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Blues Wednesday – Dave Hole, John Hurt and Bill Morrissey


So while I didn’t find any new blues artist today I did listen to some old favorites. First I listened to one of my favorite blues artists Australian slide guitarist Dave Hole. I listened to his most recent release on Blind Pig Records Rough Diamond. I’ve listened to this album several times and each time I like it a little more.
The eleven tracks on the album are a mix of Hole originals and songs from composers that Dave has wanted to record. and on all of them Dave’s slide guitar is great as usual! Whether it’s a slow tune like “Yours For A Song” or an up tempo tune like “White Trash Girl” (which really caught my attention today), Hole’s guitar work is great. I have four other Hole albums in my collection and love them all and whenever I need to hear some blistering guitar I turn on Dave’s music!

“His (Hole’s) playing has unmatched fluidity. The fireworks, laser strikes, and machine-gun blast sound lubricated, and the quiet, sweet riffs are loose and flowing. Maybe it’s the assist of gravity, maybe it’s less friction of drag from his fretting hand – whatever it is, he has something new, and since 1992 he’s taken the slide world by storm.” “BLUES REVIEW”, U.S.A. (SEPT. 2003)

After Rough Diamond I switched to those “Delta Blues” and Mississppi John Hurt’s album Live This is a great recording of Mississippi John Hurt and shows of both his great voice and great acoustic guitar playing. The album comes mostly from a show at Oberlin College in 1965, a couple of years after his rediscovery and one year before his death. The last three tracks — “Hop Joint,” “Trouble, I’ve Had It All My Days,” and “Spike Driver Blues” come from the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. The album includes favorites like “Avalon”, C.C. Rider, “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor”, “My Creole Belle” and of course “Candy Man”. From the liner notes by Billy Altman

“Throughout these performances, one can’t help but marvel at the organic, instinctual relationship between Hurt’s voice and guitar”

Hurt is one of those people who bridge the gap between the blues and folk music and is welcomed by both genres. One of those folkies who was influenced by Hurt’s playing was Tom Paxton and the next thing I listened to was Paxton’s song “Did You Hear John Hurt?” Love that song and I ended the day listening to a great album of covers of Hurt’s music “Songs of Mississippi John Hurt” by another folk favorite Bill Morrissey one of my favorite albums and the album was nominated for a Grammy in 2000 for Best Traditional Folk Album. Bill’s playing was heavily influenced by Hurt and it shows as these songs all just fit Morrissey like a glove and if you didn’t know better you’d swear he wrote them!

Here’s Bill with “Candy Man Blues”

and here’s Mississippi John Hurt with “Spike Driver Blues” which closes the Live album. This clip is from Pete Seeger’s show Rainbow Quest in the 60s.