Southern Journey: 61 Highway, Mississippi — Various Artists

  • Rounder

An essential disc for comprehending the roots of the blues, 61 Highway, Mississippi is the blues component of the 13-volume Southern Journey Series, which is part of the larger Alan Lomax Collection of remastered American, European and Caribbean field recordings taped by the legendary ethnomusicologist. Included here are historic recordings by Fred McDowell, Leroy Gray, Henry Ratcliff, Sid Hemphill, Lucious Smith and other black Southern folk-blues artists whose purity of music and simplicity of sound tell an engaging blues narrative. Along the way, there are work songs and spirituals that add insightful glimpses into early 20th century African-American music culture.

— Robert Santelli