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Died On This Date (November 2, 1966) Mississippi John Hurt / Blues Legend

Posted by themusicsover on November 2, 2009

Mississippi John Hurt
July 3, 1893 (or March 8, 1892) – November 2, 1966

Although he was small in stature, picked the guitar lightly, and sang almost in a whisper, Mississippi John Hurt’s influence on folk and blues was huge.  He learned to play the guitar before he was ten, and by the early 1920s, he had already been playing in front of crowds at local barn dances.  In 1928, and on the recommendation of a friend who had recently won an Okeh Records contract in a talent contest, Hurt was asked to audition for the label.  He was signed that same year and given two recording sessions that produced collection of sides that sadly, never had a chance to develop since Okeh soon went under due to the Great Depression.  Hurt soon retired from the music business and went back to his life as a sharecropper.   Fast forward about 35 years to 1963.  The folk revival was in full swing when music historian, Tom Hoskins heard those old recordings and sought out to find Hurt.  He tracked him down still living in Avalon, Mississippi and convinced him to move to Washington DC and relaunch his music career.  Hurt’s set at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival was that of legend, and he was subsequently signed to legendary folk label, Vanguard Records.  He went on to tour the country and even perform on the Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.  Hurt’s music influenced a new generation of singer-songwriters from blues to country to folk.  Mississippi John Hurt died of a heart attack on November 2, 1966.  In 2001, Morgana Kennedy and the folks at Vanguard records released Avalon Blues: A Tribute to the Music of Mississippi John Hurt.  It contained versions of John Hurt songs by the likes of Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Ben Harper, Beck and John Hiatt.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

Mississippi John Hurt: Complete Studio Recordings - Mississippi John Hurt

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