Today is the birthday of Mississippi John Hurt (1893-1966). For someone who’s so well known (to blues buffs anyway) his professional bio is incredibly short. A Mississippi sharecropper all his life, he taught himself an original style of finger picking and lucked into a single recording session in 1928. The records didn’t sell well so he simply continued framing. It wasn’t until his re-discovery by folklorists during the folk and blues revival of the early 1960s that he came onto the radar. He began recording and performing again in 1964, garnering national attention at venues like the Newport Folk Festival. He was only to enjoy about two and a half years of this new found adulation. He died of a heart attack in 1966.
To find out more about the history of show business, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous