Delta Blues: Doc MacLean

Mississippi Delta Blues; Traditional Acoustic Blues by a Living Blues Artist

Delta Blues. It whispers and shouts of places beyond flesh and bone. Doc MacLean was accompanist to some of the Mississippi's finest Delta songsters. Today, nearly thirty years after his first acoustic recordings and blues festival appearances, Doc MacLean is being rediscovered by a new generation of Delta blues audiences.

Festivals Rediscover Delta Blues Artists

Delta blues. At a time when mainstream blues have become more commercialized, more removed from reality, more appropriated and more obscured by young and pretty faces, the rediscovery of the Delta is especially important. Witness a veteran performer whose career spans 30 years and is distinguished by direct association with some of the finest first generation blues musicians. Doc MacLean. Delta Blues.

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Delta Blues Duo: Colin Linden and Doc MacLean

Delta Blues. Twenty five years ago, when it was a whole lot easier to get your head blown off, Doc MacLean was hanging out with Son House, Tampa Red, Sleepy John Estes, Peg Leg Sam The Medicine Show Man, Robert Pete Williams, Bukka White and Blind John Davis. With partner Colin Linden (The Band, Bruce Cockburn, Keb' Mo', O Brother Where Art Thou, etc.), Doc MacLean recorded for the Chicago based Flying Fish label (catalog now owned by Rounder Records), and accompanied a truly remarkable- and historical- array of country blues and delta blues artists.

Delta Blues Highway 61 New Orleans to Chicago

In a relentless ramble across America Doc MacLean played with many of the great delta blues and country blues artists who were still alive in the 1970's. Storefronts with Sunnyland Slim, lounges with Little Brother Montgomery, folk festivals with Roosevelt Sykes, jukes with Jack Owens. Along the way he met artists such as Willie Dixon, Yank Rachel, Henry Townsend and 'Sippi Wallace. With Colin Linden, Doc MacLean became a popular opener for Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and for Muddy Waters.

Mississippi Blues and Heritage

Delta Blues. As accompanist to Sam Chatmon (Charlie Patton's half brother, Bo Carter's brother, Memphis Slim's uncle, Singin' Sam's dad!), Doc MacLean lived in Hollandale, Mississippi, deep in the heartland of the Delta blues. Here, and along the Delta down to Vicksburg, he met seers, doctors, queens, deacons and preachers. Catfish sellers. Good time girls. With Sam Chatmon, Doc MacLean played folk festivals, blues festivals, jukes, colleges, and house parties from Memphis to New Orleans, sometimes performing as far afield as San Diego, Toronto, and Winnipeg. Some of this Delta blues material was documented on the Flying Fish recording "Sam Chatmon and His BBQ Boys" featuring Sam Chatmon, Doc MacLean and Colin Linden. An unissued track from the last Flying Fish record is hidden on this website as a free delta blues MP3. Go find this delta blues bonus track!

Country Blues at the Crossroads

Later, working the Carolinas with Peg Leg Sam the Medicine Show Man, Doc MacLean became known as an entertainer of bootleggers and bandits. Although they also performed at folk festivals, blues festivals, college pubs and coffeehouses- the bloodsplattered country blues dates played over corn liquor and stolen pig meat marked the end of an era.

The Folk Festival Years

A chance encounter with the Rev Pearly Brown, a blind street singer from Georgia's piedmont, resulted in a lasting friendship and an expanded collection of gospel material. On the North American folk festival circuit Doc MacLean appeared often with Mose Scarlett. For several years Scarlett and MacLean shared stages with other second generation acoustic country blues artists such as Paul Geremia (Red House), Roy Book Binder, John Hammond, Jr.,and toured Britain and Canada. For the next fifteen years Doc MacLean lead Doctor Limbo and His Fabulous Off-Whites, a nine piece "vaudeville, country blues, Memphis-New Orleans jump band." Delta style country blues was always played in the kitchen, the hotel rooms, backstage, and at parties.

Delta Blues Slide Guitar

Today, pleasantly surprised by a renewed demand for Delta blues, Doc MacLean is touring both as a solo artist and with bass and drums. As part of a living delta blues tradition, he is now a veteran performer, a respected songster- entertainer in his own right, and a contemporary Delta blues composer. Sometimes plugged in, sometimes not. Sometimes with harmonicas, bones, washboards, piano. Sometimes with a bottleneck, sometimes not. Some on standard guitars, some on National guitars in old, cross tunings. Some in the footsteps of mentors like Son House, spirits like Charlie Patton, some not. Download a couple of free Delta blues MP3s from this site.

Roots Music: Delta Blues Rediscovered

The current success of other contemporary but roots oriented blues artists such as Colin Linden, John Moody, Keb Mo, Kelly Jo Phelps, and Guy Davis suggests a solid niche market exists for Doc MacLean. Delta blues labels such as Fat Possum are reaching huge new markets with artists such as Cedell Davis and T Model Ford. The success of the Coen Bros. O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack speaks for itself. Now, with Colin Linden ready to produce, Doc MacLean is examining his label options, booking festival and college appearances, looking for European representation, and having fun playing the delta blues music which has so shaped his life.

Delta Blues: Doc MacLean McLean Contact and Booking Info

Contemporary and traditional delta blues performer Doc MacLean is available worldwide for blues festival, folk festival, college and club engagements. Information and Contact Options.

Links to Delta Blues People, Places, Things

Colin Linden

Rounder Records

Fat Possum Records

Red House Records

Shanachie Records

Burnside Records

Blues Music Association

The Blues Foundation

The Atlanta Blues Society

The Toronto Blues Society

Mississippi Delta Blues Society

National Reso-Phonic Guitars

King Biscuit Blues Festival

Blues Music Association

Living Blues Magazine

Blues Access Magazine

Blues Review

Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival

Libby Rae Watson

Bob Brozman, National Guitar Expert

Blue Heaven Studios

Reverend Pearly Brown

Julian Fauth

Michael Pickett

Northern Blues


Local Delta Blues Doc MacLean McLean Links






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MP3 Download Delta Blues

Delta blues fans will always find at least two free delta blues MP3s in the MP3 section of this website. The free blues MP3s are updated from time to time with more current recordings. Also on this website is a hidden, free download delta blues MP3 of Sam Chatmon and His BBQ Boys, featuring Doc MacLean and Colin Linden. Go find it!

MP3 Download Delta Blues

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