Friday, December 3, 2010

Mississippi John Hurt

Guitarist and singer Mississippi John Hurt (1892–1966), listening closely. From an episode of Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest television series with Hurt, Paul Cadwell, and Hedy West, first broadcast on Monday, November 20, 1967. I still remember watching episodes of Rainbow Quest on New York’s Channel 13 (educational television). Hearing and seeing Seeger and company — I remember Reverend Gary Davis, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, and Doc Watson — was like picking up audio and video transmissions from a distant planet, or at least a planet far from the suburbs of New Jersey. Little did I know that Rainbow Quest was taped on planet Newark.

My debt to John Hurt is great: like many other young guitarists, I learned to fingerpick by listening to his records.

There are one, two, three clips from this Rainbow Quest on YouKnowWhat. I found the broadcast date via the New York Times archives.

comments: 2

Pete said...

I love Hurt. The first time I heard him, I couldn't believe it was just one guitarist. I've got the LP of Today! stashed away in my attic but I just might have to buy it from iTunes.

Michael Leddy said...

The 1928 “Frankie” in particular is a fingerpicking marvel, no?

The other two studio LPs for Vanguard have some gems, but Today! is easily the best. Enjoy!