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In Depth: Mississippi Fred McDowell

The video of rural life Mississippi in this featurette about slide master Mississippi Fred McDowell is so interesting that the music is almost a bonus. The film is entitled “Blues Maker.”

But  not quite. Bob Dylan, of course, had a hit with “Highway 61 Revisited.” McDowell sings a sings a song, which probably was called “Highway 61” about the same road. It’s unclear if this is the song that Dylan was “revisiting.” Here is a condensed verse:

I started school one Monday morning, darling
Baby, I throwed my books away
I wrote a note to my teacher
Lord I am going to try 61 today

The movie was produced by the University of Mississippi Department of Educational Film Production. It was released in 1969. Here is our previous post on McDowell.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

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Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.