Pre-cursors to the rock snobs of today ... "Do Not Sell at Any Price": the wild obsessive hunt for ..."

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    Pre-cursors to the rock snobs of today ... "Do Not Sell at Any Price": the wild obsessive hunt for ..."

    I read a review of this book yesterday, and the review was so entertaining, even if you have little interest in reading it, I guarantee you will find the review wonderfully entertaining, too.   Honest.  


    Actually, this is a combination review for two books, but they are intertwined, and if no one else is interested, I know at the very least, my friend "Double D" will be.  And I know you are (still) here, too, so a bonus.  :)


    "Do Not Sell at Any Price: the wild, obsessive hunt for the World's Rarest 78 RPM Records" by Amanda Petrusich, was recently published.     The book is about the "finite universe of oddballs" who scrounge to collect the shellac fossils the rest of us (or many of us) consider worthless.   Reading the book will give you the insider view of what's involved, and the motivation behind collecting.   It appears to be part humor, part history, and part mystery / detective, part interview, part scrounging.   The writer does take the reader into the "man caves" of some collectors, and not only their eccentricities, but the jaw dropping collections they've harvested over the years.


    The review had me laughing out loud at times.  If it were not for these wonderfully eccentric, dedicated scavengers, a generation of music would have been lost.  It's the story behind the story.  


    The other book:  "Pioneers of the Blues Revival" by Steve Cushing.   Cushing is a long-time blues broadcaster, so he knows from whence he speaks when he says that there was a time when this music (the blues) was reviled; this meant that collectors could buy records for cheap.   No one wanted them.   They were called ni****r records, that's the way it was.   Apparently, according to the review, the writer gets into some pretty nasty, vindictive tales,  not allowing for a fair commentary, at times.  Interesting.  Collecting by one well-known collector is called a "lifelong romance, that ebbs and flows, but never dies out." 


    I read a review in the Globe, but these are from the WSJ, so if you are so inclined, take a look.  It's been very quiet here, maybe you're reading or writing instead of posting.  Either way, DD especially, I think you will appreciate these write-ups, esp. since you're the blues guy around here. 


    http://online.wsj.com/articles/book-review-do-not-sell-at-any-price-by-amanda-petrusich-pioneers-of-the-blues-revival-by-steve-cushing-1405112759


    "Darling, he's still dangerous."

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from SlimV7. Show SlimV7's posts

    Re: Pre-cursors to the rock snobs of today ...

    There's a great DVD out there called 'Desperate Man  Blues' about the most well known collector of them all (well at least to us blues aficianado),  Joe Bussard.  There's actually the final, over produced to my taste, documentary, and a rough one that I liked alot better.  Bussard is quite the character, and a pretty good guitar picker himself.  He's also an incredible snob.  There's the pre-war blues, and everything else - everything! is crap to his way of thinking. He called Rock a cancer, because it killed every other form of music. It's funny to watch him rant.


    But he's quite generous with sharing the fruits of his labor.  If you own any of those compilation albums from Yazoo, Arhoolie, and their kin, then you almost certainly are listening to something that came from Joe's private collection.   He used to drive around VA and NC and get them from folks who were either going to throw them out, or burn them to heat their houses.


    Joe also hates the Library of Congress with a passion. They want his collection when he passes, they'll never see it if he has his way.  He rightfully believes it will disappear into their vaults and most of it will never be heard again.


    Love to read that article, I will have to keep an eye  out for those books though. Bet he's mentioned in at least one of them.


     

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from devildavid. Show devildavid's posts

    Re: Pre-cursors to the rock snobs of today ...

    I'm glad that these obsessive blues snobs preserved and shared all those great 78's that would have been lost otherwise. It's kind of a reverse snobbery, in that they treasured what society on the whole rejected. Thank goodness for obsessive white guys; I'm kind of a fringe member of that club. I remember my quest to find Muddy Waters Chess recordings on vinyl in the days after the demise of the label. But I sure am glad that the advent of CD's saw so much great blues music made available for broad public consumption. Those collectors helped make a lot of great old blues available to put on those CD's.

    Although for me, the music I enjoy the most is that which is less pure. I love mongrel music, electrified blues, rock 'n' roll and r&b; transitional sounds that took their inspiration from the more primitive, un-amplified country blues. 

     
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    Re: Pre-cursors to the rock snobs of today ...

    In response to SlimV7's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    There's a great DVD out there called 'Desperate Man  Blues' about the most well known collector of them all (well at least to us blues aficianado),  Joe Bussard.  There's actually the final, over produced to my taste, documentary, and a rough one that I liked alot better.  Bussard is quite the character, and a pretty good guitar picker himself.  He's also an incredible snob.  There's the pre-war blues, and everything else - everything! is crap to his way of thinking. He called Rock a cancer, because it killed every other form of music. It's funny to watch him rant.

     

    But he's quite generous with sharing the fruits of his labor.  If you own any of those compilation albums from Yazoo, Arhoolie, and their kin, then you almost certainly are listening to something that came from Joe's private collection.   He used to drive around VA and NC and get them from folks who were either going to throw them out, or burn them to heat their houses.

     

    Joe also hates the Library of Congress with a passion. They want his collection when he passes, they'll never see it if he has his way.  He rightfully believes it will disappear into their vaults and most of it will never be heard again.

     

    Love to read that article, I will have to keep an eye  out for those books though. Bet he's mentioned in at least one of them. 

    [/QUOTE]

    Slim,
    Yes, Joe Bussard is featured / interviewed in the book and yes, he sounds very eccentric if not wildly passionate about his collection and the piece of Americana they represent.   He sounds like he'd be soul mates with the guy who called Bob Dylan "JUDAS!" -- hahah.  :)  

    Here's an excerpt from the BG review re: Bussard:

     "Petrusich treats us to a visit with the eccentric Bussard, the preeminent collector of prewar 78s whose man cave the author describes as “an homage to recorded sound.” Collecting is a competitive business, and Bussard’s stash of more than 25,000 records, exhumed from God knows where and now shelved floor to ceiling in his basement, is the envy of everyone who’s ever hunted for an uncommon country, Cajun, or gospel 78. “Bussard had things other people didn’t even know they could want,” Petrusich writes.Continue reading below.

    She delights in describing Bussard’s behavior as he spins a few of his precious platters. “At times,” she writes, “it was as if he could not physically stand how beautiful the music was. It set him on fire, animated every cell in his body.” And when the song was over, he opened his eyes and shouted: “All that for a quarter!”

    The thing with so many of the people who became collectors of Americana archival marterial is that they became experts, even if the collecting was a sideline or a hobby.  Of course, some become writers, and/or deal for a living.  But either way, they are in pockets all over the US, and once the people die, it is true that we would lose very valuable material if it isn't donated to a prominent place like LC, the Smithsonian, or a university special collections.   Bussard is very behind the times if he thinks his collection would get stuffed away and be invisible, as it is, with digitization, this world has never been *more* visible to people around the world.  

    Sounds like you'd love either book, and find the Petrusich book very entertaining, esp. since you have a head start on understanding that sub-culture.  Thanks for the insights.  Fun to read. 

     
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    Re: Pre-cursors to the rock snobs of today ...

    In response to devildavid's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I'm glad that these obsessive blues snobs preserved and shared all those great 78's that would have been lost otherwise. It's kind of a reverse snobbery, in that they treasured what society on the whole rejected. Thank goodness for obsessive white guys; I'm kind of a fringe member of that club. I remember my quest to find Muddy Waters Chess recordings on vinyl in the days after the demise of the label. But I sure am glad that the advent of CD's saw so much great blues music made available for broad public consumption. Those collectors helped make a lot of great old blues available to put on those CD's.

    Although for me, the music I enjoy the most is that which is less pure. I love mongrel music, electrified blues, rock 'n' roll and r&b; transitional sounds that took their inspiration from the more primitive, un-amplified country blues. 

    [/QUOTE]

    Yes, it is reverse snobbery, which is what is so interesting about the mentality and how hard core and dedicated the people are.   These are people that don't give a damn what anyone thinks of them, too, we can be sure of that.  (cueing Sonics ...)    

    Yes, I consider you a "fringe member" of the group as well.  Not as hard core and not as single-minded, but your appreciation is there, along with your understanding.   It also sort of maps to what you have said re: the way music has evolved, yet, we'd be nothing and no  where had it not been for these deep, deep blues roots.   I love the idea that so many of these collectors (curators is the trendy word ... ugh)  originally got so many of their treasures so cheaply, because NO ONE else wanted them.   Astonishing that these individuals are still in such hot pursuit of the "78", but it seems to be in their blood. 

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from SlimV7. Show SlimV7's posts

    Re: Pre-cursors to the rock snobs of today ...

    All that for a quarter!  Yeah, I think he yelled that out in the documentary once or twice.   In his shorts, sandals, and black socks.  Legs and feet tapping through the entire 3 minutes. 

    He doesn't seem like he's going to change his mind about the Library of Congress, even if they would take care of it all, and more importantly, share it.

    Thanks for the Globe review,  definitely will have to get a hold of those books!

     

     
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    Re: Pre-cursors to the rock snobs of today ...

    Tangentially, a well-known English radio DJ, Lauren Laverne, wrote last week about this:

    "Dave is 45 and a reader. He assumed he’d grow out of it, but somehow never did. Poor, tragic Dave. Pity him as you picture the bespoke shelving that lines the walls of his home. It cost the daft sap a small fortune. Dave’s books are organised first by genre, then author. He lives surrounded by the product of the greatest imaginations in history.

    There are crack-spined copies of his teenage favourites, some of which he still returns to. Others embarrass him, but he’s too fond to give them away. Like the delusional loser he is, Dave is still attempting to recapture the chimera of his youth by reading every day. Not just old favourites – new stuff, fiction and nonfiction from all around the world. Essay collections, poetry, short stories… the stories behind the stories. He loves history books and enjoys biographies now and then, even though he knows Oscar Wilde and John Updike wouldn’t have approved.

    Dave’s mammoth library and gargantuan knowledge of literature and its cultural context have – understandably – made him the target of sniggering sarcasm..."

    Full article here:  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/03/the-case-for-fortysomething-festival-goers

     
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