“The Blues ain’t nothin’ but a good woman on your mind.”
~Mississippi John Hurt
No blues singer ever presented a more gentle, genial image than Mississippi John Hurt. A guitarist with an extraordinarily lyrical and refined fingerpicking style, he also sang with a warmth unique in the field of blues, and the gospel influence in his music gave it a depth and reflective quality unusual in the field.
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)
Spike Driver Blues, an excerpt from Peete Seeger’s television program called “Rainbow Quest.” It was recorded in 1965 or 66 at WNJU-TV (Channel 47), a New York City-based UHF station with studios in Newark, New Jersey:
|Birth name||John Smith Hurt|
|Born||July 3, 1893 or March 8, 1892
Teoc, Carroll County, Mississippi, United States
|Died||November 2, 1966 (aged 73)
|Years active||1928, 1963 – 1966|
Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, Hurt taught himself how to play the guitar around age nine. Singing in a loud whisper, to a melodious finger-picked accompaniment, he began to play local dances and parties while working as a sharecropper. He first recorded for Okeh Records in 1928, but these were commercial failures. Hurt then drifted out of the recording scene, and he continued his work as a farmer. A copy of one of his recordings, “Avalon Blues,” was later discovered. The title of which gave the location of his hometown and inspired a growth of interest in Hurt’s whereabouts. Tom Hoskins, a blues enthusiast, would be the first to locate Hurt in 1963. He convinced Hurt to relocate to Washington, D.C., where he was recorded by the Library of Congress in 1964. This rediscovery helped further the American folk music revival, which had led to the rediscovery of many other bluesmen of Hurt’s era. Hurt entered the same university and coffeehouse concert circuit as his contemporaries, as well as other Delta blues musicians brought out of retirement. As well as playing concerts, he recorded several studio albums for Vanguard Records.
You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley (1965)
He died in Grenada, Mississippi. Material recorded by Hurt has been re-released by many record labels over the years (see discography); and his influence has extended over many generations of guitarists. Songs recorded by Hurt have been covered by Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Beck, Doc Watson, John McCutcheon, Taj Mahal, Bruce Cockburn, David Johansen, Bill Morrissey, Gillian Welchand Guthrie Thomas.
We have also included a live recording from 1964 (29th August, folk festival Philly), audio only but just f***ing incredible:
Album of the day
Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings (1996)
….stand as some of the most poetic and beautiful of all country blues recordings. Hurt’s playing is sheer musical perfection, with a keen sense of chord melody structure to make his bouncy, rhythmic execution of it sound both elegant and driving.
~Cub Koda (allmusic.com)
- Bob Dylan 10th recording session for Blonde On Blonde in 1966.
Look for a separate post…
- Today!, also known as The Beach Boys Today! is the eighth studio album by the American rock group The Beach Boys, and their first of three in 1965. Although few realized the significance of the album at the time, Today! marked a major turning point for the band, and in particular, leader Brian Wilson’s personal life. The tracks on the first half of Today! feature an electric guitar-rock orientated sound that differs from the second side consisting of orchestral experiments and increased lyrical maturity, evident throughout later recordings.
Released March 8, 1965 Recorded June 22 – October 9 & December 16, 1964; January 7-19, 1965,
Western & Gold Star Studios, California
Genre Rock, pop Length 28:54 Label Capitol Producer Brian Wilson
-Egil & Hallgeir