, born in 1892 in Teoc, Mississippi
, died in November
John Hurt spent most of his life digging ditches and performing hard, physical labor on the farms around his hometown in Mississippi, playing music only at parties and in the evenings for his neighbours and family. His first encounter with fame came in the 20's, when he started playing with a local fiddler. After a few brief recordings in 1928, including the 'Avalon Blues' and the
Candy Man Blues', he sank back into obscurity.
Only in the 1960's, during the great blues revival, was he found again, by two college students who tracked him down through the song 'Avalon Blues', locating the backwater town on an old, civil war era map. He travelled to New York, and recorded three records for the Vanguard record company, all within the span of three days; there is a story that he befriended only Patrick Sky, another southern folk singer, while in New York, and could play only after all the others in the recording studio had left. Shortly afterward, he suffered a heart attack and died, on the 2nd of November, 1966, having finally received the attention he so deserved.
In contrast to almost all the other blues artists of his time, his style was laid back, relaxed; one of his most famous quotes, "I don't like no confusion". He perfectly blends the vocals and guitar, often trailing off with his voice and letting the instrument pick up the sense. He never considered himself a bluesman, and his music is as much folk and Celtic (from the Scots-Irish background of his home) as it is blues.
Some of his most famous recordings include the Richland Woman Blues, the Avalon Blues, Candy Man, Funky Butt, and Stagolee.