A fascinating collection of old blues & gospel field recordings to be released on vinyl for the first time

A fascinating collection of blues and gospel field recordings captured in the ’60s and ’70s is set to be released on vinyl for the very first time via Dust to Digital.

The recordings were captured by audio recordist, filmmaker, folklorist and teacher William “Bill” Ferris in and around Mississippi between 1966 and 1978 and present an “incredibly detailed study of Southern American culture”.

Voices of Mississippi
James “Son” Thomas, photographed by Bill Ferris in Leland, Mississippi, 1968. From the William R. Ferris Collection.

A fascinating collection of old blues & gospel field recordings captured between 1966 and 1978 to be released on vinyl for the first time.

Titled Voices of Mississippi, the vinyl release is a condensed version of a bigger compilation released earlier this year. Representing the life work of Bill Ferris, the release assembled years of writings, documentary film, field recordings, interviews and stories on the subject of Southern culture.

“Ferris was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1942,” explain Dust to Digital. “Growing up on a working farm, [he] began at a young age documenting the artwork, music, and lives of the people on the farm and in his local community.  The archive of recordings that he created and the documentary films that he had a hand in producing have served as powerful tools in institutions of higher learning for decades.”

Bill Ferris

The vinyl release contains handpicked recordings that featured on Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris, a 79-song compilation released by Dust to Digital back in June. This is the first time these songs will have been released on wax.

Check out the tracklisting and listen to one of the songs, Lil’ Liza Jane by Scott Dunbar, below. You can pre-order the vinyl here.


1. Scott Dunbar – “Lil’ Liza Jane”
2. Mississippi Fred McDowell – “Big Fat Mama”
3. Louis Dotson – “Bottle Blowing”
4. Scott Dunbar – “Jaybird”
5. James “Son Ford” Thomas – “Cairo”
6. Inmates at Parchman Farm – “Water Boy Drowned in the Mobile Bay”


1. Mississippi Fred McDowell – “I Got a Letter from Hot Springs”
2. Lovey Williams – “I’m Standing in the Safety Zone”
3. Mary Alice and Alan McGowan – “My Mother’s on that Train”
4. Reverend Ott and Family – “You Don’t Knock, You Just Walk On In”
5. Walter Lee Hood – “They Tell Me of an Uncloudy Day”
6. Mary and Amanda Gordon – “Lord, I’m in Your Hand”
7. James “Son Ford” Thomas – “Cemetery Conversations”