Mississippi Fred McDowell & Johnny Woods

Mama Says I’m Crazy

Ever tumble out of bed, crawl to the kitchen, wash a few cross tops down with a healthy swig of cheap sour mash and then savor the moment over an unfiltered menthol cigarette? You know that unhinged feeling you get? It permeates this 1967 field recording thoroughly. Seems a George Mitchell went down to Como, Miss., to record Fred McDowell; he found him there pumping gas. McDowell insisted they bring in harmonica player Johnny Woods, whom they found passed out on a porch in nearby Senatobia. These 11 needle-in-the-red tracks find Woods blowing behind McDowell, who played hair-raising slide guitar, sang like a snarling hound and kept time with his boot. You like your music primitive? As McDowell succinctly articulated it in the opening couplet to “Long Haired Doney”: “Owwwww, de rackjack doan need no wah / Oww-owww, geh to de bottom …” Yep, this is one seriously messed-up blooze rekkid.