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Candy Man Blues - Essential Recordings

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Album Review

A gentle blues songster with an impressive acoustic guitar style, Mississippi John Hurt made a handful of wonderful recordings for OKeh Records over a pair of sessions in 1928, but he never developed a professional career and dropped from sight shortly afterwards. Hurt was rediscovered in 1965 during the folk and blues revival, and the considerable guitar skills and gentle vocal approach that highlighted his 1928 recordings were still very much intact. He recorded four albums for Vanguard (one of them was actually a concert recording made at Oberlin College in 1965) in the mid-'60s, each of them a pure delight. This brief sampler of his rediscovery recordings includes fine versions of such traditional country blues fare as "Candy Man," "Louis Collins," and "Spike Driver Blues" as well as Hurt's personal calling card, "Avalon Blues." The sequence here really isn't long enough to truly do justice to this engaging, charming, and always gentle songster, but it'll do in a pinch.


Born: July 3, 1893 in Teoc, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '00s, '10s, '20s, '30s, '60s

No blues singer ever presented a more gentle, genial image than Mississippi John Hurt. A guitarist with an extraordinarily lyrical and refined fingerpicking style, he also sang with a warmth unique in the field of blues, and the gospel influence in his music gave it a depth and reflective quality unusual in the field. Coupled with the sheer gratitude and amazement that he felt over having found a mass audience so late in life, and playing concerts in front of thousands of people -- for fees that...
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