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Mississippi John Hurt & Jessie Hurt - "Waiting for You" (1963 Unreleased / 2011 Spring Fed Records)

Cover Image for Mississippi John Hurt & Jessie Hurt - "Waiting for You" (1963 Unreleased / 2011 Spring Fed Records)

w John Hurt; from Discovery: The Rebirth of Mississippi John Hurt, Spring Fed Records – SFR-108

John Smith Hurt AKA Mississippi John Hurt (lest you confuse him with the actor from Alien and The Elephant Man) was a sharecropper and musician who made a handful of Country Blues records in 1928 before fading into relative obscurity. In 1963, a fan named Tom Hoskins tracked him to his hometown of Avalon, Mississippi based on Hurt's record "Avalon Blues", which eventually led to a short but legendary second career during the '60s Folk Revival. This field recording of an original song, "Waiting for You" (featuring Hurt's second wife Jessie), was made at Hurt's home the very day he and Hoskins met and was finally released commercially in 2011 on Discovery: The Rebirth of Mississippi John Hurt. There's a great article from the Library Congress that tells the story in more detail, and which includes an unreleased recording from the same session featuring Hurt's first wife Gertrude singing as well.

"Waiting for You" is another sappy love song that I love...particularly this duet version. I have to say it sounds kind of like "Diamonds in the Rough", a gospel song recorded in 1929 by the Carter Family that dates back in some form to a hymn from the 1800s. I mean, to a greater extent than all these old songs sound about the same...but anyhow I like the words a lot as well as the tune.

Before we close, here's apparently the only known color footage of Mississippi John Hurt, from the documentary American Epic (which is impossibly phenomenal by the way if you have any interest in Americana or the history of recorded music - it's got Jack White and all that, you have to watch it):

Also Check Out:

By Mississippi John Hurt:

"Stackolee" (from the 1928 Sessions) - YouTube | Spotify

"Waiting for a Train" (1963 Library of Congress recording) - YouTube | Spotify

By June Carter Cash, Earl Scruggs & the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band:

"Diamonds in the Rough" - YouTube | Spotify

By John Prine, Dave Prine, & Steve Goodman:

"Diamonds in the Rough" (I really like this song, OK, and this version's much different/transcendent) - YouTube | Spotify

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