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Mississippi John Hurt Bio & Recordings

Mississippi John Hurt Bio & Recordings

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Discovery: The Rebirth Of Mississippi John Hurt
Complete Studio Recordings 3-CD Set
Dc Blues: Library of Congress Recordings [Original Recording Remastered]
The Complete Studio Recordings Mississippi John Hurt by Mississippi John Hurt
Avalon Blues : Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings by Mississippi John Hurt

John Smith Hurt was a blues guitarist and singer from Avalon, Mississippi. Nicknamed Mississippi John Hurt, his work is considered to have had a significant influence on the progression of blues, country, bluegrass, folk, and contemporary rock and roll. The songs of John Hurt have been covered by a number of famous musicians, including Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia, and continue to provide inspiration to aspiring musicians, young and old.

John Hurt’s date of birth has been debated, and today is thought to be either July 3, 1893 or March 8, 1892. He died at 74, in Grenada, Mississippi on November 2, 1966.

He began playing the guitar as a young boy and attempted to begin a career as a musician in the late 1920’s. First recorded in 1928 with Okeh records, his songs were not commercial successes. The negative effects of the Great Depression on the music industry and his disappointing sales of these recordings led to Hurt leaving the music industry to resume work as a sharecropper and farmer for the majority of his adult life.

Hurt’s life was drastically changed in 1952, when his renditions of “Frankie” and “Spike River Blues” were included in “The Anthology of American Folk Music.” This six-album compilation, released by Folkway Records, played a major role in motivating the American folk music revival in the United States during the 1960’s. Music enthusiasts, Tom Hoskins and Richard Spottswood, successfully located Hurt in Avalon, Mississippi in 1963. This rediscovery was a turning point in Hurt’s career as a musician, as he increased in popularity and began to earn recognition as an influential blues musician.

This popularity and recognition resulted in the recording of multiple albums and compilations for Piedmont Records, Vanguard Records, and the Library of Congress. Other successes included an appearance on The Tonight Show and a set at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964, and last but certainly not the least helpful, ‘The Best of Mississippi John Hurt (Live at Oberlin College, 1966)’ was picked as one of Esquire Magazine’s ’75 Albums Every Man Should Own.’

Fans and individuals interested in John Hurt’s career and influence on blues, country, and folk music genres can visit the Mississippi John Hurt Museum in Avalon, Mississippi. At the museum, fans can see and learn more about the town that had a strong influence on Hurt’s musical style and lyrics. In addition to visiting the gravesite of John Hurt, visitors can attend guitar workshops and music festivals. The museum is part of a non-profit foundation founded by Mary Frances Hurt Wright in 1999. The foundation aims to provide funding and support to folk and blues music education and instruction for underprivileged children. An additional resource for people interested in the music and life of John Hurt is the recently published book by Philip R. Ratcliffe: “Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues (American Made Music).”