Focus on the Blues- page 4 | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Focus on the Blues

Richard Waterman's never-before-published photographs caught the roots music legends at their down-home best

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“You talked to him about funny, stupid, absurd things that just made you pee laughing,” Waterman recalls. “Some of the most enjoyable experiences [I’ve had] were with Fred.”


Later, as he heads back to Oxford, a hazy sunset turns the air to taffy. Waterman pops in a cassette, and across the dash comes the thrilling tang of McDowell’s slide guitar. Waterman passes families on porches, a tractor in a willow’s shadows, children playing dodge ball in the dust. “We’re listening to Fred in Fred’s country,” he says. A tear appears in the corner of his eye. And on he drives.


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