Mississippi country bluesmen Robert Petway and Tommy McClennan are often linked together as they were friends, local rivals and had similar styles, although Petway was claimed by some to have been a "faster finger picker". Little is known about Petway except that he was a well-respected artist despite his limited recording output. In fact he only recorded eight tracks for Bluebird Records in 1941 with a further eight in  1942 (of which six were issued). It is known that he was born in or around Greenwood and spent most of his life performing in Mississippi. The only known photograph of him shows him in overalls, holding a metal-bodied National resonator guitar. He is probably best known for his song "Catfish Blues", but only then when it was covered by Muddy Waters, who renamed it "Rollin' Stone". The song itself was a cover of an earlier version performed by Skip James. Waters version of course provided the inspiration in the early 1960's for the name of the legendary Rolling Stones. It is possible that Petway moved to Chicago in his later years and may have died there.

   Robert Petway - Catfish Blues
Tommy McClennan was also born in Mississippi, on a farm in 1908, spending his childhood in nearby Yazoo City.  He played across the South Mississippi delta in towns like Greenwood and Indianola during the 1920's and 1930's, very often with Robert Petway. McClennan is recorded as having been a very nervous and slightly built man, but he was a convincing vocalist and guitar player. His first recording session, for Bluebird in 1939, was arranged by Lester Melrose and in 1940 he was encouraged to move to Chicago. He achieved good sales with his first recordings, and he followed this up with two further sessions during his first year in Chicago. He recorded his last songs in 1942, all of his output being for the Bluebird label. McClennan is thought to have stopped performing when he was aged about 44 and nothing is really known about his life after that time. He lived for about another ten years and  it is recorded that he died in the early 1960's, destitute, having been living in the Chicago ghetto, with alcohol abuse as a likely contributing factor.