This Historic Day In Music: Mississippi John Hurt

Long time readers of this blog will know that when I started writing “anniversary” posts – inspired by the anniversary of a favorite musician’s birthday or the recording date of an important piece of music – I titled them with the preface: “On This Day In Music History.”

That changed in October of 2010, when I discovered a book by that title while searching around in Amazon.

“On This Day In Music History” (“Over 2,000 Popular Music Facts for Every Day of the Year”) was compiled and written by Jay Warner and published by Hal Leonard Corporation in 2004. Among the back cover reviews, D.A.Sonneborn, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, is quoted thus: “The entire panorama of popular music is illuminated in Jay Warner’s joyous journey across its days, with hundreds upon hundreds of its particulars and peculiarities.”

Really? Well…

On the page (there is one for each day of the calendar year) for July 3, Mr. Warner (a six-time Grammy-winning music publisher) commemorates these events: the birthdays of Fontella Bass (1940) and Laura Branigan (1957); hit records by Carole King (1971) and Cher (1965); three Beatles going to a party in London for the Monkees in 1967; the 1969 Newport Jazz (not so much) Festival; and the 1971 death of Jim Morrison in a bathtub in Paris, France.

No Mississippi John Hurt.

“The entire panorama of popular music” has not been “illuminated” if you’ve not mentioned Mississippi John Hurt.

So, under my new (as of October 18, 2010) heading of “This Historic Day In Music,” I again invite you to celebrate with me the anniversary of the birthdate of singer and fingerstyle guitarist Mississippi John Hurt.

First, if you haven’t read it before, please go to the blog Archives for July 2010 and read my post for today, July 3, entitled: “On This Day In Music History: Mississippi John Hurt.”

Then, if you have any recordings by Mississippi John, listen to them. (My collection includes “Mississippi John Hurt – Today!” (1967) on vinyl, “Avalon Blues 1963” on cassette and “Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 OKeh Recordings” on CD.)

Finally, or, if you’ve only got a few minutes to devote to partying right now, click on this link to YouTube and watch the video of the man himself playing and singing “You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley” from an episode of Pete Seeger’s 1965-66 public TV program Rainbow Quest.

If you do, I think you will agree that the three minutes and twenty-five seconds it takes to watch the video was time well spent.

Mississippi John Hurt passed away on Nov. 2, 1966 in Grenada, MS.

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2 Responses to This Historic Day In Music: Mississippi John Hurt

  1. TPS says:

    A wonderful voice and great technique. Thanks for sharing that video, and for the additional information on an artist that I’ve “known”, but not nearly enough.

  2. David says:

    Thank you for introducing me to this great video of Mississippi John Hurt playing one of my favorite old-time songs. The Carter Family also do a great version.

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