Born Fred McDowell – because few people are cruel enough to name a child Mississippi – he was one of the truly great bluesmen, and one of the very first of North Mississippi bluesmen. He played in what is sometimes called the North Hill Country Blues style, which was low on chord changes, but high on the use of slide guitar. This latter art McDowell cheerfully taught for many years – Bonnie Raitt was one of his students.
That said, and despite his occasional use of an electric guitar, McDowell refused to play rock – in fact, his 1969 album was famously entitled: I Do Not Play No Rock ‘N’ Roll/. He didn’t seem to mind anyone else doing so, though – when the Rolling Stones covered his song “You Gotta Move” in 1971, he was flattered and told folks he quite liked their take on it.