Parallel Anthology Track 80

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Icon Unknown Status.jpg Track 80: Mississippi John Hurt - Spike Driver Blues   Okeh 8692; Recorded in New York, 28.12.28


Anthology Track 80 label.jpg

Record label gives no authorship accreditation. Nor does 78discography.com.


Eric Lugosch claims this song was written by John Hurt himself [1].


According to wikipedia, John Hurt died in 1966, meaning that if Lugosch is correct, this composition is in copyright until 1st January 2037.


However, according to the Roud Folksong index, this song is a version of Roud 4299. A Roud number search returns a number of versions which pre-date Hurt's recording across a wide geographical area (Tennessee, W Virginia, Virginia, Alabama, N Carolina), the earliest of which [2] dates from 1915-16 (collected in Auburn, Alabama) when Hurt would have been in his early 20s. This version begins with the same first line as Hurt's version. Although it is possible that Hurt composed the song and that it had spread to eastern Alabama by 1915-16, this seems unlikely.


It thus seems reasonable to ignore Lugosh's statement, and treat this composition as public domain.


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