Personnel: Mississippi John Hurt (vocals, guitar).
Recording information: Oberlin College (04/15/1965).
Unknown Contributor Role: Mississippi John Hurt.
The title of this double-LP set, later reissued on one CD, is slightly deceptive--although many of these songs were initially recorded by Mississippi John Hurt in 1928 during his brief flirtation with Okeh Records, this is not a compilation. Instead, it's a concert Hurt recorded at Ohio's Oberlin College in April of 1965, shortly after blues historian Tom Hoskins had rediscovered the bluesman in his north Mississippi hometown at the age of 71 and persuaded him to return to the music that he had abandoned 35 years earlier. Hurt sings and plays these 21 songs so effortlessly, and with the exact same genial good humor of his earlier recordings, that listening to THE BEST OF MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT next to a collection of his '20s sessions like AVALON BLUES: THE COMPLETE 1928 OKEH RECORDINGS, it's easy to imagine that no time at all had passed between them. Hurt died just over a year after this concert, so THE BEST OF MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT stands as a beautiful summation of his quiet genius.