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Songs of Mississippi John Hurt

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Album Review

As Morrissey's rep is built solidly on the fine storytelling abilities so well-crafted in his original songs, it may come as a surprise to hear him in this setting, turning in equally compelling takes on Mississippi John Hurt material. Utilizing various settings and lineups to recast the material in terms other than the typical solo-acoustic-guitar folk-fest, Morrissey burrows in into the core of each of the tunes aboard in this 15-song collection. Figuring rightly that Hurt's tunes had been interpreted in a variety of ways — blues band, jug band, bluegrass, country, folk — the same free-range approach to the material works here as well, with understated but interesting versions of classics like "Avalon Blues," "Good Morning, Miss Carrie," "Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight" and "Joe Turner Blues." Recording this album in New Orleans, Morrissey enlisted the aid of Crescent City session aces Johnny Vidacovich on drums, James Singleton on bass and David Torkanowsy on piano to form the core band, with harmonica, saxophone and trumpet showing up on various tracks. As a tribute album, Morrissey has respected tradition while still bringing enough of himself to the party to make it interesting.


Born: 25 November 1951 in Hartford, CT

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Beginning in the mid-'80s, Bill Morrissey released a series of albums of original songs that startled and delighted the following he built up touring around the Northeast. By his second LP, North, he'd been picked up by the Philo division of Rounder Records. Morrissey sang in a surprisingly flexible, deep voice (somewhat reminiscent of Leon Redbone's croak, but more supple). His songs were full of humor and pathos, expressed in keenly observed details about small-town life, sometimes desperate, sometimes...
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Songs of Mississippi John Hurt, Bill Morrissey
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