Various Artists

Southern Journey, Vol. 3: 61 Highway Mississippi

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Twenty-four tracks from Alan Lomax's 1959 blues recordings in Mississippi, five previously unreleased. Fred McDowell (who has five songs) is the "star," you might say, of these sessions; he would go on to establish a successful performing and recording career, and is the only name recognizable to most listeners. This is an effective document, however, of the different strands of country blues and their roots. It includes not just rural Delta guitar blues, but also field hollers, spirituals, prison songs, fife-and-drum tunes, and Sid Hemphill's quills. Lomax would later note that when he revisited the area 20 years later, most of these forms had all but disappeared from view. This disc is a good reminder of how blues developed from several African-American Southern folk traditions whose influence has sometimes been underestimated.

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