The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus (w/ a mark that plays 5 times, mostly at a moderate level, near the end of track 5)
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Three: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Four: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- Insanely good sound on all four sides with each earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades - exceptionally quiet vinyl for the most part too
- As is often the case with old records, the title is misleading - this is simply a live recording from 1965 of MJH accompanied by his guitar running through a batch of his favorite folky blues songs
- "Hurt was remarkably consistent as a performer... the skill and delivery is always steady, professional, and charming. Among the highlights in this set is his intricate and atmospheric slide guitar work on "Talking Casey," one of the few times Hurt abandoned his trademark three-finger guitar picking style." - All Music
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This vintage Vanguard pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1971
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
What We Listen For on The Best of Mississippi John Hurt
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
Here Am I, Oh Lord, Send Me
I Shall Not Be Moved
Nearer My God To Thee
Baby What's Wrong With You
It Ain't Nobody's Business
Salty Dog Blues
Avalon, My Home Town
Make Me A Pallet On The Floor
Since I've Laid This Burden Down
Monday Morning Blues
Richland Women Blues
My Creole Belle
You Are My Sunshine
Mississippi John Hurt did a live 21-song set on April 15, 1965, at Oberlin College in Ohio, a scant two years after his rediscovery in 1963, and a year before his death in 1966. Hurt was remarkably consistent as a performer, whether you listen to his famous 1920s Okeh tracks, his rediscovery studio work for Vanguard Records, or the handful of live shows like this one: the skill and delivery is always steady, professional, and charming. Among the highlights in this set is his intricate and atmospheric slide guitar work on "Talking Casey," one of the few times Hurt abandoned his trademark three-finger guitar picking style.
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