10 p.m. to Midnight Host: Steve Winters
This is a two-part program that mixes sorrow with joy. The sorrow is that Bob Feldman, the founder and president of Red House Records of St. Paul, Minnesota, one of the finest folk and roots music record labels in the business, died Jan. 11 at the relatively young age of 56. The joy is that at long last there’s been a generous boxed set reissue of some of the legendary Fonotone Recordings made in Frederick, Maryland from 1956 to 1970 by renowned record collector Joe Bussard.
After discovering the music of Jimmie Rodgers in 1947, Joe Bussard began his record collecting at age 12 in Maryland and he’s been at it to this day as he approaches 70. In addition to being one of the foremost collectors of 78 rpm recordings of America’s vernacular music ranging from the early 1900s to the 1940s, Bussard at age 19 began recording his famed “one microphone, one take” sessions in his parents’ basement and cutting 78 rpm records on his own Fonotone label that he sold for $1 each plus shipping and handling. In addition to recording regional performers, Bussard was the first to record guitarist John Fahey and bluegrass legend John Duffey. Others on the recordings include British guitarist Stefan Grossman, Mike Seeger, Jack Tottle and Bob Coltman.
Likewise, Bob Feldman left his mark on folk and roots music. He restarted the label originally created by Iowa singer-songwriter Greg Brown and built it into one of the most significant modern-day labels that, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune put it, is “a national force in the folk-music movement.” The label’s roster numbers more 190 albums and a large and diverse group of artists from “old folkies” such as Brown, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Bill Staines and U. Utah Phillips to a “new generation” of voices such as John Gorka, David Francey, The Wailin’ Jennys and Chuck Brodsky. Ramblin’ Jack’s “Gold Coast” album was a Grammy winner for Red House. The music for the Feldman portion of the program ran uninterrupted.