To many people, "da blooz" is a lot of 12-bar structure, hot licks that drive the crowd wild and my-baby-she-done-left-me spiel, but there’s a class of blues player that doesn’t fit that stereotype. One such is/was Mississippi John Hurt, an acoustic country blues singer/guitarist, who began playing in the 1920s and re-emerged during the early 60s boom of folk and blues "rediscoveries," where "retired" performers were sought out by fans and musicologists for young, predominantly white audiences that had abiding interest in American roots music.
This set, recorded live at an unknown location during the 1960s, gives a nice representation of what M.J. Hurt did. With Hurt, you’ll hear about travels and troubles, but no hellhounds on his trail, no wails of anguish, no rampant machismo - he was an old-school Country Gentleman, one who bore the yolk of this life’s difficulties with genial good humor and a persevering dignity. Hurt sang in a mellow, wise voice, was an accomplished guitarist with a jaunty, precise finger-picked style that reflects the influences of ragtime and early pre-country string band music - he always sounds as relaxed and at-home on the stage of a full auditorium as on a back porch at sundown. With Hurt, you’ll also hear the common ground (musically, thematically and lyrically) shared by pre-electric blues, pre-Nashville Sound country music and black and white/Anglo- and African-American gospel and folk musics - you’ll hear how much Leadbelly, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, Josh White, Hank Williams Sr., J.B. Lenoir, Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan have in common. Those interested in the roots of American music ought to.... nay, NEED to listen to this Hurt fellow, and this 21-song platter makes a nice introduction.