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Discovery: The Rebirth Of Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi John Hurt Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Price: $14.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 19 Songs, 2011 $8.99  
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 15, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Spring Fed Records
  • ASIN: B005L3HKCC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,044 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Cow Hookin' Blues
2. Interview: John & Jessie Hurt (by Tom Hoskins)
3. Nobody's Business
4. Casey Jones
5. Stack O'Lee
6. Richland Woman Blues
7. Coffee Blues
8. Do Lord, Remember Me
9. Take My Hand
10. Candy Man
11. Waiting For You
12. Conversation: A Song For Mr. Clark
13. Got the Blues
14. Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me
15. Ain't Nobody But You
16. Pallet on the Floor
17. Spike Driver Blues
18. Preaching on the Old Campground / Glory Glory

Editorial Reviews

Review

Remarkable, the career of the uniquely gifted Mississippi John Hurt.

An unassuming self-taught musician in a remote area of Mississippi in the 1920's, unaffected by the contemporary blues or 'race records' of the day. Some years ago, his son remarked to me in an interview that there was not even a record player in their house; that his father had 'dreamed how to play' the instrument - or, as John Hurt remarked to Columbia's Larry Cohn, he wanted to play the guitar 'as it should sound.'

As it turned out, the artist developed an original style more akin to the Piedmont players - ragtime-oriented, replete with syncopated treble melodies and accompaniment designs driven by an anchoring, alternating bass. Unlike his many imitators, it was neither slavishly repetitive nor metronomic.

Recommended by some white players in the area, he was brought to the attention of an agent of Okeh Records in 1928, and made a few relatively successful sessions - the beginning of a promising blues career cut short by the Great Depression that tanked so many record companies and their artists.

Mr. Hurt returned to Avalon, Mississippi where for thirty-odd years he resumed his life of farming, playing occasionally for neighborhood picnics and community functions.

In 1963, absent the benefit of all the now-available blues research and recorded perspective, a few savvy blues aficionados in the Washington, D.C., area - including Dick Spottswood, Mike Stewart, and Pete Kuykendall - found and were immediately attracted to John Hurt's music, and - on a clue (John sings ''Avalon my home town, ...ain't got no drivin' rain.'') - convinced the adventurous Bob Hoskins to travel to Avalon, Mississippi, to try and record this artist - if he could find him. In the tradition of pioneers such as Alan Lomax and Sam Charters, Bob Hoskins indeed found his bluesman living and farming in Mississippi, no longer owning a guitar, or expecting any more musical attention.

Fighting a sore throat, trying to remember arrangements, chord progressions, and lyrics, he capos Hoskin's guitar to the fourth fret - perhaps as compensation for his voice. Then, at the request of Mr. Hoskins - he begins singing and playing into a tape recorder, sometimes along with his wife Jessie, sometimes with a full-throated rooster crowing for day in the background (seriously).

This is certainly an archival release, but one with surprisingly good recording quality; and, incidentally, with wonderful aesthetics from the perspective of packaging, archival photographs, and the like. This is an aural document of perhaps the most beloved blues artist of the twentieth century - at a time when he was the least prepared, yet hardly embarrassed - to perform on tape. Included also is Bob Hoskins' interview with John and his wife Jessie.

To be sure, for all who had the privilege of knowing this great artist and very special man, and for the many more who heard him in person, every musical encounter is special. To think that in a matter of months this artist achieved an artistic level greater than he had ever known, on par with any bluesman of that or any other era is yet another testament to Mississippi John Hurt and his indomitable spirit. This is an important document of the blues. --Larry Hoffman

Product Description

On a fateful day in 1963 guitarist, blues fanatic, and inspired roamer Thomas Hoskins rapped on the door of a small house in rural Mississippi. The house was at the end of a long, twisted road for Hoskins and the beginning of a new, unknown road to be traveled with Mississippi John Hurt. These 'lost' recordings have never been heard by the general public and provide a window into a period before John Hurt became a professional musician and the most respected songster in the American folk movement. Keep checking back to Spring Fed Records for more information concerning this never published historic recording.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoying the Hurt Musical Legacy October 30, 2011
Format:Audio CD
I have enjoyed listening and learning to play the music of Mississippi John Hurt for 45 years, ever since I was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and he came and performed on campus.
I learned his fingerpicked country blues from the original Vanguard Records released after his rediscovery and later bought all the records and CD's issued, including a CD of his original 1929 OKay Recordings.
This new release, 'Discovery The Rebirth of Mississippi John Hurt', fills a critical void in the MJH story for all 'MJH freaks'. The release of the Tom Hoskins recordings taken in Hurt's home in Avalon, Mississippi allow us to eavesdrop on the actual moment his career was reborn.
The music is beautifully remastered and packaged with insightful and informative notes presented in a graphically powerful way. I particularly enjoyed Hoskins interview of Hurt and the banter between Hurt and his wife, Jessie, puctuated by the background of farm sounds.
It is my opinion that the '29 recordings are unbelievably clean and fast and as Hurt grew older his work was infused with layers of irony, humor and emotion, even as it slowed down. This CD documents the maturing of MJH's music. It is a true roots music, created on his back porch and, through the magic of media technology and his improbable story so ably documented in this CD, now available to us all.

I highly recommend y'all get a copy of this CD and enjoy the magic and music of a beautiful man.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historically Enjoyable Discovery Recordings of John Hurt February 26, 2012
Format:MP3 Music
The year 2011 brought a number of new biographies of blues legends including Phillip R. Radcliffe's "Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues" (University Press of Mississippi). Hurt made some recordings for Okeh Records in 1928, some of which were reissued on Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. Tom Hoskins, a member of Washington DC area record collectors, headed towards Avalon, Mississippi, 35 years later on the hunch that Avalon, Mississippi" which Hurt sang about in "Avalon Blues," might be Hurt's home. Hoskins' journey to the Delta proved fruitful as Hoskins located the legendary recording artist which led to his relocation for several year to the North and what would be three years of celebrity and fame as one of the great rediscovered blues artists.

Hoskins recorded and interviewed Hurt at the time of the discover on March 3, 1963. These recordings have just been issued on a fascinating new release on Spring Fed Records, "Discovery: The Rebirth of Mississippi John Hurt." Wonderfully remastered the CD has 19 tracks including a previously unissued and lengthy interview where Hurt and his wife talks about his early life and recordings, and life after those recordings. It opens with Hoskins introducing Hurt who plays a deft instrumental, presumably as a test, which he names after he finishes Cow Hookin' Blues.

Many of the songs will be familiar to Hurt's many fans including Stack'O'Lee, Coffee Blues (known also as A Spoonful Blues), Richland Woman Blues, Candy Man, Spike Driver Blues, and Louis Collins. His playing is facile although the field tape recording make sound a little bit muffled (especially his vocals as Hoskins seems to have miked the guitar better) and the guitar has a slightly harsh tone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History at its enjoyable best ! January 12, 2012
Format:Audio CD
This, I think, is about the most charming cd I own, and I have a lot. The banter between John Hurt and Tom Hoskins, and roosters, and Mrs. Hurt, makes me feel like I was sitting in the room with them. How lucky we are to have this fine and lively recording. Not sonically perfect by any means, but the digital magic of today makes it very listenable. Tom Hoskins was clearly surprised and elated to have found John Hurt, and John was by turn bemused at this young white boy who had travelled from Washington just to find him. All without Google or Mapquest !! A bygone age on cd. Wonderful !
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