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Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi John Hurt Influential blues singer and guitarist.

Born: July 3, 1893, Teoc, Carroll County, Mississippi
Died: November 2, 1966, Grenada, Mississippi

Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, he learnt to play guitar at age 10, and spent much of his youth playing old time music[?] for friends and dances. Earning a living as a farm hand, he continued in this vein until into the 1920s, often partnered with the fiddle player Willie Narmour. In 1928, after his "discovery" by a mobile recording unit associated with Okeh records[?], he took part in two recording sessions, in Memphis and New York City. After the commercial failure of the resulting disc, Hurt returned to Avalon and obscurity.

In 1963, however, a folk musicologist named Tom Hoskins, inspired by the recordings visited Hurt and encouraged his return to performance on a wider stage. Whereas his first releases had coincided with the drop in sales due to the Great Depression, his new career could harldy have been better timed. A stellar performance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival[?] saw his star rise amongst the new "folk revival" audience, and before his death in 1966 he played extensively in colleges, concert halls and coffee houses, as well as recording three further albums for Vanguard. A soft-spoken man, his nature was reflected in the work, which remained a mellow mix of country, blues and old time music to the end.

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