Rick- Amen to that, Stefan did do the work and is still doing it.I can't imagine someone sitting down in the mid-sixties trying to transcribe BL Jefferson off a scratchy old 78 and thinking this is my ticket to untold riches. Had to be a labor of love. You got me thinking that without him we wouldn't have a good part of Reverend Gary Davis' repertoire and may never have heard of players from the Kicking Mule era like Duck Baker, Ton Van Bergeyk, Dave Evans et al. More recently I've been knocked on my ear by a couple of great CD's he's produced, Ramble to Cashel and Blarney Pilgrim which introduced me to Pat Kirtley, Tom Long and Steve Baughman and caused me to get serious about DADGAD. Will the man never cease!? I hope not.
As for his heavy handed bass and "scratchy" textures I think that's quite deliberate. To my ears he's a string snapper in the tradition of Willie Brown and Bert Jansch to name a few.