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Frankie: Mississippi John Hurt

Frankie is a Mississippi John Hurt classic. Played in Open G ( D G D G B D ). The original ballad was of course inspired by the story of Frankie Baker, a young black girl who killed her lover Allen “Al” Britt in St-Louis in 1899 because he was flirting with another girl, Alice Pryor (it’s easy to see how “Al Britt” became “Albert”. After Hurt's renditions of "Frankie" and "Spike Driver Blues" were included in The Anthology of American Folk Music in 1952, and an Australian man discovered a copy of "Avalon Blues", there became increased interest in finding Hurt himself. In 1963, a folk musicologist, Tom Hoskins, supervised by Richard Spottswood, was able to locate Hurt near Avalon, Mississippi using the lyrics of "Avalon Blues":

Avalon, my home town, always on my mind/Avalon, my home town.

While in Avalon, Hoskins convinced an apprehensive Hurt to perform several songs for him, to ensure that he was genuine. Hoskins was convinced, and seeing that Hurt's guitar playing skills were still intact, Hoskins encouraged him to move to Washington, D.C., and begin performing on a wider stage. His performance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival saw his star rise amongst the new folk revival audience. Before his death he played extensively in colleges, concert halls, coffee houses and on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, as well as recording three further albums for Vanguard Records