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Old 04-20-2017, 01:22 PM   #401 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elphenor View Post
I want to like folk just to like Guthrie
You just need a gateway.


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Old 01-28-2018, 02:46 PM   #402 (permalink)
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Default Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi John Hurt


It’s getting late, and I have a history test tomorrow on the interwar period, but I’d much rather spend my time on something that interests me, like Mississippi John Hurt. It would be inaccurate to call him an obscure figure (even though he rarely gets mentioned before Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Elmore James when talking about innovators in blues), but he certainly might be a cult figure. Regardless, he is one of my favorite players and songwriters, and the one who inspired me to pick up the fingerstyle blues guitar after a long lack of motivation to keep playing. For this I’m grateful.

John Hurt was merely a poor, self-taught guitarist when he made his first recordings in the late ‘20s for the label Okeh. On this label he only recorded about a dozen sides, which were commercially unsuccessful and largely unknown until decades later. After this he humbly went back to working at a plantation, thus sharing the destiny of many a black American in the south. It wasn’t until the 1960s that Hurt made his first recordings for the LC after being encouraged to do so by Tom Hoskins. This was at the time of the American Folk Revival, and it was when he played his first major shows that the humble sharecropper discovered that he had, indeed, an enthusiastic following.

Mississippi John Hurt was, despite the name, largely independent from the regional delta style. He was never much of a singer, but his soft and rusty voice goes well with his highly melodic fingerpicking style that accompanies it. In Hurt’s playing, the thumb plays a combination of alternating bass and strumming, functioning as accompaniment. The melody, usually syncopated, is played with the index, middle and ring fingers. This way he achieves a rich and complete sound with just this solo instrument. Mississippi John hurt is usually classified alongside Piedmont blues players such as Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Wille McTell, (Blind) Reverend Gary Davis and Blind Blake, but I find that his general style differs notably from those mentioned, who were musch more strongly based in ragtime, and had more expressive vocal styles. Hurt, along with Piedmont blueswoman Elizabeth Cotten, has a much more simple, “folky” sound, without the relative harmonic complexity of ragtime blues. However, Hurt's renditions of songs like “Candyman” and “Salty Dog” show that he had no problems stepping into ragtime territory once in a while.

Spoiler for Some of my favourite tunes:


The first John Hurt song I heard. Taj Majal has recorded a cover version, but I very much prefer the original.



John Hurt had a sense of humor. Here he’s poking fun at bourgeois women – in a lighthearted manner, of course.



Relationship trouble is a classic theme in blues, and so is domestic violence, sadly. Still a nice tune that displays the more serious side of John Hurt.



A rag with some obvious sexual innuendo. We all know what it means to to be “stuck on the candyman’s stick”.

In a hectic and alienating world that often seems meaningless, I find comfort and entertainment in the simple and down-to-earth music of Mississippi John Hurt. Much more so than a lot of other music which is intellectually demanding. There is nothing academical about the music of Mississippi John Hurt – his humble background and self-taught playing proves that – but musical quality doesn’t have to be theoretically determined. This might be an anti-elitist sentiment on my part, but I think that anyone will agree that music has to be felt, rather than judged from theoretical parameters. Therefore, good music doesn’t require much more than a guitar and something to say. That officially concludes this post, as I have to start reading up on the Great Depression, fascism, Communist Russia and the New Deal for tomorrow’s test, which I should have done hours (days?) ago. Wish me good luck!
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Old 01-09-2019, 09:25 AM   #403 (permalink)
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Silly haikus for albums I've been digging lately


I haven't been very active on the forum this last year. Moving out, enrolling in college, working a part-time job and being politically active on the side hasn't left too much time for it. I'm a ��️usy ��️oy. Yet I'm still sticking around. So let's get started:


John Fahey - Of Rivers and Religion





Sitting on my porch
Listening to John Fahey
John Hurt’s ghost showed up

_ _ _


BD Music Presents Hank Williams




Honky tonk dancing
Get off my ****ing lawn, kid!
Ah, those were the days

_ _ _


Joe Glazer - I Will Win: Songs of the Wobblies




Hot lumber workers
Put the bosses on the run
Solidarity!

_ _ _


Cabaret, original movie soundtrack




Wine and cigarettes
Hope the nazzies don’t see us
And neither my mom

_ _ _


The Paragons - On The Beach




One more box of ice
I say to the bartender
At the beach party
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:59 PM   #404 (permalink)
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I assume that Hank Williams cover is a reference to him dying in the back of a car in the early hours of New Year's Day on his way to a gig.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:51 AM   #405 (permalink)
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I assume that Hank Williams cover is a reference to him dying in the back of a car in the early hours of New Year's Day on his way to a gig.
That's very likely
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