This recording is long overdue. Growing up, my mother would play John Hurt records for me. Our farm didn't provide much in the way of wealth, but musically speaking, we were very well off. My grandfather played fourteen different instruments, and my mother could barrel house the piano with the best. However, fate can play a dirty hand. In our case, everything went up in flames including a library of (impossible to find) 78's. Years later, when Vanguard Records released the double LP: Best Of Mississippi John Hurt, "Live" I purchased it for my mother-who still plays them on an old Dual turntable! For those of us lucky enough to have met John Hurt, this record will bring joy and celebration. For the uninitiated, definitely make yourself familiar to this great man's
music. The songs on this excellent compilation are some of Mr. Hurt's best, and most recognizable sides. Vanguard chose a fine stable of performers for this outing by adding new life and a variety of styles. Check out the roster: Frankie & Albert / Chris Smither, Avalon, My Home Town / Bruce Cockburn, Angels Laid Him Away / Lucinda
Williams, Here Am I, Oh Lord, Send Me / Alvin Youngblood Hart, Candy Man / Steve & Justin Earle, Monday Morning Blues / Peter Case & Dave Alvin, Sliding Delta / Ben Harper, Chicken / Geoff Maulaur (with Jenni & Clare Muldaur), Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor / Mark Selby, Stagolee / Beck (nice job!), Since I've Laid My Burden Down / Victoria Williams, Pay Day / Bill Morrissey, My Creole Belle /
Taj Mahal, Beulah Land / Gillian Welch, and I'm Satisfied / John Hiatt. Now, if you were to ask about personal favorites from this particular recording, I couldn't give you a straight answer-the disc is just to damn good for words.
*Proceeds to benefit the Delta Blues Museum's Arts and Educational Program
This review is copyright © 2001 by Dick Houff, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.