There are cleaner Mississippi John Hurt recordings out there, and his guitar has been more in tune & has had newer strings than on these recordings. But there's something in that beat-up sound that gives these songs a little more edge. Strings that can't hold their notes without bleeding into a tinny noise are unnerving, and yet this singer plays on. It has to hurt a little, but maybe that's one of the messages here - you go on, even when it hurts.
Mississippi John Hurt - When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder (mp3)
Mississippi John Hurt - The Ten Virgins (When The Bridegroom Comes)(mp3)
From D.C. Blues: Library of Congress Recordings, Vol. 2