Friday, July 27, 2007

DVD Review - Desperate Man Blues (Dust to Digital, 2006)

The desperate man in question is record collector Joe Bussard, who has made it his life's mission to collect pre-war 78 RPM records from a variety of genres including jazz, blues, country and gospel. This documentary looks at Bussard's collection and philosophy of music (moldy fig to the extreme!) and the lengths he has gone through to collect these gems. He was one of the young men (like John Fahey and Robert Crumb) that went door to door in the early 1960's looking for old 78's that has fallen out of print. It's thanks to men like these that we have reissues of musicians like Charley Patton and Son House today. In fact, one of the added bonuses on this DVD is a clip of House in the early '60's playing his classic "Death Letter Blues." So yes, it's basically a film about a record geek, but Joe's galvanic personality shines through, dancing and singing along to his finds from behind a large cigar and even larger grin. His stories are infectious and his love for the music is obvious. Record collectors and fans of old time music will love this film, but those who enjoy stories of the odd and eccentric in America will find a lot to enjoy here as well.

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