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Old 08-30-2013, 12:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default North Mississippi

Mississippi Fred McDowell actually lived in Memphis the first half of his life. When he did move to Mississippi with his wife to farm, he was different from the other Mississippi bluesmen. First, he wasn't a sharecropper--he owned his own farm. Secondly, he didn't live on the Delta but in North Mississippi. In that region lived many bluesmen that the blues enthusiasts of the late 50s and early 60s all but ignored. Their style of blues was different from what came off the Delta and different from what one heard in Memphis. It was dubbed the North Mississippi blues sound.

North Mississippi relied on fewer chord changes than Delta blues that resulted in a kind of droning sound that a number of musicologists believe is a music closer to its African roots than other blues because it represents a music once played on instruments with sympathetic strings (i.e. strings that cannot be fingered and so cannot change key). Judging from the comments I read on Youtube, most people do not know the difference between North Mississippi and Delta blues. They are NOT interchangeable terms!

Finally, in 1992, Fat Possum Records of Oxford, Mississippi was founded to capture the North Mississippi sound and recorded a spate of the first generation bluesmen in the area around Oxford and Holly Springs. These included R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Asie Payton, Charles Caldwell and King Ernest. All these men are now dead, some died even before their first records were released.

Fat Possum experimented with techno-blues, punk-blues and other hybrids in an effort to make money. They also have signed up a number of rock acts whose sound is a bit more raw and unrefined than other labels prefer. This has earned them a lot of criticism from blues-lovers and purists but a label has to do what a label has to do to survive. Iggy Pop is a huge fan of the North Mississippi sound and has even released on album on Fat Possum.


R.L. Burnside - Poor Black Mattie - YouTube


Charles Caldwell - hadn't i been good to you - YouTube


Jr Kimbrough Done Got Old - YouTube


Asie Payton - Do Me Right - YouTube


King Ernest - House Where Nobody Lives - YouTube

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Old 11-29-2013, 09:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Agreed
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