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Mississippi John Hurt

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John Smith Hurt, better known as Mississippi John Hurt (July 3, 1893 or March 8, 1892 - November 2, 1966) was an American country blues singer and guitarist.

Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, Hurt taught himself how to play the guitar around age nine. Singing to a melodious finger-picked accompaniment, he began to play local dances and parties while working as a sharecropper. He first recorded for Okeh Records in 1928, but these were commercial failures. Hurt then drifted out of the recording scene, and he continued his work as a farmer. Tom Hoskins, a blues enthusiast, would be the first to locate Hurt in 1963. He convinced Hurt to relocate to Washington, D.C., where he was recorded by the Library of Congress in 1964. This rediscovery helped further the American folk music revival, which had led to the rediscovery of many other bluesmen of Hurt’s era. Hurt entered the same university and coffeehouse concert circuit as his contemporaries, as well as other Delta blues musicians brought out of retirement. As well as playing concerts, he recorded several studio albums for Vanguard Records.

Born John Smith Hurt in Teoc, Carroll County, Mississippi (there is confusion about his date of birth, but the grave marker mentions March 8, 1892) and raised in Avalon, Mississippi, he learned to play guitar at age nine.

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