The Life and Times of Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi John Hurt remains one of the most popular musicians of pre-war country blues.His intricate and lively style made him the most sought-after musician among the many talents the revival brought to light.

 Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues the first biography of this legendary bluesman. Author Philip Ratcliffe story is laced with anecdotes from Hurt’s childhood and teenage years, such as his mother purchasing his first guitar for $1.50 when he was only nine years old and how William Henry Carson taught him how to play the popular tunes of the time The youngest of ten children, Hurt’s personal story is embedded within the social history of his community and is brought to life along with the stories of his neighbors and friends, both of his wives, and his extended family. 

Many unique documents are presented, including U.S. census records, Hurt’s draft certificate, and personal letters written in his own hand. Ratcliffe details Hurt’s musical influences and the origins of his style and repertoire. The author also relates numerous stories from the time of his success, drawing on published sources and many hours of interviews with people who knew Hurt well. In addition, some of the last photographs taken of the legendary musician are featured in the book. 

Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues is now available from UPM.