Mississippi John Hurt at Oberlin --

Mississippi John Hurt did a concert at Oberlin College on tax day in 1965. It was near the end of my sophomore year there. I had the blues, suffering through a difficult second year of calculus and a MUCH more difficult physics class. Did I go listen to the blues that night? Nope. I learned about the concert decades later, it was not the sort of music I was into at that time. The concert was released on LP many different times. I bought my copy of the LP on Record Store Day a few years ago, when it was released again. I believe the image below is of the original album. The one I bought has a differemt cover. It was a year after that concert at Oberlin when I learned about Bob Dylan and my life began to make turns for the better, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

Hurt was brought into a recording revival in 1963 (the year I started at Oberlin) by the legendary Dick Spottswood who soon became a lifelong friend & mentor of John Fahey. The story about locating and recording Hurt is recounted in this article. That had been in March 1963, two years before the Oberlin concert. Hurt appeared at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. Dylan was there too and later on Hurt toured college campuses, including the visit to Oberlin. There is a clip of Spottswood introducing Hurt at Newport and a bit of him performing there.

Decades later I was very lucky to become a friend of Fahey, in the last years of his life. He drove me around Oregon telling me great stories about his life in music & stopping at thrift stores all over the area to look through the LP’s they had for sale. He could find the gems before I had even looked through my first bin of records. After gathering up a bunch of the good ones, John would package them up and send them to his friend, Spottswood, who would send back some spending money for John.