Bluegrass fans have long owed a debt of gratitude to Richard Weize and his Bear Family Records for their meticulous work in remastering classic recordings from the early days of the music, and releasing them as audiophile box sets. Their collections of vintage recordings from Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Bill Clifton, The Osborne Brothers, Rose Maddox, and Jim & Jesse are essential components of any serious library of bluegrass CDs or vinyl.
Richard has created similarly inclusive sets for fans of ’50s and ’60s folk, country, and rockabilly music as well, all with the same careful noise reduction and remastering, and including carefully detailed track notes, photographs, and historical information. There really is nothing to compare with the contributions he has made to the catalog of 20th century American music, all accomplished from his home in Germany.
His work has also involved the archiving of classic German music, and earlier this month he was honored by the Federal Republic of Germany with their Cross of the Order of Merit. This is a Presidential award which has been in existence since 1951. More than 200,000 German citizens and non-nationals have been so honored since that time in the fields of social and philanthropic work, science, entrepreneurism, international cooperation, and for efforts that enhance the standing of Germany abroad.
After having been ordered by German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Cross of the Order of Merit was presented to Richard Weize on February 2 by Bernd Lütjen.
Many congratulations to Richard Weize for this honor, along with the sincere thanks of the entire bluegrass community for what he has given us in his work.