26 April 2006

Helter Skelter

Saw a great film this week about the record collector and fantastic character Joe Bussard. Desperate Man Blues documents Joe's unparalleled collection of 78s, amassed by knocking on doors and scouring basements in southwestern Virginia and neighboring areas. Joe, who hated Elvis and thinks the Beatles were crap, has some pretty strong opinions about what constitutes "real" jazz and blues (more or less nothing after 1940 is "real"). Still, he now has a myspace page...

You can listen to the non-crap version of Helter Skelter by the Welch Brothers (and a bunch of other samples from Bussard's collection) on the Fonotone Records website, Joe's company and "the last 78 rpm record label in the land." Tivo caught Desperate Man Blues for me on one of the Encore channels, but I haven't seen it on any upcoming schedule, nor is it available through Netflix. If you're not up for buying a copy, this article is great read and you can listen to an All Things Considered piece on Joe.

Bussard only half jokes about marrying his wife for her record collection, and he harbors a lot of disdain for the Library of Congress. The archivist in me couldn't help but wonder what will become of the priceless collection he's created, and through whom and how access will continue to be made available as Joe has done (not that he appears to be going anywhere anytime soon)...

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