Personalities | Mississippi John Hurt | Early Years | Jazz & Blues

(Vocals, guitar, 1892–1966)

A songster and fingerpicking guitarist from Avalon, Mississippi, John Hurt excelled in the pre-blues black folk ballad tradition as well as in blues, gospel and dance instrumentals. He spent most of his life working on farms and entertaining at local parties and functions for both blacks and whites. His first opportunity to record came in 1928, when the white Mississippi fiddle/guitar duo of Narmour and Smith informed OKeh Records of a talented black guitar picker that they knew.

Hurt not only contributed songs such as ‘Candy Man’ and ‘Avalon Blues’ to the blues canon, but also reinvigorated the folk legends of Casey Jones, Frankie & Albert and Stack O’ Lee. Hurt enjoyed a new career on the folk-blues circuit from 1963 until his death, recording several excellent albums and charming festival and coffeehouse audiences with his gentle nature and warm, captivating music.

Styles & Forms | Early Years | Jazz & Blues
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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