Mississippi Fred McDowell was born Fred McDowell in Rossville, Tennessee, January 12, 1904. He died in Memphis,Tennessee on July 3, 1972. He was a blues singer and guitar player in the North Mississippi style. His parents, who were farmers, died when McDowell was a youth. He started playing guitar at the age of 14 and played at dances around Rossville. Wanting a change from ploughing fields, he moved to Memphis in 1926 where he worked in a number of jobs and played music for tips.