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Desperate Man Blues: Discovering the Roots of American Music
Desperate Man Blues Discovering the Roots of American Music
Actor: Joe Bussard
Director: Edward Gillan
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
NR     2006     3hr 0min


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Movie Details

Actor: Joe Bussard
Director: Edward Gillan
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pop, Blues, Art & Artists, Educational, Documentary
Studio: Dust to Digital
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 12/05/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 3hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Desperate Man Indeed
R. Cousineau | New York USA | 10/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I`ve been getting tapes from Joe Bussard for about 8 or 9 years now.With his entire collection of 25,000 78 rpm records to choose from,I now posess a box full of tapes containing some of the best music ever recorded from the 20`s and 30`s.After hearing about this documentary I finally got to see it on IFC and I have to admit that Joe does come off as rather overbearing and gruff,full of bluster and extremely dismissive about most music made after the 1930`s.But when you start to peel back that hard exterior you will find a sensitive human being consummed by a love of the music that was captured on the those old 78 records.And while most people considered them just junk and as something to be discarded,when he started his record collecting - and he will probally spend the rest of his life searching for them - he realized he was chasing the ghosts of our musical past and though long gone,they still existed in voice and instrument on those early records...all he had to do is find them.
One thing is for sure...the first time you see his basement,even if you don`t like or can`t appreciate what he has accomplished,the sheer size of all those records is trully amazing...the entire wall full from ceiling to floor.It is awesome.Joe shares stories about cavessing for records in the 50`s and 60`s literally going door to door for hours or even days and a little history lesson about the people who made all that music...people that maybe only recorded just one record and then just disappeared,lost in time forever.
You get to hear alot of great music and also see some trully classic footage of Son House and Uncle Dave Macon among others.His story is compelling and for true music fans of old time country,jazz and blues its required viewing.An interesting overview of a man on a mission,consummed by the sound of human beings expressing themselves on those shallac discs in a musical way with performances on par with anything before or since.It is a fitting tribute to a man who one day will be known as much more than a just a musical historian or collector of early American music....he helped save the past from being lost forever.You also get a bonus disc that is much more about Joe`s everyday life than anything else but it is still a facinating glimpse into this man`s life.
As important as it is entertaining,Desperate Man Blues is a must have.Period.
Thank God For Joe Bussard
D. B Pepper | Plainview, NY United States | 07/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Thank God for Joe Bussard, the grumpy, old, Blues, Jazz and Old-Timey music-loving collector, musician, and living representative of the aforementioned music. To make a great understatement, he's a man who certainly knows his music. He has over 25,000 78 records in his collection, with no particular way of organizing any of them, yet he knows where each one of them is! This is a wonderful dvd which gives us a glimpse into his life. At a time when nobody gave a damn about the Blues, Jazz and Old-Timey music, Joe went all around America collecting and buying these records. Sometimes he had to walk through streams or go through coal mines to get the records, but this didn't discourage him in the slightest. Because of him and his eccentricities, we all have access to this wonderful music; real American music, our music! My favorite part of the dvd is Joe visiting two old black men, after he gets a call from one of them, saying that they have some old records that might be of interest to Joe, and him playing the music of their particular heritage for them. They were previously unaware of black music from the 1920s and 30s, and you can see it on their faces that they are really loving this discovery that they're experiencing. I also love hearing Joe talk about how Jazz died in 1933 and how modern music, especially rap, is garbage. I most definitely recommend picking up this dvd. There are actually two different documentaries on the disc, plus a full performance by Son House and John Lee Hooker, respectively. I hope to meet Bussard some day. In many ways, I'm a lot like him, but he's done more for this music and this country than I'll ever be able to, and that's the truth."
Inspiring tales of adventure
Thomas C. Kelly | St.Louis,Mo. USA | 05/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When I first read Joe's story I laughed out loud and cried a little too, since I saw myself as a similar type collector.No I never was as lucky as he,and I have never had the opportunity to meet him,but his enthusiasm and wiliness in the pursuit of his dream makes a budding collector want to hit the road immediately and start the search. While of course the video brings a better perspective to his being, and the accompanying musical cuts the reward...all of us in the collecting field are a little odd,some even borderline psychotic,and I think we all feel better about ourselves after seeing Joe get his just desserts which he so earnestly pursued and deserved."
Brigalow | Australia | 01/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I got this for Christmas after placing on my wish list I was really expecting to take a trip through the early blues with the likes of Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Son House and Leadbelly, but instead here is a documentary about a guy that just loves this music. Was I disappointed, NO. This is a brilliant docu on a guy that you just have to like, although I don't agree with all his beliefs, I do believe in his life long obsession. Made by an Australia documentary team, which is surprising, we follow Joe as he tracks down the lost records and meet some great people along the way. We get to see his incredible basement and his favourite diner (I would love to go there too!) I've watched this twice and went out and bought the soundtrack CD also. Wonderful."