Como is a small town in the North of
Mississippi-in an area,Where the Hill Country blues was created!
The Most famous Artist in this area was Fred Mc Dowell. He played a great Guitar Style with the slide-got to move was his greatest Song! On one day he drove his Producer Chris Strachwitz to a small House
Near Como ,where Eli green lived who was a friend of Charlie Patton!!his 2recordings with Fred were one of the deepest country blues recordings after the 40‘s!!!
There are also 2 recordings by Fred himself!!
The next great Artist on this cd is Jessie Mae Hemphill,who was the last country blues lady in north Mississippi!she learned her style from their aunt,Rosa lee hill.we recorded her famous songs in the 80‘s in her caravan
in Como!her singing and Guitar playing were unique!!the Next Artist on this cd is the last, who is still living and playing in Como-r.l.boyce!!!he was nominated for a Grammy in 2018!!!we recorded him in january 2017 in his house -he played a lot of r.l. Burnside
songs,but it sounded different-butalso some songs of his own!
One of the most famous hill country blues
Musician was Ranie Burnette who lived
In senatobia and is buried in como.
He played with Fred mc dowell and other artists of this area.he played his own songs
And on different beale Street Music Festivals
The last Artist of this cd is Otha Turner,who
Got famous with his fife and drums band in the african American tradition!in this band also played Jessie Mae Hemphill and Napoleon Strickland.on this cd he plays one song with guitar.
This cd is a document of a style which is known as hill country blues
and como was the Center of this Style!
Eli recorded together with Fred McDowell recorded the most devastating two raw country blues songs, to hear on this CD.
He had a connection to Charlie Patton and influenced both Junior Kimbrough and Fred Mc Dowell.
He was a conjuror, gambler, a dangerous man(?), but also a great Country blues man. He believed in
Voodoo and could walk through walls. He was born in 1901 or 02 and grew up with Son House and
Charlie Patton – Pattons Guitar had passed to Eli by Bertha Lee. He played like Son House the primitive, rocking stuff. He played a lot with Fred and Boose Taylor in the area of Cleveland and Rosedale. Arhoolies Chris Strachwitz met him 1965 when Fred brought him to his house near Holly Springs, Ms. He lived in a remote shack without electricity. There were just these 2
Recordings by Eli, cause after that the batteries of Chris recorder lost their energy. Green is buried in the Greenwood babtist church cemetery near Lamar. Ms.
Ranie was born july4,, 1913 in Pleasant Grove, Ms. In the 40s and 50’s he played at juke joints and
Local dances in the hill country of Northern Mississippi, together mostly with Fred Mc Dowell.
There were no recordings known by him until the early 80s when he lived in Senatobia. He recorded a 45 for the High Water label and also a CD for the Swigmaster Label. He often played together with R. L. Burnside and Harp player Johnny Woods. His music is rooted by the tradition of the fife and drum bands in this area and the hill country blues tradition. Ranie died in Memphis, TN Jan. 23,2000 and is buried in a cemetery in Como, Ms. Wolf Records came to Como September 1991 and met Ranie at his house. He was still in great form and played three self-penned songs.
Othar “Otha” Turner was born June 2nd 1907 and was one of the last five Players and a part of the hill country blues genre.
He moved to Panola County near Como where he lived his entire live as farmer. In 1923 he learned to play the fives. In the 60s there were made field recordings with Turner’s rising Star Five and Drum Band and in the 90’s the group became wider recognition which included many great recordings. One was titled From Senegal to Senatobia.
In the band also played Napoleon Strickland and Jessie Mae Hemphill. In the 50’s he started to do picnics where his band made the entertainment.
Turner also played guitar by himself and recorded hill country blues. He was nominated for two blues music awards and many other honors. In 1975 H. Folterbauer met Turner together with R. L. BURNSIDE IN Senatobia where they invited him to stay at night in one of their houses although they don’t know me. At evening I was present at a big house party where Othar and R. L played great country blues like you can hear on this CD. Othar died in Gravel Springs, Ms on Feb. 27,2003.
A funeral service was made in Como and the Rising Star Five and Drum band leading a procession to
R. L. Boyce is the last living Bluesman in Como. He got a Grammy nomination for the best traditional Blues-CD 2018, but the winners were the Rolling Stones with the CD “Blues and Lonesome”.
RL. played drums for his uncle’s fife and drum band, who’s name was Othar Turner. Also he was a drummer for Jessie Mae Hemphill. R. L. Was born August 15/1955 and raised in Como /miss. 2007 released his first CD, titled “Aint’ the man’s Alright” with Cederic Burnside and Calvin Jackson.
R. L. Plays hill country blues in the style of R. L. Burnside and Othar Turner. Some of his style is associated to the greatest Como Bluesman, Fred Mc Dowell and to Jessie Mae Hemphill.
His endless boogies keeps the SheWolf-Style from Jessie alive.
He sings mostly cover versions of the famous Hill Country Blues and also songs written by himself: here are some examples: “Child of God”, “One of these Days”.
In January 2017 Wolf owner Hannes F. met R. L. at his home and he recorded some of his songs – so we are happy that the Como blues is still living thanks to R. L. BOYCE!!
Fred McDowell was the most famous Bluesman from Como, MS. He was born in January 12, 1906 in Rosswell Tenn. and started at the age of 14 to play guitar and played at Dances in the neighborhood. In 1926 he moved to Memphis, where he worked in a Feedmill and played music for tips. In 1928 he moved to Mississippi to pick cotton and settled in Como. In the 40´s and 50´s he worked as a farmer but also played music at Dances and Picnics. He mostly played slide guitar, using a pocketknife and later a glass slide. Fred was the first hill country Blues Musician who became famous. The Hill Country Blues is a kind of Blues, which comes closer to it´s African Roots. Fred played together with Eli Green, Napoleon Strickland, Johnny Woods and the Hunter´s Chapel Singers. He influenced such Hill Country greats like Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside. He became wider attention, when he got recorded in 1959 by Alan Lomax and played at Festivals and Clubs.
He also started to play electric guitar and toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival in 1965. 1969 he recorded his famous CD “I don´t play no Rock´n´Roll” for Malaco where he played electric guitar. His last recording was a live recording from 1971 at the Gaslight Café in New York. He made also many Blues and Gospelsongs recordings on the Arhoolie-Label. McDowell died of cancer on 3rd July 1972 and was buried at Hammond Hill Paptist Church between Como and Senatobia. At last he got a lot of money from the Rolling Stones, who covered his most famous song: “You gotta move”.
When I was in Como in 2017, Fred´s spirit was still there. R.L. Boyce show me his house, where he lived and there is a big marker in the center of Como.
Jessie Mae Hemphill:
Jessie was born on 18th October 1923 near Como and Senatobia, MS. At the age of 7, she began playing the guitar, but she also played drums in fife Drum Bands, at first at Sid Hemphill´s band, who was her grandfather. In the 50´s she played in some bars in Memphis, but mostly she played with her family.
Her Family were all in the music business: Her father was a blues pianist and her mother played many instruments. The most influence was her aunt Rosa Lee Hill, also a guitar-player and her grandfather Sid Hemphill. Sid recorded also for Alan Lomax in the 40´s. Jessie was the last of the Hemphill´s music players and also liked Gospel music… Jessie learned and played the instruments with clear African roots.
George Mitchell in 1967 and David Evans in 1973 made the first recordings with her in 1979. High Water Records – David Evans Blues Label – made with her high-quality recordings on 45´s. In 1981 she recorded “She Wolf”, which was licensed from High Water to a French label. She began touring across the United States and also to Europe and received in 1987 und 1988 a Blues Music Award for best traditional Female Blues Artist. Jessie had a stroke in 1993, which prevented her from playing guitar, but played tambourine with her band. In 2004 a double album was released where she also played tambourine and was singing. There were also Cd´s by Inside Sounds and Black & Blue. Jessie Mae died on 22nd July 2006 after different health problems. She was buried in Senatobia…
When I met her in 1991, she lived in a mobile Home near Como and still played her guitar and sang her great songs. RIP Jessie!