on September 18, 2003
Joe Bussard has one of the coolest record collections on earth.
He started his own pirate radios station in his parent's basement when he was a teen in the later 40s. He later did real radio shows and still does. He started collecting records when he was 12 years old and he still does. He started his own record label called Fonotone and John Fahey recorded his first records in Joe's basement. This comes with a 74 page incredible illustrated an informative book. Too bad there's only ONE disc considering the size of Joe's collection, but we can all hope and pray for this to be the first in a loooooooong series of such anthologies. This set of 24 old-time songs, hillbilly whoops, jazz, country blues, gospel, jug bands, and more, feels as alive today as the moment it was created. This is so great, get it and you'll be rewarded with some incredible music and a cool visit with Joe Bussard by way of the extensive liner notes and images.
on June 30, 2005
Late one night I caught a film called "Desperate Man Blues". It was all about Joe Bussard and his record collecting. I am a blues fan and imagine my delight (when I came across "Treasure Trove.." on the Amazon site) when I found this great album. This album is brilliant. Each track is a gem. Once I heard this album I started looking for more. Then to my great delight the film "Desperate Man Blues" is now issued on DVD and the music from the film has been released on CD. (Also called Desperate Man Blues"). Joe has a great and honest style on the DVD that I loved from that first moment. The DVD has excerpts from Joe's radio show and other goodies. Check out [...]
Thanks Joe for searching (collecting) out great music.
on December 1, 2003
This record is a complete blast, from the track selection to the packaging. Joe Broussard owns 50,000 78s of gospel, old country, blues, cajun, etc and 24 of them made it on this disc. The sound is sparkling and the only clunker track is "Give the World a Smile" by the Corley Family. Good to hear some obscurities alongside Rev Gary Davis and Big Bill Broonzy and I'm glad the world has at least a couple of pale record freaks who like to sit in their basements sniffing shellac and collecting pristine old-time music. Makes me want to go steal a Victrola!
on September 8, 2003
Bussard is a legend among old record collectors and this opening of his vaults promises musical bliss. For the complete story on Bussard go to [...] -- and after reading it you'll have to agree with the previous reviwer that one CD is not enough. Maybe there will be future volumes....
on February 9, 2005
there is nothing more to say, really. the other reviewers all got it right (except the part about the corley family's cut being a clunker - i love that one.) to think that this is less than a thousandth of this guy's collection makes me salivate for another disk. from the dawn of the recorded age - 20 years earlier and all this would just be gone in the air...
on December 12, 2005
It's fitting that my 78th review on Amazon is for this CD of 78s. This is one of the best CDs I've acquired in some time. Not only is the CD packed with two dozen recorded gems, but the accompanying booklet is one of the best I've seen. Yes, this collection is more about Joe Bussard and his collection than about the music itself--but that's not a bad thing. To the collectors: don't worry--discographical information and brief paragraphs about each tune on the disc are included.The collection is an assortment of jazz, blues, and "hillbilly" records from the 1920s and 1930s, most of them quite rare. The sound quality is marvelous! The producers were careful to use only minimal noise reduction, with none of that artificial reverb or phony stereo that ruins so many other reissues of vintage recordings. The result is not CD-quality surround sound, rather, you feel like you're listening to brand-new, clean copies of the original 78s on good equipment. You'll be amazed how nice these old records can sound! The booklet provides some fascinating anecdotes into Joe Bussard's collecting life, including stories about how he came to own many of the records on this CD. As you read, you'll follow Joe down the backroads of Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia, knocking on doors asking for "old records." Collectors will instantly spot taht in some cases, only two or three known copies of a particular 78 on this CD are known to exist. Thank goodness Mr. Bussard is keeping them safe and sharing them with producers of reissues of vintage material. This is a CD I play often, with one of my absolute favorites on the disc being "Get the 'L' on Down the Road." With some hot bass-slappin', hotter jug blowin', and even hotter lyrics, that one's worth the price of the disc alone! There's lots more where these records came from. Let's hope more of them make their way on to CDs like this one. Highly recommended!
on July 14, 2006
A generous 24-track helping of some of record collector extraordinare Joe Bussard's favorites. The examples included run the gamut of early 20th centruy roots music ranging from Hillybilly music to Blues, Jazz, Jug Bands and beyond.
Sound quality is top notch -- these guys really know how to do 78-RPM transfers. Also Joe's records seem to be in excellent condition to begin with so not a lot of noise reduction is required. This is one of the very finest sounding discs of 78-RPM transfers that I have heard.
Packaging is also lavish with a 70 page booklet that contains annotations for each of the 24 tracks, and lots of interesting photos of vintage record labels and packaging, as well as several essays and stories about Joe's record collecting career. There's much of interest here for those who love Roots music.
on February 4, 2006
I had not heard of Joe Bussard before this collection though I consider myself an avid music enthusiast and budding collector. After having heard this disc (and having read the extensive liner notes) I'm more than a little green with envy over Bussard's collection.
This disc collects some of Joe's personal favourites with names more familiar (Big Bill Broonzy, Gene Autry, Uncle Dave Macon) and some that will prove obscure to all but the most investigative record collectors (A.A. Gray and Seven-Foot Dilly, Fields Ward and the Grayson County Railsplitters, The Stripling Brothers). It's also cross-genre so if you only like country, or only blues, or only gospel, this will not be the collection for you.
Besides the songs themselves, which would be enough to make this a good buy, the packaging tells you a lot about WHO Bussard is (been collecting records since 12, once ran a pirate radio station), WHY he collects ("You ever smell the sleeves? They got that real funny wood smell to 'em.") along with some great stories about the "finds" he's made over the years. He's enough of a character that I'd love to watch the documentary about him. You also get brief bios for each of the performers included (a paragraph or two) as a nice bonus.
Twin fiddle workout "The Lost Child" has served as the radio theme for Bussard for years and I can see why. It's a keeper that alternates smooth fiddling with some nice staccato that implies the child might be "skipping" at play. Jazz-blues "The (New) Call of the Freaks" has an insistent chorus ("Stick out your cans/Here come the garbageman...") while Blind Gary (AKA Rev. Gary Davis) does a great gospel blues sermonette in "You Got to Go Down" ("You got to learn how to treat everybody/cuz you got to go down...ashes to ashes and dust to dust"). Charley Jordan's risque blues "Keep it Clean" is a standout as well. Autry's "Atlanta Bound" is far from the cheerful image of the man who sang "Rudolph": he's promising to kill the "rounder" who's dallying with his wife.
The only tune here I found unlistenable is the gratingly off-key family gospel tune "Give the World a Smile" by the Corley Family. Despite the nice sentimental lyric, I just couldn't stomach the singers themselves.
If you have an interest in early music that's not restrictive to a single style, this is a very nice collection with some gems that would otherwise be lost.
on January 27, 2006
This title aptly describes this CD of Joe Bussard's collection of rare hillbilly, jazz and blues tunes of the 20s and 30s.
Some genuine Black folklore and one of the rarest records of all time (from the Black Swan label of the 20s) appears in "Stack O' Lee Blues." Then the legendary Blind Blake does a 20s style rap on "Hastings Street" (then the main drag in Detroit's ghetto, John Lee Hooker would later sing about this street). Bessie Brown's extremely raw "Song from a Cotton Field" is a blunt-no holds barred unsentimental look at Black sharecroppers. A VERY early protest song. Hard to believe she was allowed to record this at the time. As for the Hillbilly tunes, they're also fun. The ever-entertaining Uncle Dave Macon charms us with a banjo solo of the hymn "Rock of Ages" before breaking down into his usual swing-your-partner brand of hokum. Oh what FUN!
If listening to tunes that grandma and grandpa enjoyed while cranking up the old Victrola is not your idea of a good time, you may change your mind after a listen to this! Also recommeded, "Stomp and Swerve" and "Lost Sounds" form Archophone records.
on February 7, 2009
I have read about Joe Bussard's passion for collecting old records and found his story fascinating, since all us "record nerds' can relate to him at one time or another. This is an excellent collection with original recordings from the 1920's and 30's featuring one of my favorites, The Weems String Band's Greenback Dollar from 1927, recorded on Columbia. How do I know this? Because Old Hat records provides us with dates, personnel, labels and stories about the artists along with excellent repro of the music. This one has 24 cuts featuring legends like Big Bill Broonzy, Gene Autry singing like Jimmie Rodgers, Banjo legend and showman Uncle Dave Macon and The Stripling Brothers' fantastic "The Lost Child", a fiddling romp. The Old Ark's A Moving by A.A. Gray and SevenFoot Dilly is one of those songs you can't get out of your head. Even weird jazz enters the mix with Luis Russell's 1929 record of "Call Of The Freaks" which sounds like you're drunk when you hear it. Lovers of early American roots music will treasure this fine collection. It really is a lot of fun, and if anyone makes fun or criticizes you for listening to this...they're stupid..and just ignore them.