Country Chat - January 2021
January 2021. Sadly, we announce the passing of BACM’s co-founder Dave Barnes, long time collector and promoter of traditional country music. BACM began as his personal record collection in the early 1950s and has grown to over a million items, books, sheet music, photographs, films and recordings (over 660,000 tracks at the latest count!)
In the late 1980s he turned the collection into a formal archive, the British Archive of Country Music (BACM) as a non-profit to preserve and catalogue the recordings and other country materials for posterity and to be of use to researchers, record companies, radio and TV presenters and students.
Then in early 2002, Dave launched the BACM record label in partnership with his friend, country musician and fellow-collector Brian Golbey. The aim was to unearth historic recordings, both from the Archive and from the collections of other country enthusiasts around the world, and make them available on CD to new audiences. Now, 19 years on, these BACM releases have reached 670 CDs and represent one of the most extensive sets of roots country music available anywhere. They cover all genres and all eras from the 1920s to up to 1963. Around 20,000 recordings have now been released, many rare and never previously available in CD format, all acoustically researched and expertly restored (thanks to Brian’s expertise and musician’s ear).
We also have our second label, the Chart Memories series covering the ‘Top 100 country/pop crossover hits for each year from 1950 to 1963. We have so far released years 1955 to 1963 inclusive. The four 1954 discs (with the 100 top country ‘hits of that year) will follow in the next month or so.
The BACM team are dedicated to continuing the work making our CDs available to country collectors around the world.
Returning to Dave Barnes, those of us who had the privilege of working with him knew him to as an authentic good man and loyal friend, a true gentleman. He often cited Gene Autry as his role model for the ideals of decency, hard work and fair play and carried this fair play ethic through to how he treated customers, for example guaranteeing that if they ever had a problem with their purchase, the customer would be “ in the right”.
He continued working at the Archive right up to the last, loving what he was doing. His philosophy is well reflected in the comments he made in an interview with Martin Hawkins a few years ago: “I’m just a backroom boy. I’m trying to preserve what I bought and what I’ve got – music that otherwise might be lost. It’s been fun, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m in ‘Cowboy’s Heaven,’ which was the first record that I purchased by Gene Autry.”
Signed, BRIAN GOLBEY and BARRY FARNES
Directors BACM, The British Archive Of Country Music
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