At noon on Wednesday, May 17,as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Scott Barretta andJoe York will screen their documentary “Shake ‘Em On Down: The BluesAccording to Fred McDowell.”
Fred McDowell was the godfather ofthe north Mississippi style of blues and an important influence on themusic of the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, R.L. Burnside, and the NorthMississippi Allstars. McDowell was working as a cotton picker andtractor driver when he was first recorded by Alan Lomax and ShirleyCollins in 1959. Those recordings launched McDowell into the upperechelons of the burgeoning folk movement in the 1960s and carried himaround the globe in the thirteen years between those first recordings …andhis death in 1972. Barretta and York’s film features previously unseenfootage of McDowell and interviews with Raitt, Taj Mahal, and manyMississippians, including Malaco’s Wolf Stephenson, Dick Waterman,Charlie Musselwhite, Cedric Burnside, Luther Dickinson, and R.L. Boyce.
Scott Barretta is a writer/researcher for the Mississippi Blues Trail,the host of Highway 61 on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, and a musiccolumnist for the Clarion-Ledger newspaper. He teaches courses on bluesat the University of Mississippi and Delta State University, and is theformer editor and a continuing contributor to Living Blues magazine. Heis the co-author, with photographer Ken Murphy, of Mississippi: State ofBlues, and co-author of a curriculum for elementary school studentsbased on the Mississippi Blues Trail. In 2016 he received theMississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for MississippiHeritage.
Joe York is an award-winning filmmaker, who untilrecently worked as senior producer of documentary projects at theUniversity of Mississippi’s Southern Documentary Project. He hasproduced more than forty short documentaries in association with theSouthern Foodways Alliance, including Whole Hog, Hot Chicken, and Smokes& Ears. His feature films include Mississippi Innocence and Pride& Joy.
The program will take place in the William F. WinterArchives and History Building, 200 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201.There is no charge to attend. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.