- A black man born between 1904 and 1906 grew up as a farmer but later became renowned around the world as a guitarist
- The journey began for Fred McDowell when he was only 14, learned how to play the guitar and started playing for tips at random events
- His big break came after he was 60 and got discovered by Chris Strachwitz who helped Fred record his music & share with the world
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Fred McDowell, a black man born between 1904 or 1906 in Rossville, Tennessee spent most of his life as a farmer but ended up shocking the world as a guitar genius.
A report sighted by on Face2FaceAfrica indicates that McDowell learned to play the guitar by 14 but it was not until he was 37 that he managed own one.
All through the years after he learned to play, the talented guitarist still worked as a full-time farmer with only a few performances for tips.
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McDowell played for tips at dances around Rossville but later moved to Memphis in 1926 seeking greener pastures.
By the year 1928, the farmer was in Mississippi picking cotton, finally settling in Como, Mississippi in the 1940s where he would become renowned and famous.
When he turned 60, McDowell still played at dances and picnics but was discovered by Chris Strachwitz, a man who shared the profound gift the black man possessed with the world.
See video of McDowell playing below:
Chris, a blues enthusiast and owner of the fledgling Arhoolie label recorded him commercially.
Two albums, Fred McDowell, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, were released on Arhoolie in the mid-’60s, and the shock waves were felt throughout the folk-blues community, amazing both black and whites alike.
In 1965 he toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival, together with Big Mama Thornton, John Lee, Buddy Guy, Roosevelt Sykes and others.
He was also well documented on film, with appearances in The Blues Maker (1968) and his own documentary Fred McDowell (1969).
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