Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Mississippi John Hurt: Rediscovered [Vanguard, 1998]
Who needs a best-of on the most important artist ever to emerge from the Mississippi Delta? With every Vanguard save the live double superb, buy all three like he was Al Green or Otis Redding and be done with it. Only (a) you don't believe me so you're not gonna and (b) this skillfully selected and segued bargain is the one I'll play too. Beyond his songster's repertoire and his self-taught guitar style (it's said Segovia asked who the other guy was), Hurt's gift was a sweetness of temperament that normalized every subject he touched, from murderous men and adulterous women to Maxwell House coffee and shortnin' bread. Hence, Robert Johnson gets all the ink. Violence as only an aspect of life--what a wimp! A+