This post on Highway 61 led me to “They’ve Got Those Old, Hard-to-Find Blues” in The New York Times by Amanda Petrusich. It is a look into the world of 78 rpm record collectors. I posted a while back about Eden and John’s East River String Band, the band of collector John Heneghan. While I love the music, I am not a collector of records or anything. I appreciate what they do, though, in keeping great music available. Of note, the article mentions King Solomon Hill. He was from McComb, Mississippi, my hometown.

The article neglects to mention the biggest figure in the field, Joe Bussard. By chance, I watched Desperate Man Blues, a documentary about him, within the last few months. His passion for the old music is a pleasure to observe. Every record is a story for him. Dust-to-Digital put out another shorter feature on him, Joe Bussard: King of Record Collectors. Watch the trailer on YouTube.  I also found this story about him from NPR‘s All Things Considered. I will write Petrusich to see why she left him out of her article.


Michael M. on July 29th 2009 in General, Movies, Music, Recorded

2 Responses to “78”

  1. The Celestial Monochord responded on 10 Aug 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    Did you get a response from Petrusich? I correspond with her now and then, and she seems to be a major mensch.

    I have also tried to correspond with Bussard many time – following his own instructions for contacting him and asking him questions and getting his catalog, etc. Although I repeat the procedure every few months, I’ve never gotten a response – a fact which lends a certain faint air of dishonor to the man in my eyes.

    My best guesses are: (1) Petrusich recognized that every article about 78 collecting always focuses on Bussard, without fail, to the point where you’d think he was the only collector on Earth. He has become a tired subject. (2) Maybe he didn’t answer her inquiries either.

  2. Michael M. responded on 11 Aug 2009 at 5:46 am #

    She wrote me a nice reply. She left out Bussard because the article focused on pre-war blues and the Paramount label. She recommended Desperate Man Blues. As written above, I just watched it earlier in the year.

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