Various Artists

Preachin' the Blues: The Music of Mississippi Fred McDowell

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Instead of getting all of the artists into the studio with a full band for their tribute album Preachin' the Blues: The Music of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Telarc had most of the featured artists (all but two of 12, actually) perform with just a guitar and voice (or, in the case of David Maxwell, a piano). This, of course, brought the musicians closer to McDowell's territory, and most of the contributors sound very respectful of the original recordings, keeping their phrasing and approach very similar to his. This may not result in the most startling or inspired tribute ever, but it's a nice, low-key, heartfelt salute -- something that sounds nice while it's playing, and it does make you want to dig out (or buy) old Mississippi Fred McDowell records. But, once you do that, chances are you'll never spin this again.

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