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 John Hurt

John Hurt

Birth
Teoc, Carroll County, Mississippi, USA
Death 2 Nov 1966 (aged 74)
Grenada, Grenada County, Mississippi, USA
Burial Avalon, Carroll County, Mississippi, USA
Memorial ID 5343 · View Source
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Bluesman. Born in Carroll County, Mississippi, the son of Isom Hurt and Mary McCain, he grew up in Avalon, leaving school at age nine to work as a field hand. His mother bought him a Black Anne guitar for $1.50 and he taught himself to play, developing a unique style. Playing mostly for his own pleasure, he occasionally played too for country dances and parties in Avalon and nearby towns supplementing his meager income. Hurt played with the fiddle player Willie Narmour from time to time, and this acqauintence earned him an introduction to recording producer Tommy Rockwell. In 1928, Rockwell sent him to Memphis to record for the Okeh label. Hurt cut eight songs for Okeh; only two "Frankie" and "Nobody's Dirty Business" saw release. His singing style was very smooth and sophisticated, not countrified like some of his contemporaries and therefore unique. In December 1928, he went to New York for an Okeh recording session under the direction of Lonnie Johnson. He recorded 12 cuts including "Spike Driver Blues," "Stack O' Lee," and "Avalon Blues." The Great Depression, however, put Okeh out of business and Hurt returned to Mississippi and obscurity where isolation from the modern blues sound allowed his music to continue to remain unaffected and pristine. In 1963, guided by Hurt's 1928 recording, "Avalon My Home Town", folklorist Tom Hoskins traced Hurt to an Avalon farm, where he was making about $28 a month. Encouraged, Hurt moved north, and pulled out an outstanding performance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. Hurt took his unexpected success in stride. He played concerts, folk festivals, coffee houses, colleges, and did radio, magazine and newspaper interviews. Hurt became an influence on the folk revival going on in the 1960s and inspired numerous musicians from Bob Dylan to Jerry Garcia. He had three years of fame before his death in Grenada, Mississippi at age 72.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 4 May 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5343
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Hurt (8 Mar 1892–2 Nov 1966), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5343, citing Saint James Cemetery, Avalon, Carroll County, Mississippi, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .