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Mississippi John Hurt

John Smith Hurt (March 8, 1893 – November 2, 1966), better known as Mississippi John Hurt, was an American country blues singer and guitarist.

Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, Hurt taught himself to play the guitar around the age of nine. He worked as a sharecropper and began playing at dances and parties, singing to a melodious fingerpicked accompaniment. His first recordings, made for Okeh Records in 1928, were commercial failures, and he continued to work as a farmer.

Dick Spottswood and Tom Hoskins, a blues enthusiast, located Hurt in 1963 and persuaded him to move to Washington, D.C. He was recorded by the Library of Congress in 1964. This helped further the American folk music revival, which led to the rediscovery of many other bluesmen of Hurt's era. Hurt performed on the university and coffeehouse concert circuit with other Delta blues musicians who were brought out of retirement. He also recorded several albums for Vanguard Records.

Hurt returned to Mississippi, where he died, in Grenada, a year later.

Material recorded by him has been re-released by many record labels. His songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Jerry Garcia, Beck, Doc Watson, John McCutcheon, Taj Mahal, Bruce Cockburn, David Johansen, Bill Morrissey, Gillian Welch, Josh Ritter, Chris Smither, Guthrie Thomas, Parsonsfield, and Rory Block.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 8th, 1892 (Carroll County), Died November 2nd, 1966 (Grenada)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, guitar, speaker, composer

Notes: Original name: John Smith Hurt.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
OKeh W400219 10-in. 2/14/1928 Monday morning blues Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W400220 10-in. 2/14/1928 Shiverlie Red blues Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W400221 10-in. 2/14/1928 Frankie Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W400222 10-in. 2/14/1928 Casey Jones Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo and monologue, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar, speaker  
OKeh W400223 10-in. 2/14/1928 Nobody's dirty business Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W400224 10-in. 2/14/1928 Blessed be the name Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W400225 10-in. 2/14/1928 Meeting on the old camp ground Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W400226 10-in. 2/14/1928 Sliding Delta Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401471 10-in. 12/21/1928 Ain't no tellin' Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401472 10-in. 12/21/1928 Louis Collins Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, composer, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401473 10-in. 12/21/1928 Avalon blues Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401474 10-in. 12/21/1928 Big leg blues Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401481 10-in. 12/28/1928 Stack o' Lee blues Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401482 10-in. 12/28/1928 Window light blues Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401483 10-in. 12/28/1928 Candy man blues Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401484 10-in. 12/28/1928 Got the blues, can't be satisfied Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401485 10-in. 12/28/1928 Blessed be the name Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401486 10-in. 12/28/1928 Praying on the old camp ground Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401487 10-in. 12/28/1928 Blue harvest blues Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W401488 10-in. 12/28/1928 Spike driver blues Mississippi John Hurt Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Hurt, Mississippi John," accessed October 29, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104353.

Hurt, Mississippi John. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104353.

"Hurt, Mississippi John." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 29 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104353

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