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These recordings come from a trip John and Ruby Lomax took the infamous Parchman State Prison in 1939. These recordings took place in the Sewing Room in the Woman’s area of the prison and all of the women Lomax would record show off an amazing talent pool that matches any of the female country blues artists on the Paramount or Columbia roster.

One of them was Mattie May Thomas with the compete confidence she has in her clear, strong voice; her fearlessness in expressing the kind of sentiments that where likely to extend her stay at Parchman. But most of all her lyrics: a furnace blast of spontaneous, often baleful poetic images...

All performances recorded at the sewing room, Mississippi State Penitentiary, Parchman, Mississippi, by the Library of Congress.