Alvin Youngblood Hart: Here I Am, Oh Lord, Send Me
Mississippi John Hurt was one of those bluesmen of the pre-war years, (1920s in this case), who disappeared from the music scene, and was then rediscovered during the folk music revival of the late 50s and early 60s. Many of these musicians tell of how, as children, they developed a love of blues music over the objections of their parents. The parents in these tellings believed that blues was the Devil’s music, and they would beat their children to teach them to resist this temptation. So Mississippi John Hurt may have written Here I Am, Oh Lord, Send Me in self defense. But it could just as easily have been religious devotion that inspired the song.
Avalon Blues is a tribute to Mississippi John Hurt that was put together by Peter Case. Hurt is one of the influences that you can hear in Case’s guitar playing, so it’s not surprising that Case would want to do the album. But some of the artists he asked to participate are certainly surprising. Alvin Youngblood Hart is not a surprise at all. His own albums are soaked in blues. Likely or not, the artists on this album all deliver strong performances, paying tribute to Hurt by making his songs their own.