Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Down in the Basement - Joe Bussard's Treasure Trove of Vintage 78's 1926-1937

Joe Bussard is a record collector who has amassed probably the largest selection of 78's on the planet - over 50,000 of them! - and has always enjoyed sharing the music with fellow lovers. This is the first CD culled from his vinyl, though hopefully there will be plenty more! While some of these tunes may be known from other compilations, others are not known to exist outside of Bussard's basement.

The tunes range from blues to bluegrass to early jazz to gospel to country and any permutation in between! There is an extensive booklet included with Joe's story along with copious notes on every song. I love pretty much everything here, though highlights include the painfully morbid "The School House Fire" (Dixon Brother's folk/country), the Weems String Band's bluegrass version of "Greenback Dollar", Charlie Jordan's "Keep it Clean" blues, the frantic mandolin bluegrass of Colman & Harper's "Old Hen Cackle", an early, yodeling Gene Autry cut, "Atlanta Bound", the fiddle-led, Cajun "Easy Rider Blues" (Soileau and Robin), Gitfiddle Jim's raging slide work in "Paddlin' Blues" and the closing fiddle masterpiece "Plow Boy Hop" by the Grinell Giggers.

I seem to be delving farther back into the history of popular music and am realizing just how much terrific stuff is out there. This is a superb compilation of early American music showing the variety and quality of songs that have been recorded throughout the years. Well worth it!