Thursday, February 24, 2011

Music Library: Mississippi Fred McDowell and Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi Fred McDowell - I Do Not Play No Rock 'N' Roll (1969). This is apparently an atypical album for McDowell, employing electric guitars and a lot of sound that, if not for the disclaimer, one might regard as rock 'n' roll. Quite a lot of kick for a 65-year-old man, that's for sure. McDowell was known for his acoustic slide guitar technique.  The electric slide guitar on display here is no slouch, but the songs make the album.

Mississippi John Hurt - Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings (1928) and The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt (1967).  Mississippi John Hurt was one of the most important fingerstyle guitarists of the 20th century.  Like Elizabeth Cotten, his style involved playing a constant bass and melody voice on the guitar, although Hurt added in a number of harmony sounds as well.  John Fahey could be considered his most prominent acolyte.  Hurt recorded thirteen tracks for Okeh in the late 20s, present in my collection on Avalon Blues.  His singles failed to sell, however, and he went back to sharecropping.  In 1963, late in the period when many folk blues musicians from the 20s were being rediscovered, a guy named Tom Hoskins tracked Hurt down based on his 1928 song about his hometown, "Avalon Blues," about Avalon, MS. Hurt's resurgence was rather intense, with appearances at large folk shows, considerable touring, and three albums recorded between 1964 and his death in 1966.  Probably enough to drive a legendarily sweet old sharecropper from rural Mississippi into his grave.  The Immortal, the last of these, released posthumously, is an amazing showcase for Hurt's talents.  The songs range from straightforward Delta blues to ragtime to old-timey bluegrass to folk songs to spirituals, all tied together with Hurt's lovely, melodic fingerstyle picking and gentle voice.


My photo
Cary, NC, United States
reachable at firstname lastname (all run together) at gmail dot com

About This Blog

From Here To Obscurity, founded ca. 2003, population 1. The management wishes to emphasize that no promises vis-a-vis your entertainment have been guaranteed and for all intents and purposes, intimations of enlightenment fall under the legal definition of entertainment. No refunds shall be given nor will requests be honored. Although some may ask, we have no intention of beginning again.

  © Blogger templates Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP