Description: One CD, 16 page booklet, Jewel case
Publication Date: November 21, 2006
Availability: In Stock
Recognition: Living Blues Awards – 2007 Winner of Best Historical Reissue
Complied by Joe Bussard and Ed Gillan, this CD features 19 prime cuts from Joe Bussard’s shelves of 25,000 78s. Collectors and musicians come to see and hear first-hand what is considered to be the most vital, historically important privately owned collection of early-20th-century American music. Although other formidable private record collections exist, what makes Bussard such an undeniable force in old-time music circles isn’t simply his collection but what he has done with it over the years. It is a fusion of obsessive, almost pathological hoarding and an equally strong impulse for rampant dissemination. He has got to own the record, yes, but he wants the whole world to hear it, too.
“Still, there are reasons why even a seasoned enthusiast would pick up this set. The transfers from 78 to digital date from 2006 and they’re remarkably clear, rendering the music in splendid detail. The compilers have salted the record with some less well-known tracks. Gitfiddle Jim’s “Mandolin Blues” obliterates the boundaries between hillbilly and blues with the breakneck abandon of a runaway train scattering cattle; Billy Banks’ hot jazz “Bugle Call Rag” moves so irresistibly that knee replacement specialists could use it to create business; and the Tennessee Messarounders’ “Mandolin Blues” reminds that Bussard was once a musician and whose Fonotone imprint, mainly devoted to performances he had taped in his basement or on location throughout the rural southeast, was the last 78 rpm label in the land. And in the booklet there’s Bussard’s pithy and affectionate commentary upon each track. It is infused with unabashed awe for the accomplishments of a vanished America, the final generation to grow up without radios on farms where they grew their own food and music. If this music hasn’t grown on you yet, Desperate Man Blues should be the vehicle that brings you home.”