Avalon Blues

Mississippi John Hurt

Locating John Hurt

This record was made by Mississippi John Hurt (guitar and vocals) in New York City on December 21, 1928.

In 1928, Mississippi John Hurt recorded thirteen songs on the Okeh label, but these were commercial failures. Hurt then drifted out of the recording scene, continuing to work as a farmer. A copy of one of his recordings, “Avalon Blues,” was later discovered. The title of which gave the location of his hometown and inspired a growth of interest in Hurt’s whereabouts. Tom Hoskins, a blues enthusiast, would be the first to locate Hurt in 1963, following the clues of the “Mississippi” in Hurt’s stage name, and the lyrics of this song, “Avalon, my home town,” located Hurt living in a simple shack in tiny Avalon, Mississippi, the same shack pictured early in the video. 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 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. He also recorded several studio albums for Vanguard Records.

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