CANDYMAN BLUES

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
CANDYMAN BLUES
Mississippi” John Smith Hurt is an influential blues singer and guitarist. Raised in
Avalon, Mississippi, he learned to play guitar at age 9. He spent much of his youth
playing old time music for friends and dances, earning a living as a farm hand into the
1920s. In 1923 he often partnered with the fiddle player Willie Narmour (Carroll County
Blues) as a substitute for his regular partner Shell Smith. After auditioning “Candyman
Blues” at his home, he took part in two recording sessions, in Memphis and New York
City. The “Mississippi” tag was added by Okeh records as a sales gimmick. After the
commercial failure of the resulting disc and OKeh records going out of business during
the depression, Hurt returned to Avalon and obscurity, working as a sharecropper and
playing local parties and dances.
In 1963, however, a folk musicologist named Tom Hoskins, inspired by the recordings,
was able to locate[5] John Hurt near Avalon, Mississippi. In fact, in an early recording,
Hurt sang of “Avalon, my home town.” Seeing that Hurt’s guitar playing skills were still
intact, Hoskins encouraged him to move to Washington, DC, and begin performing on a
wider stage. Whereas his first releases had coincided with the Great Depression, his new
career could hardly have been better timed. A stellar performance at the 1963 Newport
Folk Festival saw his star rise amongst the new “folk revival” audience, and before his
death in 1966 he played extensively in colleges, concert halls, coffee houses and even the
Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, as well as recording three further albums for
Vanguard Records. John Hurt’s influence spans several music genres including blues,
country, bluegrass, folk and contemporary rock and roll. A soft-spoken man, his nature
was reflected in the work, which remained a mellow mix of country, blues and old time
music to the end.
Well all you ladies gather around.
The good sweet candy man’s in town.
It’s the candy man, candy man.
He’s got a stick of candy nine inch long.
He sells it fast as a hog can chew corn.
It’s the candy man, candy man.
You all heard what Sister Jones has said:
Always takes a candy stick to bed.
It’s the candy man, candy man.
Don’t stand close to the candy man.
He’ll leave a candy stick in your hand.
It’s the candy man, candy man.