The birthday of singer/guitarist Mississippi John Hurt has always been celebrated here at sixstr stories as having been on July 3, 1893.
The first post commemorating the day appeared on July 3, 2010 under the heading “On This Day In Music History.” Each of the next 3 years saw “This Historic Day In Music” posts on July 3 continuing the festivities.
In preparing to launch another toast to this extraordinary musician from Teoc, Mississippi, I found out that July 3, 1893 is no longer considered to be his birthday!
My source in 2010 was the All Music Guide to The Blues (3rd Edition), published in 2003.
Today, the definitive source for all-things Mississippi John Hurt seems to be a book I was not familiar with: Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues – the 2011 biography by Phillip Ratcliffe.
In his book, Mr. Ratcliffe distills four possible birthdates from various sources – March 8, 1892, March 16, 1892, May 7, 1893 & May 8, 1895 – down to March 8, 1892. This is the date that is inscribed on Mr. Hurt’s gravestone and the date that his grandnephew, Fred Bolden, remembers as being when the family celebrated his uncle’s birthday.
The only explanation for the July 3, 1893 date can be found on the Mississippi John Hurt commemorative historic marker erected in February, 2008 by the Mississippi Blues Commission along the Mississippi Blues Trail in Avalon, Mississippi. The text on the marker states that: “According to a family bible, Hurt was born on July 3, 1893.”
Well, for all of us here at sixstr stories, anytime is a good time to celebrate the irresistible music of Mississippi John Hurt. So here’s a video of the man himself from his November 1966 appearance on Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest television series.
I hope you enjoyed that!
I also hope you’ll stay tuned for my post of March 8, 2021, when I promise to extensively and more-accurately celebrate the birthday of John Smith Hurt.
However old it might be… “Good music doesn’t get old.”