deltabluesfolkgospelandmore:

This song is an example of Son House’s brilliance as a songwriter and interpreter of other people’s music. The story behind it is that during the 1930 Paramount sessions in Grafton, WI, recording director Art Laibley asked House if he could record a song that sounded like Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean," in tribute to Jefferson who had recently passed away. House then wrote "Mississippi County Farm Blues" in his hotel room in Grafton - weaving together the melody and themes from “‘Kept Clean" with his own Delta-style slide work and impassioned lyrics about his experiences in notorious Parchman Farm prison. The resulting recording is a truly unique song, embodying the art of songsterdom at its peak (see also Lead Belly post), and is one of House’s most hauntingly memorable recordings. He continued refining the song and recorded another version in 1942 as “County Farm Blues," musically updated and with new lyrics expanding on the themes introduced in the original.