Review Of The New 50 Years Of Como Ms Blues

There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home. Such is the case with this cornucopia of in-house visits made around the town of Como, up in the north Mississippi hills—the fabled land where grooves grow as thick as the kudzu. Rather than bringing downhome musicians into antiseptic studios, Hannes Folterbauer continues to bring the microphone and recording tape straight to them, into whatever shake-em-on-down shack that may be. Raw, ragged and real, these 19 tracks from six different guitarists build upon his Wolf label’s longstanding commitment to capturing country blues in their native element.

50 Years of Como MS Blues starts its clock in 1965, with none other than Fred McDowell’s genius with a sawed-off bottleneck and six strings. “Frisco Line” springs from his guitar in a push-and-pull rhythm driven by the beat of his stomping foot. That was the same year Eli Green, Charley Patton’s buddy whose sphere of influence extended from McDowell (his duet partner here) to Junior Kimbrough, raucously erupted, twice: his first, last, and only recordings (for which Chris Strachwitz was also the songcatcher).

Stops then get made in 1975 and 1991. Othar Turner heaves and lurches “Rooster Blues”; the rolling pulse to Jessie Mae Hemphill’s “Go Back to Your Used To Be” is far more stabilized. Ranie Burnette, a soft-spoken hypnotist who juked alongside McDowell as well as R.L. Burnside, stitches together electrified riffs into fantastically dismal plods (“I’m Goin’ Away”) and fantastically dismal gallops (“Come On Baby”). “I Wonder Why” lays down a minefield of snapped bass notes. Ultimately, we arrive at R.L. Boyce’s doorstep in 2017 to find him boogying up an unplugged houseparty-for-one, prickly confirmation that Como, Mississippi blues have remained just as untamed now as 50 years ago.

Author: Dennis Rozanski

Thank you For this great Review Dennis!