Mississippi John Hurt
Mississippi John Hurt - The 1928 Sessions CD
Historical performances from a blues legend. 13 tracks restored from the original 78s.
Listening to Mississippi John Hurt's original recordings is a trip back to an America that no longer exists. Fewer than 100 people lived in the hills around Avalon, Mississippi in the 1920s and John Hurt spent much of his life living and working there, working as a farm hand and sharecropper, playing guitar to entertain friends and neighbors. Hurt would likely be amazed at how his music has endured, how many ways people would be able to enjoy his talents. His recordings are a rare example of what was called 'household music', music performed by an amateur who was not seeking financial gain, who didn't perform as part of church functions, who didn't feel the need to interject sexual innuendo or other artifices often used by other blues singers so there were no conflicts with local preachers. He didn't amplify his voice which made his singing style more intimate and he refused to refer to himself as a "blues singer". On balance, his guitar skills were more intricate than other blues artists of the era, utilizing a fast, syncopated finger picking style. These tracks were taken from lovingly restored 78PRM recordings from Okeh Records 1928 release. The initial releases were commercial failures and Oken went out of business during the Great Depression. Unlike other blues artists, Hurt had no signature song, no one song that people would identify with him. His style was unique, showcasing his ability integrate an alternating bass with a melodic line, achieving a flowing effect with his playing. It wasn't until 1963 when renowned musicologist Tom Hoskins, located Hurt neat Avalon. That meeting led to Hurt moving to Washington, D.C., expanding his audience and leading to his appearance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. He toured extensively, playing from coffeehouses to concert halls and even appeared on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, quite a long haul from his Avalon, Mississippi roots.