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Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi John Hurt - Blues singer, guitarist, harmonica player (1893 - 1966)

Mississippi John Hurt was a blues musician known for his unique fingerpicking technique and soft-spoken songs that combined gospel inspiration and an acoustic folk sound. He was first recorded in 1928, but was forgotten until the early 1960's, when he was embraced by a new generation of blues aficionados and musicians alike.

Born July 3, 1893, in Teoc, Mississippi, Hurt and his family moved in 1895 to Avalon, a town on the edge of Mississippi's hill country. He dropped out of school at the age of nine to begin working as a farmer. In 1902, Hurt picked up the guitar, a $1.50 “Black Annie” his mother bought him. Self-taught, Hurt developed a distinctive three-finger style that bears no resemblance to other area musicians. He also developed proficiency with the harmonica but was always a self-accompanied musician. Unlike Furry Lewis and Memphis Minnie, Hurt refused an offer to accompany a traveling medicine show, preferring to stay close to home.

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The Best of Mississippi John Hurt
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Vanguard Records


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