Boomkat Product Review:
Back in stock! *Quite incredible box set here, packaged in a sublime cigar-box shaped object of desire, complete with all manner of oddities inside, plus 5 cd's of incredible music from John Fahey's favourite record label in the world...* Joe Bussard's Fonotone label receives the full treatment from Dust To Digital, for whom he worked compiling tracks on their Grammy nominated gospel collection "Goodbye Babylon". For this splendid set, reel-to-reel masters, unplayed for decades but pristine, were painstakingly remastered; forgotten Kodak slides in old cigar boxes were dusted off & retouched; and musicians of all stripes who had disappeared more than 35 years earlier were tracked down. Five discs, 131 tracks, beautiful 160 page book, a lovely postcard pack all housed in a box Castro could be proud of. After hoovering up some 15000 records made between the 20's and 30's, Joe Bussard decided to make recordings of some guitar picking pals in his local national guard unit. Little did Bussard know that his hobby would turn into a 14 year odyssey that would result in hundreds of custom made 78rpm records to be issued on his own Fonotone label out of his parents basement in Frederick, Maryland, the last label to be working commercially with seventy eights. Rags, jugs, blues, true country, hillbilly and bluegrass hoedowns are the order of the day, in seeming infinite variety - the "final lingering barbaric yawps of old time music" replayed here in hugely accomplished fashion by Bussard's trusty chosen accomplices: John Fahey's infamous first sides recorded as Blind Thomas are here, incredible five finger rolls with gallows intent and gravity to match - awesome stuff. Fingerstyle assassin Stefan Grossman also appears as Kid Future, the title "Delta crapation" making sense when you hear he recorded it after Bussard had been playing him some recorded farting from the twenties!!! The nickel-plated bottle opener contained within this opulent box comes laden with more significance than a next open long-neck: it performed a double function as Bussard's preferred pick when playing. As summation of this excellent set, its enough to say that without the efforts of Joe Bussard, Fahey and their honoured company, this music might surely have perished. Fans of the Harry Smith anthologies in particular will be in their element here, and in the words of the man "civilized man thinks out his difficulties or at least thinks he does, primitive man dances out his difficulties". Amazing music.