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Desperate Man Blues (2003)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 119 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 3 critic

A documentary of the life of record collector Joe Bussard.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Joe Bussard
Susannah Anderson
Barbara Brown
John Cooper
Helen Crouse
Eddie Dean
Paul Geremia
George Scott
Elizabeth Siwinski
Edward Gillan
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Storyline

Record collector Joe Bussard parties like it's 1929! A cultural scavenger, musician and broadcaster, he was a pioneer in the preservation of 78rpm records and the roots music produced in pure and undiluted form in the 20s and 30s. Bussard has rescued priceless shellac artefacts from attics and basements across the US for more than 50 years. He has amassed a vast collection of more than 25,000 rare discs. At 65 Bussard has the enthusiasm and energy of a 16-year-old and will happily spin 75-year-old records all day for anyone who will listen. All the while he gives a running commentary on the music and performer, reliving the day it was made and relating some crazy tale of how he came to rescue the record! Written by gillan@cubemedia.com.au

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roots | son | patton | johnson | jazz | See All (9) »

Taglines:

Discovering The Roots Of American Music

Genres:

Documentary | Music

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Release Date:

7 August 2003 (Australia)  »

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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Death Valley Is Just Halfway To My Home
Written by Lonnie Johnson
Performed by Lonnie Johnson
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User Reviews

 
Rock Music is a Cancer
14 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The best part of this documentary was when Joe Bussard was asked what he thought of rock music. He described it as a cancer which has destroyed all of American music since its inception. When you think about it, he's probably right.

As he says, it's music played by idiots who can't even play their instruments well, have to use electronic gimmickry to hide their incompetence, have no knowledge of the music of the past, and was meant to appeal to immature children.

This is coming from Bussard's viewpoint as a musician. He demonstrates that he can play the guitar, as well as the mandolin and banjo, very well.

Today, rock music is used on every commercial on TV to push any type of product you can imagine.

All types of rock are used- Punk, New Wave, Hard Rock, etc... ad infinitum.

The fact that Bussard collects music of the 20s and 30s (and some blues and country up to the 50s) is part of his effort to preserve non-commercial American music and make it available for people to appreciate.

He does this by playing his 78s on his radio show and offering to make cassette tapes of his rare records for a few dollars.

Bussard was a "trust fund baby" and has never had a steady job, so he has been able to spend all of his 78 years hunting for the American music described above.

The film shows him going on some record hunts and listening to his favorite records in his basement of 25,000 rare records.

It could have been more informative by interviewing some musicologists (although Bussard has nothing but disdain for them)and people in the present or past record business to make it a little more rounded a viewpoint, but the director didn't seem interested in that aspect of the subject.

On a completely unrelated aspect of this film- does anyone know what breed Bussard's dog was? He looked a lot like mine, a Briquet Griffon Vendeen.


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