Blues Marker

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Raitt

Unveiling of Blues Marker, No. 71, honors Como’s McDowell

By Rita Howell

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The unveiling of a Mississippi Blues Trail marker in Como on Thursday will  bring together residents of the community and blues aficionados as homage is paid to Como bluesman Fred McDowell.

McDowell, who died in 1972 at age 68, is credited with pioneering the “North Mississippi” blues style. He began recording in 1959 and was a popular performer at festivals and clubs. McDowell’s influence is felt among blues artists today, with Grammy-winning singer Bonnie Raitt among those planning to attend Thursday’s ceremony.

The unveiling will take place on Main Street at 2 p.m. Como becomes the 71st of the approximately 120 blues-marker locations which will eventually constitute the official Mississippi Blues Trail.

Performing at the ceremony will be a group from the Mississippi School for Math and Science, who will sing several of McDowell’s songs. Presenting several gospel selections will be the “Como Mamas,” featured on the “Como Now” CD. Representatives from two Como-area churches – Hunter’s Chapel, where McDowell often attended and sang, and Hammond Hill Baptist, where he is buried – will also participate in the program. In addition, members of McDowell’s family are expected to participate.

After the unveiling, there will be live music and refreshments in the town’s public library and its adjacent Memorial Garden.  All of the day’s festivities are free and everyone is invited. The celebration was organized by the Como Historic Preservation Commission. The reception and blues concert have been coordinated by Melba Major and Beverly Findley.

In case of rain, all events will be in the 211 Main banquet hall.

For more information about the celebration call (662) 526-5283.