Desperate Man Blues tells the story of self-proclaimed king of record collectors Joseph E. Bussard, Jr. of Frederick Maryland. Joe has amassed probably the greatest collection of 78 rpm recordings of country, blues, jazz, cajun and gospel music in the world. He has spent most of of his waking hours in pursuit of old 78s.
Collectors and musicians come to see and hear first-hand what is considered to be the most vital, historically important privately owned collection of early-20th-century American music. Although other formidable private record collections exist, what makes Bussard such an undeniable force in old-time music circles isn’t simply his collection but what he has done with it over the years. It is a fusion of obsessive, almost pathological hoarding and an equally strong impulse for rampant dissemination. He has got to own the record, yes, but he wants the whole world to hear it, too.
Joe Bussard discusses record collecting with Justin Levy: