Joe Bussard

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Joe Bussard
Bussard talking about 78s
Background information
Birth name Joseph Bussard Jr.
Born (1936-07-11)July 11, 1936
Origin Frederick, Maryland, U.S.
Occupation(s) Record collector
Years active 1951–present
Labels Fonotone

Joe Bussard (born Joseph E. Bussard, Jr. in Frederick, Maryland, July 11, 1936) is an American collector of 78-rpm records.

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 the first-ever recordings by guitarist John Fahey, as well as hundreds of other performers. A five-CD anthology of Fonotone releases was issued in 2005 by Dust-to-Digital.

Bussard currently produces a weekly music program titled Country Classics for Georgia Tech's radio station, WREK Atlanta. He has radio programs on three other stations, including WPAQ-AM 740 in Mount Airy, NC, WELD-AM 690 in Fisher, WV, and WTHU-AM 1450 in Thurmont, MD.

Joe Bussard has always had the collecting bug: in his teens, he and his cousin collected everything from rare coins to beehives to birds' nests. His dislike for modern music, especially hip hop and rock and roll, has been well documented.[1]


  • Beaujon, Andrew (2006-02-24), "Shellac of Faith", Washington City Paper, retrieved 2007-04-11 


  1. ^ Desperate Man Blues: Discovering the Roots of American Music. Dir. Edward Gillan. 2006. DVD. Cube Media/Dust-to-Digital.