The Wire

The world's greatest print and online music magazine. Independent since 1982


Listen to Joe Bussard: An Oral History of Fonotone Records

December 2011

Stream a recording made specially for The Wire by Joe Bussard, telling the story of the Fonotone label he founded on which a young John Fahey made his first recordings.

Joe Bussard talks about the life and death of his Fonotone record label, based in Frederick Maryland. Bussard takes in John Fahey's first recordings, his own singing and slide guitar, and selling his first 50 records for $1 a piece, playing records he released on the label (including an early track featuring John Fahey singing) along the way.

Bussard recorded this programme to tape for The Wire on 10 December, and it was digitised by Lance Ledbetter at Dust To Digital. Dust To Digital also convert Bussard's weekly radio show on WREK to a podcast, which you can subscribe to via iTunes.

Dust To Digital's John Fahey: Your Past Comes Back To Haunt You: The Fonotone Years (1958–1965) was number one in The Wire's 2011 archive chart (The Wire 335), and was featured on The Wire's Sleeves Received Tumblr here. Tracklisting as follows:

Billy Huffman
"Crazy Arms"

John Duffy

Blind Thomas (John Fahey)
"Blind Blues"

Happy Johnny And Family
"Sugar Babe"

Welch Brothers
"Tearing Down The Laurel"

Possum Holler Boys
"Up Jumped The Devil"

Jackson Jug Jumpers
"Stir It Now"

Stefan Grossman (Kid Future)
"Kid Future's Blues"

Georgia Jokers
"Jokin' Georgia Rag"

Mississippi Swampers (John Fahey and Mike Stewart)
"Green Blues"

Birmingham Bill (Mike Seeger)
"Birmingham Tickle"

Gabriel's Holy Testifiers
"Lay My Armor Down"

Leave a comment

Pseudonyms welcome.

Used to link to you.