JACKSON: History is Lunch series at MS Archive w/blues film screening

At noon on Wednesday, May 17, as part of the department's History Is Lunch series, Scott Barretta and Joe York will screen their documentary "Shake ‘Em On Down: The Blues According to Fred McDowell."

Fred McDowell was the godfather of the north Mississippi style of blues and an important influence on the music of the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, R.L. Burnside, and the North Mississippi Allstars. McDowell was working as a cotton picker and tractor driver when he was first recorded by Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins in 1959. Those recordings launched McDowell into the upper echelons of the burgeoning folk movement in the 1960s and carried him around the globe in the thirteen years between those first recordings ...and his death in 1972. Barretta and York’s film features previously unseen footage of McDowell and interviews with Raitt, Taj Mahal, and many Mississippians, 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 music columnist for the Clarion-Ledger newspaper. He teaches courses on blues at the University of Mississippi and Delta State University, and is the former editor and a continuing contributor to Living Blues magazine. He is the co-author, with photographer Ken Murphy, of Mississippi: State of Blues, and co-author of a curriculum for elementary school students based on the Mississippi Blues Trail. In 2016 he received the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Mississippi Heritage.

Joe York is an award-winning filmmaker, who until recently worked as senior producer of documentary projects at the University of Mississippi’s Southern Documentary Project. He has produced more than forty short documentaries in association with the Southern 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. Winter Archives and History Building, 200 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201. There is no charge to attend. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email info@mdah.ms.gov.