The Guitar of Mississippi John Guitar of Mississippi John Hurt Volume Two ... John Hurt was born in Teoc, ... His music bore some similarities to the playing of Furry Lewis and Frank

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  • The Guitar ofMississippiJohn Hurt

    Volume Twotaught by

    John Miller

  • 2

    Contents

    You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley ................................................................ 4

    Worried Blues ................................................................................................................. 8

    Avalon Blues ................................................................................................................ 12

    Richland Woman Blues ............................................................................................ 15

    Big Leg Blues ............................................................................................................... 19

    Candyman .................................................................................................................... 23

    Payday ........................................................................................................................... 29

  • 3

    About the TablatureMost guitarists who transcribe songs using tablature have their own ways of communicating what the player who wishes to play

    a song will have to do to get the job done. In this respect, Im like everyone elseI have my own wrinkles on the system. If youobserve the following points, I believe the tab will be clear. Notes with downward stems are played by the thumb of the right hand. Notes with upward stems are played by the

    fingers of the right hand. Where two notes are connected by a slur, the letters H, P and SL indicate a hammer-on, a pull-off, or a slide. An

    arrow curved upwards ( ) and the letter B indicates that the note is bent, and an arrow curved downwards ( )indicates thatthe bend is released.

    A straight arrow up or down ( e r ) indicates a strum or brush stroke. The direction of the arrow indicates the direction ofthe stroke, relative to the strings represented by the lines in the tablature.

    The tablature employs the same methods of notating rhythm as does standard music notation. A quarter note ()has the same duration as two eighth notes () or four sixteenth notes (). A single eighth note looks like and a single sixteenth note has a doubled flag (). Each of these note values has its own rest symbol, as wellthequarter rest (), the eighth rest (), and the sixteenth rest (). A dot following a note or rest adds on one half of thenote or rests rhythmic duration. An eighth note triplet ( ) divides one beat into three notes of equal duration.

    The 12/8 time signature has four beats per measure with each beat divided into three eighth notes. Thus the beat canbe broken into three eighth notes (), a so-called broken triplet ( ), or one beat (.), the dotted quarter note.

    When a note is sustained or held across beats, the notes are connected by a tie (). Where two notes are tied, only the first noteis plucked by the right handthe left hand continues to hold the position for the duration of the second note. Thus ties are helpfulnot only for indicating how long notes should sustain, but also when the left hand should move.

    Good luck and have fun!

    Mississippi John Hurts MusicJohn Hurt was born in Teoc, Mississippi in 1892, but lived most of his life in Avalon, Mississippi. In 1928, after being

    recommended for recording by his neighbors, fiddler Willie Narmour and guitarist Shell Smith, John Hurt recorded 13 songs for OkehRecords. He returned to Avalon and nothing was heard of him outside of his home area until 1963, when Tom Hoskins, a youngCountry Blues enthusiast, rediscovered him, recorded him, and arranged for him to perform at the Newport and Philadelphia FolkFestivals. From that point onward, until his death in 1966, John Hurt traveled and performed, charming audiences wherever he went.

    Such are the bare bones of John Hurts life. What of his music? It has a quality of being simultaneously familiar and mysterious,because the more you listen to Mississippi John Hurt, the more you realize how different he was, not only from other musicians of hisregion, but from anyone else in the Country Blues genre. His music bore some similarities to the playing of Furry Lewis and FrankStokes, both transplanted Mississippians who lived in Memphis, but whereas both Furry and Frank were two-finger pickers whoemployed a lot of brush strokes, John Hurt was a three-finger picker who seldom used brush strokes, preferring to pick single strings.John Hurt played with facility in E, A, D, G and C in standard tuning, as well as open G and open D tuning. Of recorded countrybluesmen of his region and generation, only Bo Carter shows comparable versatility. John Hurts characteristic rhythmic feel wasutterly distinctive, featuring a driving alternation in the bass, varied with tricky omitted beats and connecting runs. His repertoire washuge, encompassing blues of his own composition, ballads, hymns and forgotten pop ditties of his childhood.

    Playing Mississippi John Hurts songs puts you in a position to appreciate his originality and imagination, as well as the fact thatwhile his music was strong and clear, it certainly was not simple. Continuing to play his music will help keep it alive. Lets do that.

  • 4

    You Got To WalkThat Lonesome Valley

    Mississippi John HurtKey of G, standard tuning

    This was played in G, standard tuning, and was Johns version of a song popular in both the African-American and White Countrytraditions. The way John Hurt takes the sixth string along for the ride when the melody ascends the first string is a technique he alsoused in his solo to Casey Jones. The muted bass notes are indicated in the TAB by the symbol , above the affected notes.

    &

    #

    C

    VERSE

    j

    G

    j

    03

    00

    3

    j

    j

    j

    j

    3 3 3

    0 00 2

    3 3

    j

    j

    3 3 3 3

    00 0

    3 3

    j

    j

    j

    j

    03

    0 00 0

    23

    &

    #

    5

    j

    mute

    j

    3 3

    00 0

    03

    j

    D

    j

    5 5 5 53

    00 0

    5 5

    j

    j

    G

    j

    j

    5 5 3 3

    00 0

    0 0

    &

    #

    8

    j

    SLj

    7 7 7 75

    00 0

    7 7

    j

    j

    j

    j

    7 7 5 5

    00 0

    0 00 0

    j

    j

    j

    j

    3 3 3

    0 00 2

    3 3

  • 5

    &

    #

    11

    j

    j

    3 3 3 3

    00 0

    3 3

    j

    j

    j

    j

    03

    0 00 0

    23

    j

    j

    3 3

    00 0

    23

    &

    #

    14

    j

    SLj

    7 7 7 7

    0 00 0

    7 7

    j

    D

    j

    5 5 7 5

    0 00 0

    5 7

    j

    j

    G

    j

    j

    3 3 3 3

    00 2

    3 3

    &

    #

    17

    j

    j

    3 03

    00 0

    3 3

    VERSETWO

    j

    j

    G

    j

    j

    3 3 3

    0 00 2

    3 3

    j

    j

    3 3 3 3

    00 0

    3 3

    &

    #

    20

    j

    j

    j

    j

    03

    0 00 0

    23

    j

    j

    3 3

    00 0

    03

    j

    D

    j

    5 5 5 53

    00 0

    5 5

  • 6

    &

    #

    23

    j

    j

    G

    j

    j

    5 5 3 3

    00 0

    0 0

    n

    j

    SLj

    7 7 7 75

    00 0

    7 7

    j

    j

    j

    j

    7 7 5 5

    00 0

    0 00 0

    &

    #

    26

    j

    j

    j

    j

    3 3 3

    0 00 2

    3 3

    j

    j

    3 3 3 3

    00 0

    3 3

    j

    j

    j

    j

    03

    0 00 0

    23

    &

    #

    29

    j

    j

    3 3

    00 0

    03

    j

    SLj

    7 7 7 7

    0 00 0

    7 7

    j

    D

    j

    5 5 7 5

    0 00 0

    5 7

    &

    #

    32

    j

    j

    G

    j

    j

    3 3 3 3

    00 2

    3 3

    o

    3 300

    0 02

    3 3o

  • 7

    YOU GOT TO WALK THAT LONESOME VALLEY(Legends of Country Blues Guitar: Vestapol 13003)

    You got to walk that lonesome valleyWell, you got to walk it for yourselfAint nobody else can walk it for youYou got to walk that valley for yourself.

    My mother had to walk that lonesome valleyWell, she had to walk it for herselfIts nobody else could walk it for herYes, she had to walk that valley for herself.

    Oh yes, you got to walk that lonesome valleyWell, you got to walk it for yourselfIts nobody else can walk it for youYou got to walk that valley for yourself.

    My father had to walk that lonesome valleyHe had to walk it for hisselfIts nobody else could walk it for himHe had to walk that valley for hisself.

    Oh, Jesus had to walk that lonesome valleyHe had to walk it for hisselfIts nobody else could walk it for himHe had to walk that valley for hisself.

    Oh yes, you got to walk that lonesome valleyWell, you got to walk it for yourselfIts nobody else can walk it for youYou got to walk that valley for yourself.

  • 8

    &

    #

    #

    #

    C..

    .

    .

    INTRO

    j

    j

    j

    j

    n

    A

    j

    j

    j

    j

    2 2 2 02 4

    0 4

    j

    j

    n

    j

    j

    n

    j

    j

    j

    j

    0 0 2 25 4 2 2

    j

    j

    j

    j

    n

    j

    j

    j

    j

    2 2 2 02 4

    0 4

    &

    #

    #

    #

    4

    j

    j

    n

    j

    j

    n

    j

    j

    j

    j

    0 0 2 25 4 2

    4

    j

    D

    j

    2 2 23 3 3 3

    0 0 00

    j

    j

    A

    j

    j

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