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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but not the author of "Kokomo", April 27, 2004
By 
TW (Austin Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
Before I nitpick about Amazon's official review, I'd like to say this is one of the finest blues albums ever.
That said, Michael Point obviously hasn't listened to much of the early blues, or he'd have realized that Big Joe Williams sang "Baby Please Don't Go" in the 30's, Leroy Carr wrote "Kokomo Blues" (later "appropriated" by Robert Johnson and turned into "Sweet Home Chicago") and there's a very compelling argument that Gary Davis wrote "You Got to Move."
The blues, however, is an artform of cliche's, the forerunner of sampling, and Mississippi Fred does great justice to every song he covers. My favorite tracks are both of the ones he speaks on and "Red Cross Store," which is a jam and a half!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic, March 15, 2002
This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
This has been one of my favorite albums since it came out in 1969. It moves me as much today as the very first time that I heard it. It never grows old for me. This is a true classic album. There is no other like it in the world. Mississippi Fred McDowell is the man. This is the album.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real slide guitar blues !, January 18, 2002
By 
Dawn Camp (Lake Wales,FL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
Mississippi Fred McDowell is one of the masters of slide guitar. He has never received the credit he deserves but those who have heard will never forget him. This CD I have on a album and I have looked for the CD for years and Iam so glad its finally here. When listening to Fred McDowell you must put yourself back in time and listen close, he is all by himself playing he doesn't need a band. Its hard to believe one man can make so much rhythm. Fred McDowell is what the blues is all about, and there is no one who comes close to his original, distinctive style.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Greatness of Mr. MAC DOWELL, October 18, 2004
By 
Tony Thomas (West Palm Beach Florida USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of Fred McDowell, who always pronounced his name MACK DowWELL, for more than 40 years. His music has inspired not only my guitar playing, but also my blues playing on the banjo which has gotten some reknown among old time music buffs and my fiddling. His personality shines through in his music and speech on his recordings. He was sharp, gritty, and real, very real.

Fred was never a professional bluesman in the African American context of Mississippi where he came up. He was a tractor driver and sometime preacher who was "discovered" actually early in the folk revival in the late 1950s. He became better known later in the early 1960s when he graced the Newport Folk Festivals and began making records of his own like this one(he had earlier appeared on anthologies of Mississippi music put out by Alan Lomax, I believe).

Fred represented a second generation of Mississippi hill country bluesmen. His music shows how the great blues recordings and performances of the great stars of 1930s blues like Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell, Lonnie Johnson, Tampa Red and Big Maceo, and the local Mississippi masters like Son House and Bob Johnson, filtered down and were mixed with the on going tradition of continued acoustic players like Mr. McDowell.

This reality even more present in Robert Johnson, conflicts with the popular ignorance that Mississippi slide blues represents some kind of more original, more authentic, more traditional, or more African version of the blues isolated from the major currents of urban recorded blues of the 1920s, 1930s,and 1940s. In fact in the generation of bluesmen represented by Fred, Robert Johnson, and Muddy Waters the blues is in constant dialog with the big city bluesmen and blueswoman of the 1920s and 1930s who were the dominant blues artists of the acoustic period. Perhaps because McDowell did not have the pressures to manufacture "new" blues because he was never a commercial recording artist, you get a richer picture of the way that tunes by Leroy Carr or Big Maceo informed the Mississipi bluesmen and blueswomen.

There is a more personal style in some of the lack of polish, and some of the simplicity of McDowell's playing that is missing in a more masterful player like either the early or the revived Son House or Bukka White, let alone a total syncretist like Bob Johnson. For the most part, McDowell retained the acoustic sound, although he also played electric, and probably would have gone electric if he wasn't playing for a "folk" audience.

My favorite on this CD is what is called "You Ain't Gonna Worry My Life Anymore."

Anyone familiar with the Blues realizes this is a version of the great "Worried Life Blues," a masterpiece made famous in the late 1930s by Big Maceo and Tampa Red recording for Ezra Melrose on Bluebird in Chicago. If you have not have that track, buy one of their CDS with it. In fact, Tampa and Maceo's version is so good, that you should buy the CD even if you do not have a CD player, so it can be the first music you hear on the CD.

Like so many tunes of similar great lineage, Fred transforms it into a personal statement. While I have spent hours playing big Maceo and Tampa's version on repeat, I will never forget Fred's great lines like "If I had money like Henry Ford, I'd have a new woman on every row." I perform and have recorded this tune in Fred's style.

Fred's a good person to know from his music. His music is a unique picture of a stage of the blues not often found on record, closer to traditional folk culture, and not under the pressures that the bluesmen and blueswomen who became commercial recording artists were under.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fiery slide guitar blues, November 30, 2003
This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
No, "Mississippi" Fred McDowell of Rossville, Tennessee (!) doesn't play any rock 'n' roll, but he does play a mean, slashing slide guitar, some of the best, most muscular slide playing I have ever heard.

Fred McDowell is backed by drums and bass, although they are mixed quite far into the background, and he plays an electric slide guitar, which worried some blues purists, but the music is as stark and sparse as anything you'll ever hear. And his occational monologues, delivered in a rich country dialect, ony adds to the charm and the value of this fine document.
(The original liner notes stupidly warn that "unless you're from Mississippi", McDowell may be hard to understand, which is not the case at all, but his soliloquies are nevertheless fully transcribed. Why people from Mississippi would be the only ones able to understand a fully articulate elderly gentleman from Tennessee is something of a mystery.)

This reissue of the original Capitol album from 1969 adds bonus five tracks totaling 20 minutes, and includes a great take on Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go", as well as powerful country blues originals like "61 Highway", "Jesus Is On The Mainline", "Red Cross Store" and "You Got To Move".
It falls a little short of the 1995 Capitol re-release "The Complete Sessions", which tacked on ten tunes, but "I Do Not Play No Rock 'n' Roll" is still a very enjoyable collection, and a fine introduction to the Tennessee bluesman.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As real as it gets, April 3, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
I found this cd in the 'used' section of a local music store, and bought it 'cause I liked the cover. It has become one of my top 10 all-time favorite albums.
Fred McDowell was born in 1904 and left this world in 1979. The timeframe alone gives it away that he was one of the finest blues guitarists you'll ever hear, he wasnt following anyone, he was a leader. Straight from the gut, with no need to 'clean up' his sound, Fred puts out raw emotion, vocally, and musically, like no one else. If you have any interest at all in reaching back to hear real, raw, unfiltered blues, Mississippi Fred McDowell is the man.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure blues satisfaction, June 5, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
This CD is great! Not only do you get a perfect blues recording, but the label (Fuel 2000) was cool enough to include 5 bonus tracks! All for [item price] this kills me! Remastering job is A+ and the new liner notes from Bill Dahl are informative!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars no rock n roll for me, June 21, 2002
This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
Mississippi Fred knows whats up. With 5 bonus tracks on this CD, I really enjoyed listening to his blues jams. "Baby Please Dont Go" with Big Joe Williams is always a treat also. I dont know if anyone can play a better blues guitar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music, July 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
Love it. Superb music. Passed it on to my kids. Thanks for supplying us with this great music just what I wanted
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A late bloomer, July 6, 2012
By 
Fred Camfield (Vicksburg, MS USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
Mississippi Fred McDowell (1904-1972) had a day job and played his slide guitar when he was not working. He was "discovered" somewhat late in life when he was in his 50s, and must have been pushing 60 when he started producing his own recordings. This is the original style of blues, a man and a guitar, although he did add a bass and some drums, and switched to an electric guitar for recording late in his career.. The recording has some spoken introductions by himself. By the 1950s, there was a range of music available to play, and he did not have to rely on originating all songs, although songs reflect his own arrangements. Recording equipment had also improved by the time his records were produced, and his playing abilities had matured (and while his voice was still good). He had a good run before he passed away in Memphis at the age of 68.

For more biographical information see Fred McDowell The Voice of Mississippi Delta Blues Guitar.

The 14 tracks on this CD reflect the best of his last recording session. It is a reissue with bonus tracks.
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I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll
I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll by Fred McDowell (Audio CD - 2001)
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