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Joe Bussard


Bussard maintains a collection of more than 15,000 records, primarily of American folk, gospel, and blues from the 1920s and 1930s, believed to be one of the largest (and best quality) in the world.

He was the subject of a documentary film, Desperate Man Blues, and his collection was mined for a compilation CD, Down in the Basement. He has gleefully shared his collection, which includes many only-known-copies of records (not to mention best-known-copies) with numerous reissue labels as well as with individuals for whom he has taped recordings from his collection for a nominal sum for decades.

From 1956 until 1970, he ran the last 78 rpm record label, Fonotone, which was dedicated to the release of new recordings of old-time music. Among these were recordings by hundreds of performers, including the first recordings by the guitarist John Fahey. A five-CD anthology of Fonotone releases was issued in 2005 by Dust-to-Digital.

Joe Bussard,