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  • Avalon Blues: A Tribute to the Music of Mississippi John Hurt
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Avalon Blues: A Tribute to the Music of Mississippi John Hurt


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Avalon Blues: A Tribute to the Music of Mississippi John Hurt + Best of + The Complete Studio Recordings Mississippi John Hurt
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: July 9, 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vanguard Records
  • Run Time: 49 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005J9TC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,746 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Frankie & Albert - Chirs Smither
2. Avalon, My Home Town - Bruce Cockburn
3. Angels Laid Him Away - Lucinda Williams
4. Here Am I, Oh Lord, Send Me - Alvin Youngblood Hart
5. Candy Man - Steve & Justin Earle
6. Monday Morning Blues - Peter Case & Dave Alvin
7. Sliding Delta - Ben Harper
8. Chicken - Geoff Muldaur (with Jenni & Claire Muldaur)
9. Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor - Mark Selby
10. Stagolee - Beck
11. Since I've Laid My Burden Down - Victoria Williams
12. Pay Day - Bill Morrissey
13. My Creole Belle - Taj Mahal
14. Beulah Land - Gillian Welch
15. I'm Satisfied - John Hiatt

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

No musician ever applied a gentler touch to songs of murder, sex, and salvation than Mississippi John Hurt. The country bluesman enjoyed a career revival through the folk festival boom of the early 1960s, and his influence continues to ripple, as this varied and vital tribute attests. Produced by Peter Case (who teams with Dave Alvin on "Monday Morning Blues"), the album's renewal of classic Hurt extends from the deadpan double entendres of "Candy Man" delivered by Steve Earle and son Justin to Taj Mahal's trademark lilt on "My Creole Belle" to a surprisingly straightforward "Stagolee" by Beck. Amid a roster of luminaries ranging from fingerpicking acolytes Chris Smither and Bill Morrissey to Ben Harper, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, and Gillian Welch, the most radically disarming interpretation comes from Victoria Williams. Her breathless "Since I've Laid My Burden Down" sounds like a preschooler on helium, yet somehow taps into the subconscious of the song. --Don McLeese

Customer Reviews

That, my friends, is an exceptional bargain!
"gazman67"
It's particularly enlightening to hear how these artists interpret Hurt's syncopated acoustic guitar style.
JGM
A nice one, and one you can listen to while driving or writing a letter, but not a great breakthrough.
Mois Benarroch - Author of HORSES AND OTHER DOUBTs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album ranks as my favorite of the first half of 2001 - Peter Case should get an award for just thinking of it, let alone putting it together. The performances are - not universally (see all comments about Victoria Williams) - fantastic; I always thought that the only guy who could fingerpick like this was Mississippi John Hurt himself, but evidently others have learned how. Bruce Cockburn, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Gillian Welch and Chris Smither all have stellar cuts. Geoff Muldaur shows us that John Hurt played more than just folk blues numbers (and his daughters sound eerily like their mother). Most importantly, this album will send a lot people to the source material - which is what every record collection should have, a Mississippi John Hurt album (start with the Vanguard releases, "Today" or the - double lp - live one recorded at Oberlin College).
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jerome Langguth on June 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I very much like the idea of this album. Musicians whose approach to music has been informed by the music and spirit of the great Mississipi John Hurt pay him tribute by interpreting his songs in their own style. After a couple of listenings, though, I have to say that I am a little dissapointed with the results. The problem is earnestness. Missisipi John Hurt was a sly, surprising , and funny performer. Part of his unique charm is his ability to take you off guard with a funny line, or guitar part. With a few exceptions (Victoria Williams,John Hiatt,Bill Morrissey), these covers come off as somewhat distant approximations of Hurt's brilliance. A better bet is Bill Morrissey's 1999 album "Songs of Mississipi John Hurt," or any of Hurt's own records.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "gazman67" on May 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
As I write this, new copies of this wonderful album are available for less than $3 (through recommended Amazon sellers - check the 'new and used' link). That, my friends, is an exceptional bargain! I paid about $20 (including postage and handling) for this album around 18 months ago and considered it great value for money at the time, since every track (even the much maligned Victoria Williams cover of 'Since I Laid My Burden Down') is at least listenable, if not a veritable aural treat.
If you're a fan of the late Mississippi John Hurt (like myself), you'll find the contributions by Ben Harper and John Hiatt to be most reminiscent of his original recordings. Although these two modern artists come closest in replicating Hurt's distinctive finger-picking style, neither can match the deceptively subtle ease of his guitar playing. This is not to suggest that their versions are any less enjoyable, only that no one on this album can quite match the brilliance of Hurt.
From my perspective, only one track on this album - Gillian Welch's version of 'Beulah Land' - actually surpasses the original. Although the guitar playing is much more subdued on this track, the haunting echoes of Welch's vocals will send shivers down your spine. This track alone makes this $3 album a bargain, but it offers so much more than that. Even if you can't stand the Victoria William's track (it's not that bad, people), this great album is packed with 14 other songs which are hard to skip past. How many other albums for under $3 can you say that about?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "o_bejasus" on March 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This CD is a stunning tribute to a great American -- with one exception. I'm not sure what strangle hold Victoria Williams has over the music reviewers in general, but she always gets great reviews even though her talent seems marginal at best. Well, there's clearly a conspiracy because she even gets great reviews for her absolute butchery of a great classic on this album. I actually stopped my CD player when I got to this song, SURE there was a technical glitch. Nope. Just bad taste, poorly excuted, a mistake. ... Buy the CD, and then use a CD-burner to make a copy all the songs except Victoria Williams -- and you'll have one of the best roots tribute albums ever produced.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jbezzo on January 23, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The music of John Hurt Smith aka Mississippi John (1893-1966) is very much different to that which is usually associated with Delta style. Hurt did not possess a hoarse bark in the style of a Charley Patton or a Son House, and his guitar was not the impassioned whine of a slide pressed on the strings. Instead Hurt's gentle voice and sweetly insistent fingerstyle guitar are among the most enchanting of all blues recordings. This tribute album is a suprising yet welcome addition to a market-place which seems to overflow with celebrity bluesers attempting to
wring yet a few more drops from Robert Johnsons already well-squeezed lemons.
"Frankie and Albert" "Candy Man" "Monday Morning Blues" are among the songs performed, all adequately, but the standouts include Lucinda Williams' "The Angels Laid Him Away", Beck's understated version of "Stagolee", Taj Mahal's happy, ragtimey "My Creole Belle" and the delightful "I'm Satisfied" performed by John Hiatt, who successfully conveys Hurts' sense wry, suggestive sense of humour in a coy tale of adolescent sexual teasing. A remarkable album on which the seemingly geniune respect and affection of the participants for Hurt and his music shines through
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Johnson on February 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
A musical performer knows that he or she has arrived when they have accumulated enough laurels and created enough songs to be worthy, at least in some record producer eyes, to warrant a tribune album. When they are also alive to accept the accolades as two out of the four of the artists under review are, which is only proper, that is all to the good (this is part of a larger review of tributes to Greg Brown, Bob Dylan, Mississippi John Hurt and Hank Williams). That said, not all tribute albums are created equally. Some are full of star-studded covers, others with lesser lights who have been influenced by the artist that they are paying tribute to. As a general proposition though I find it a fairly rare occurrence, as I noted in a review of the "Timeless" tribute album to Hank Williams, that the cover artist outdoes the work of the original recording artist. With that point in mind I will give my "skinny" on the cover artists here.

If one were to ask virtually any fairly established folk music singer in, let's say 1968, what country blues musician influenced them the most then the subject of this review would win hands down. The list would be long- Dave Van Ronk, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, Phil Ochs, Chris Smithers, Joan Baez and on and on. Hell, Tom Paxton wrote a song about him-"Did You Hear John Hurt?" That song still gets airplay on the folk station around where I live.

So what gives? Why the praise? What gives is this- Mississippi John Hurt and his simple country blues were 'discovered' at a time when many young, mainly white urban musicians were looking for roots music. This search was not anything particularly new-John and Alan Lomax went on the hustings in the 1930's and recorded many of the old country blues artists that were `discovered' in the 1960's.
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