Mississippi John Hurt Video Collection
September 24, 2021 3:23 PM   Subscribe

Mississippi John Hurt Video Collection

Pretty much what it says on the tin, but, oh, the cameos — both aural and visual.
posted by y2karl (19 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

When my brother's eldest son was an infant he had a reflux problem that meant he spent his first six months or so crying like a baby. I lived nearby so I was over at their place pretty often.

It was really hard for anyone to soothe him, but I worked out a knack where I would stand holding him against my chest, soften and deepen my voice, and sing
Ain't nobody's dirty business, how my baby treat me
Nobody's business but mine
Ain't nobody's doggone business, how my baby treat me
Nobody's business but my own
The boy would immediately quieten and blink up at me, yawn and fall asleep.

Then his parents would say, "Thanks Sam, see you in a few hours!" and go see a movie.

Now I work with crying infants at a daycare in Hiroshima and I sing them Mississippi John Hurt songs every day. Solomon Burke works, too.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 4:05 PM on September 24, 2021 [23 favorites]

Thank you for this!
posted by Anonymous at 7:18 PM on September 24, 2021

I am thinking that the third clip where he is being interviewed was recorded during this song's debut at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival.
posted by y2karl at 8:15 PM on September 24, 2021

This is the one that kills me every time. My relationship with my mother is complicated but this never fails to make me weep.
posted by Pembquist at 11:33 PM on September 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Excellent, thanks for posting.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:37 AM on September 25, 2021

Solomon Burke works, too.

Lemme guess, Cry To Me?
posted by thecincinnatikid at 9:17 AM on September 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much. Music like this was almost mainstream for me, in the very early 1970s, when it would appear in the mix broadcast by 'underground' radio stations and I'd hear it all the time. Now, I have to seek it out.
posted by Rash at 9:55 AM on September 25, 2021

Agreed, y2karl (and thanks for that, too!)
posted by Rash at 10:07 AM on September 25, 2021

I love him. His "Louis Collins" is etched in my soul. There's music that saves your life, that accompanies you, folds you in it's wings Guardian Angel like, on dark, lonely paths . How does it help? It articulates your own fumbling sadness and despair better than you can yourself which allows you to see it and step back an inch, into that tiny gap he breathes hope and optimism like the best blues always does. Mrs. Collins weep, Mrs Collins moan to see her son Louis carried home....
posted by dutchrick at 12:48 PM on September 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Hmmm. I better find out how to do that link business. Apologies.
posted by dutchrick at 12:49 PM on September 25, 2021

Aaagh! Apology no 2. I didn't even register that you had already posted to Louis Collins y2karl so lost was I in my ruminations and rememberings!
posted by dutchrick at 12:56 PM on September 25, 2021

Pay Day, Louis Collins and My Creole Belle were the first three tunes I learned to play on guitar. Richland Woman was the 6th. And my favorite version of that last song was sung by the then Maria D'Amato when she was with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band.

The history of which involves the legendary William E.Myers and his Lonesome Ace record label.
posted by y2karl at 3:23 PM on September 25, 2021

And now I come to find
In July of 1963, the Library of Congress was able to induce Mississippi John Hurt to come to the Coolidge Auditorium in DC and record dozens of songs as the crowning achievement of his legacy.
Mr. Hurt Goes To Washington

Forty songs to be exact. I've ordered a copy on Amazon.

And also, from the Jurassic era, there is this Previously. A forest of dead links with an epic thread. I do miss raysmj.
posted by y2karl at 3:20 AM on September 28, 2021

Well, I got the CDs but... I found the cover to be incredibly butt ugly and the notes awful.

But here, you be the judge: Sunset Boulevard Records

You can see their roster, look at the covers and read the notes. Your mileage may vary but I was especially horrified by all the cartoon covers by one Joe Ciardello. And judging by the slap dash and tossed off notes to the Mississippi John Hurt CDs, I suspect very little effort was put into the writing of any of them.

The recordings may be good but their art design and illustrations largely lack merit. Often they give the phrase third rate a bad name. What were they thinking?
posted by y2karl at 12:39 AM on October 2, 2021

I tapped the link, curious to learn why Mississippi would be particularly interested in John Hurt cameos. So I got that one wrong.
posted by thinman at 11:41 AM on October 2, 2021

I found the cover to be incredibly butt ugly and the notes awful.

I suspect that this is an aspect of new CDs no longer being a product people buy in brick&mortar stores. Shoppers aren't flipping through the record albums like we used to, looking for something interesting that catches the eye. Liner notes were never really that important, anyway; and now, since it's unnecessary to make the sale, the cover art can be farmed out to the label owner's nephew Joe, who wants to be an artist and needs something for his resume. You could just toss that part of the packaging into the recycling; I'm sure Mississippi John wouldn't care. When he first made records, they didn't have liner notes or picture sleeves.
posted by Rash at 12:18 PM on October 2, 2021

Well, due in part to Jurassic technology I don't stream so I get the physical product. A sobering thought arises each time: I remember when the CD apocalypse fell upon us. Vinyl was out. CDs were it. Funny how that worked out.

Anyway, inside the gatefold cardboard cover are printed two iconic photographs of Mississippi John Hurt playing a 1928 photograph playing a 1928 nickel plated National guitar.

They were shot by Richard Sherman in 1966. I shot a note to him about his photographs inside the CD covers and we spoke later.

Was he aware of the album, was he paid for the use of his copyrighted photographs? No on both counts. Said photographs are apparently not online by the way -- fancy that.

It makes one wonder if any performers or their heirs, as well as any photographer, involved in these productions got paid.

Hinky, very hinky. These guys are lighter-than-air in the loafers in regards to their business ethics, methinks.

PS. Mr. Sherman wrote back this:

I’m upset that MJH never got the breaks he deserved. He was about the sweetest guy you can imagine.

And neither did his heirs get any breaks. There was an internecine legal fight between his two wives and their children from which, apart from their lawyers, no one seems to have got much of a cent.
posted by y2karl at 2:48 PM on October 2, 2021

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