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Fred McDowell was born in Rossville, Tennessee in 1904, but went by the nickname "Mississippi," because he thought it sounded good. A pure delta blues musician, he plays "just the straight, natural blues," and he "do not play no rock and roll." He plays with a glass slide, but learned to play with a hollowed out beef bone. McDowell initially played the recognizable resonator guitar, but during tours and recordings beginning in the 1960s, he adopted the use of electric guitar, and was probably the first original delta or country blues musician to do so. McDowell's style is incredibly distinctive and recognizable, and is probably the dirtiest sounding guitarist ever, and one of the most influential. The slide guitar styles of Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones, and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys are heavily influenced by McDowell's technique.
McDowell died of cancer in 1972 and is buried at Hammond Hill M.B. Church, between Como and Senatobia. On August 6, 1993 a memorial was placed on the gravesite of Mississippi Fred McDowell at the Hammond Hill Baptist Church cemetery by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund
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