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The Complete Studio Recordings Mississippi John Hurt
The Complete Studio Recordings Mississippi John Hurt
Price: $20.06
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential John Hurt, November 29, 2001
This is the place to start listening to John Hurt. The appropriately titled 'Last Sessions' (Disc Three) is not strong - it carries the leftovers from the 1966 sessions that produced all three of these albums. But the other two contain some of the finest folk-blues ever recorded. Hurt's ability to coax beautiful singing melody together with the deepest swinging rhythnm from his guitar is legendary, and never better than in these sessions, recorded just months before he died. And his voice, if a little wheezy at times, is capable of expressing the heights and depths of just about any emotion as he looks back over his whole life and experience. It's wonderful to hear him switch theme from hymns to work, adultery, murder and back to hymns again, all of them handled with complete conviction.
Most of the songs are his own classics. Avalon Blues, Pay Day, Candy Man, Make me a Pallet on your Floor, Stagolee etc are all here, and for me these are the finest, fullest versions. I often wonder why, simple and often samey in chord structure as most of them are, they move me as deeply as they do, but why bother? 'Gentle perfection', as Stefan Grossman once described it, is what we get from John Hurt.
A special word for the closing track of Disc Two (The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt): 'Nearer My God to Thee'. Yes, it's the old hymn. But oh, thank you John Hurt for revealing at last its full joy and beauty. If there's a heaven, he surely got there a few months after this performance.

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