Winner, Best History, 2012 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research
When Mississippi John Hurt (1892-1966) was "rediscovered" by blues revivalists in 1963, his musicianship and recordings transformed popular notions of prewar country blues. At 71 he moved to Washington, DC, from Avalon, Mississippi, and became a live-wire connection to a powerful, authentic past. His intricate and lively style made him the most sought after musician among the many talents the revival brought to light.
Mississippi John Hurt provides this legendary creator's life story for the first time. Biographer Philip Ratcliffe traces Hurt's roots to the moment his mother Mary Jane McCain and his father Isom Hurt were freed from slavery. Ratcliffe details Hurt's musical influences and the origins of his style and repertoire. The author also relates numerous stories from the time of his success, drawing on published sources and many hours of interviews with people who knew Hurt well, including the late Jerry Ricks, Pat Sky, Stefan Grossman and Max Ochs, Dick Spottswood, and the late Mike Stewart.
The book is published by University Press of Mississippi. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.
"What a wonderful book!" (Stefan Grossman, founder of Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop and Vestapol Productions)
"Phil Ratcliffe's account…is stunning in its detail." (Bruce Nemerov, Grammy Award-winning writer and musician)
"This is a keen and lively biography that manages to be both a history of the times and a highly personal portrait of an uncommon and significant artist." (Barry Lee Pearson, author of Sounds So Good to Me)