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    this is the hammer that killed john henry, but it won't kill me

    Spent some of the day today working on cleaning up and improving the Wikipedia page for Harry Smith's fantastic illegal masterpiece of curatorial preservation, the Anthology of American Folk Music... the page is still imperfect, but a lot better than it was when I got there.

    Anyway, it gave me the opportunity to go back and listen through a few Anthology discs, and since I'm trying the annual experiment of posting more music to this blog, I thought I'd pick out a track to pass along... so here's Mississippi John Hurt's "Spike Driver Blues," sung from the perspective of a railroad worker who, (understandably!) reluctant to end up like the great (but dead) John Henry, quits the spike driving business and heads back home. This slice of back-roads Americana dates back from 1928, but aside from the old vinyl noise, I think it could pass for a contemporary piece of blues-inflected folk. Enjoy.

    Listen: Mississippi John Hurt, "Spike Driver Blues"

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    Thursday, October 23, 2008
    6:11 PM


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