I have said it before and I will say it again, one of the many things I have loved about the horror series Lovecraft Country is how many amazing previously-buried tracks the show has introduced to a new audience.
Look at the hill country blues singer Mississippi Fred McDowell’s ‘Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning‘ — a song played on the Lovecraft Country season finale — Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 10, “Full Circle” — and one most people that watched the episode had likely never heard before.
‘Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning’ was played on Lovecraft Country as Christina begins to invoke the spell of immortality.
The song is a traditional gospel blues song that was first recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in 1928. Mississippi Fred McDowell’s version of the song was released many years later in 1959.
Interestingly, however, that was not due to McDowell seeking a recording contract. Instead, it was due to roving folklore musicologist Alan Lomax and English folk singer Shirley Collins discovering McDowell as they traveled across the country recording various folklore artists they found in bars, clubs, at farms and fairs.