky Fingers album.

One of the best pieces in the article refers to his friend and neighbor, a certain Eli Green, who, and I quote “was said to possess magical powers”! Eli Green wrote a song called Write Me A Few Lines, which became one of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s signature tunes and was also covered by none other than Bonnie Raitt! Have I ever told you…

Just reading the sleeve notes and he was discovered by folklorist Alan Lomax, who described him as  “a bluesman quite the equal of Son House and Muddy Waters, but, musically speaking, their granddaddy.”

Check this out…

 

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Yet More From Third Man Records

So following my visit to Third Man Records in Nashville and having listened to the five Tamla singles I’d bought, I had to complete the set, so I ordered the remaining four singles.

Well they came yesterday, five days after I ordered them, and they sound great!

They’re part of a series of reissues, by Third Man Records, of the classic early Motown singles.

Barrett Strong – Money (That’s What I Want)/Oh I Apologize

Barrett Strong - Money

Barrett Strong - Oh I Apologize

 

 

 

 

 

This is the original version of the song that The Beatles covered on their With The Beatles album, which I have in my record collection. I know it’s been covered by loads of artists, but The Beatles version is the one I’m most familiar with.

I’ve just been reading about this single on the Motown Junkies website and amongst the comments, there’s mention of a “white teenage” kid who played the guitar solo, who had never been tracked down. Then a few months later a guy called Eugene Grey replied to the comment saying he was that “White Guy”! Don’t you just love the internet? He also played on tracks by The Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Mary Wells, as well as Please Mr Postman by The Marvelettes, another song covered by The Beatles. How cool is that?

Wikipedia mentions that “according to George Harrison, the group discovered Strong’s version in Brian Epstein’s NEMS record store”

Nick and the Jaguars – Ich-i-bon #1/Cool and Crazy

Nick and the Jaguars - Ich-I-Bon #1

Nick and the Jaguars - Cool and Crazy

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve just been reading about this group on the Motown Junkies website and apparently they were Motown’s first white act.

Chico Leverett – Solid Sender/I’ll Never Love Again

Chico Leverett - Solid Sender

Chico Leverett - I'll Never Love Again

 

 

 

 

 

Barrett Strong – Let’s Rock/Do The Very Best You Can  

Barrett Strong - Let's Rock

Barrett Strong - Do The Very Best You Can

 

 

 

 

 

So that completes the set of the first reissues by Third Man Records of those classic early Motown singles. I’m so glad I bought these, not only to listen to these early recordings, but also to delve a bit deeper into their history. I’m not sure whether there are any more in the pipeline, but I sure hope so!

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