Mississippi John Hurt
John is my favorite of the old blues masters for many reasons, including his musical ability, his personality, his attitudes on life and his incredible smile. The song you are hearing, My Creole Belle, is one of his best known, and showcases his fingerpicking talent and his voice. Perhaps a quote from one of his live performances will give you a feel for his gentle personality. When asked by a concert goer when they would see him again, he answered: "Well, now, I'll tell you one thing for sure," he said slowly. He raised his finger upward. "It might be up there but I guess can't none of us know for sure which of us will make it there and which of us won't." He lowered his finger and tapped his heart gently. "But we are sure to meet in here. If I keep you in my heart -- which I surely will -- and if you keep me in your heart -- and I hopes that you will -- then we will always have the other person anytime that we want to look in our heart."
Libba was "discovered" by Mike Seeger, and enjoyed great fame in her later years. While there are no recordings of her while she had a young and pleasing voice, her amazing guitar work makes her one of the performers I most admire. She was entirely self-taught, and played left-handed, but without restringing the guitar. This accounts for her unique picking styles on both banjo and guitar. Her best known song is Freight Train, which she wrote when she was 12 years old. She gave up secular music in her late teens when she found religion, and played nothing but church music till the late 1940's when working as a domestic at the Seegers got her playing guitar again. This began a musical career that had her performing on the road into her 90's.