Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Record Store Day in 15 minutes.

As mentioned in the previous post Stockholms Scooter Premiere this year took place on the same day as Record Store Day in sweden (which for some unexplained reason is one week later than in the UK). A bit of a bummer, since that means quite a clash between two of my biggest passions - scooters and music. I would of course have liked to attend both, but decided to prioritize the scooters. However, that didn't stop me from visiting at least two stores that just happened to be located nearby Nytorget where all the scooters were on exhibition after the rideout.

I did not have much time to spare, and it was packed with people so I went straight for the 45 section and just flipped through it quickly. I'm sure I could have found a lot more if I'd have taken the time to search through all the bins thoroughly, but to be honest I'm not too displeased with the few records I did pick up. Plus, my wallet is probably pretty thankful too.

The very first 45 I looked at happened to be the official Record Store Day-release of Gloria Jones Tainted Love (yes, yes - I know some peoples opinions on buying reissues, but frankly I'm not that bothered so no comments about that please). Probably the classic of all classics on the Northern Soul-scene (and perhaps even the soul-scene in general) and the flipside Come Go With Me ain't too bad either so naturally it's one that I have wanted in my collection for quite a while. But, since you seldom stumble upon it by chance and I haven't felt like buying it from eBay or similar considering it's usually pretty expensive despite not being to rare I picked it up straight away.

The next one I decided to get was on the funkier side of soul - straight from New Orleans, probably my favourite city in the world: The Meters, People Say/Funky Meters Soul. Also an official Record Store Day-release.

As if that wasn't enough I then stumbled upon another Northern/Rare Soul-classic: Frankie & Johnny's I'll Hold You. Perhaps not as widely known as Gloria Jones, but still a classic I'm sure anyone with the least bit of interest in soul or mod will have heard it at some point.

I also left the stores with a bit of punk/mod-revival: The Jam, In The City and Secret Affair, Time For Action. In The City happens to be one of my favourite Jam-tracks but I didn't have it as a single and Secret Affair...well, let's say it might not be the best song ever written but I have a lot of good memories connected to it. That they where both in the 5 kr bin (which translates into about half a pund or a little less than a dollar each) made it an easy decision. The fact that I realised I already had the Secret Affair 45 when I got home is a different matter. One that I'm sure anyone into cratedigging will recognize.

All in all a pretty nice outcome after all, especially considering I only had about 15 minutes of spare time to dig.

I won't write more about any of these singles this time, but you never know - one or two of them might turn up in the "on the turntable"-section at some time...

Song Of The Day:
Gloria Jones - Tainted Love

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stockholm Scooterpremiere 2014 and all-nighter.

Last weekend I went off to Stockholm to participate in their scooterpremiere along my clubmates in Sweden Blues Scooter Club and Lambretta Club Sthlm. The sun was shining and had it not been for the fact that the trees had just about only started turning green it would have been easy to believe that it was mid june. Great turnup to. I heard someone mentioning a number of about 85 participating scooters.

But to be perfectly honest the scooterpremiere was only a small part of my plans for weekends. I was also there to celebrate my good friend Karin and Johns birthdays (her 30th, his 40th) at a big party during the evening (which later opened up for the public and turned into the official scooterpremiere all-nighter) and spend some time behind the decks.

And what a party it was! Me and my DJ-mates Tailor Bob, Elias, Charming Charlotte and Reidar took turns behind the decks and the floor was packed most of the night. Everybody was singing, eating good food, dancing and generally having a great time.
And as if that wasn't enough to two live acts in the form of Reidar and, foremost - The LaVettes.
Their highpaced, stomping soul -acentuaded by the driving hornsection fronted by my partner in crime behind the turntables, Charming Charlotte - put the crowd in a dancing frenzy and after that the evening just kept escalating. I think I even saw a clubmate of mine from Blues SC (no names mentioned) dance in his leopard underwear for a song or two.

At about 3:30 in the morning I decided to call it quits, but even then there were still quite a few people up and about, having a chat by the bar or dancing to the sweet northern soul-sounds courtesy of my good friend and Blues SC-mate Tailor Bob.

The sunday was mostly spent sitting in the sun on the front porch of Ronny and Åsa, who were friendly enough to let me crash on their couch for the night (which i repaid by taking Åsas shoes with me home, mistaking them for the darkbrown brogues I had worn the prevous night...sorry about that), drinking lemonade and sipping on a coffee. And also taking a rather long walk through the south of Stockholm and the along the waterside.
I do like my hometown Eskilstuna a lot and would not want to move away from here, but still I have got to admit that there is a little something about Stockholm during spring.

All in all - a top weekend. And then I haven't even mentioned that I also find the time during the saturday, which was this years Record Store Day in sweden, to pop into a few record stores and score a couple of rather sweet 45s.

If you would like to see more pictures from the scooterpremiere and party you can do so here.

The LaVettes, with Charming Charlotte in the foreground.

Song Of The Day:
Dobie Gray - Out On The Floor

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sweet memories...

...or at least the kind that are sweet in hindsight. I wasn't feeling particulary sweet at the moment to be honest.

Spring is here and I've been looking through old photos and movieclips to get the mood on for this years scooterseason. This one in particular, shot by my mate Per Dahlberg during the gymkhana-contest at Mondo Scooter Rhum a few summers ago, always brings a smile to my face.

I am the guy frantically kicking a blue Vespa. The gloating guy in the foreground is my doppelganger from Gothenburg - Andreas.
Unfortunately for those if you not from around here this clip is in swedish, but let me assure you that they are saying nothing but nice and encouraging things about me and the way I always make sure my scooters are in full working condition before heading off to a scooterrun.

The Meters - Chicken Strut

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Speaking of Mods and Rockers...

 ...I just realised that I have yet to post anything about last years Mods vs Rockers in Stockholm, even though it took place in september.  That won't do, will it?

So here it goes: if you're reading this blog I'm pretty sure you are familiar with what mods are. And Rockers. (If not I might, and that is might, post something about that in the future - to be honest I'm not sure I am that keen on getting into the "what is mod"-discussion). You probably know what a Mods vs Rockers-do is too. But just in case someone does not know, here is a very brief and extremely simplified explanation:
During the early to mid-60's in Britain mods and rockers were the two major subcultures amongst young people. The mods rode italian scooters, liked sharp clothing and digged black american music such as soul and R'nB. The rockers drove british and american motorcycles, like heavy bikers gear and digged white american music such as rock'n roll. Needless to say the two did not get along very well. In fact they did not get along at all and by circa the mid-sixties the oppositions culminated in a series of fights and riots in british seaside towns during the bank holidays - most famously Brighton.

Ok - have you got the picture? Now fast forward about half a decade to today, when the mods and rockers have realised that they actually have quite a lot in common. The love of music and two-wheeled vehicles in particular, albeit with a different outlook. This has resulted in the so called Mods vs Rockers-events which takes place all over the world during which todays mods and rockers meet to settle the score, althoug with a lot more friendly attitude than in the 60s. The age of the participants might be somewhat higher than it was back in the days too, but let's not dwell on that...

This is basically how it goes down: the mods start from one part of town, the rockers from another. Somewhere along the way the two meet up to honk, rev their engines and scream at each other. Then they ride together to town to a place were "the stand-off" takes place. This might consist of a contest of some sort or simpy by counting which side has the most participants. Then, at night, there's one hell of a party where both mods and rocker have a few drinks and dance to good music together.
Simple as that and all in good fun.

This years Stockholm edition of Mods vs Rockers took place in september last summer and was probably the biggest one yet. I really don't know how many vehicles there were...does "a lot" count as a number? I won't bore you with details except for saying that it was, as it always is, a great day and night. Sure, the rockers won by numbers but when it came to partying us mods stood undefeated since not a rocker was in sight at the dancefloor and when I finally gave up and left the deck (I DJ'ed for the mods during the pary at night) at about four in the morning the mods were still up and about at the dancefloor. However, not a single rocker was to be found. They all went to bed a few hours earlier. Probably tired from all that kickstarting...

Anyone who wants to see a few more pictures from Mods vs Rockers Stockholm 2014 can do so here.

The meet-up. As I mentioned - there were quite a few of us.

My good mate Acke shows why smoking, unhealthy as it may be, can still be the essence of cool.

Song of the day:
Charles Sheffield - It's Your Voodoo Working

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mods and rockers Thailand.

I found this videoclip through my pal Da Ngyen over at The Scooterist blog.
Apparentely not only us westerners have taken the habit of arranging Mods and Rockes-do's. They do it over in Asia too - and they do it massive. With over 700 vehicles it seems too be way bigger than most of the other Mod and rockers-events I've heard of so far.

If you add that they, judging from this clip, seem to know how to throw one heck of a party, the warm weather and the fact that most of the scoots and motorcycles look really sweet you can only come to the conclusion that Mods and rockers Thailand appears to be an event you wouldn't want to have missed.

I might just have to check when it's on the next time, book my vacation and start saving up funds for a trip to Asia.

Song of the day:
The Sonics - Have Love, Will Travel

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

On the turntable: Baby Huey - The Living Legend.

I figured I will start doing semiregular posts about music I love, that inspires me or that I just for some reason find interesting and first out is a rather bigboned fellow that my friend Cheeta introduced me to some time ago. For some strange reason I had completely missed up on it before that.
It has been getting quite a few spins at my place lately and is perfect for anyone like me who sometimes like their soul served with a bit of funk. Or actually, "funk served with a little bit of soul" would probably be more appropriate in the case of Baby Huey.

Baby Huey, or as he was born in 1944 - James Ramey, moved to Chicago from his birthtown Richmond, Indiana when he was 19 years old in pursuit of a career in music. He started playing in several local bands and soon adopted the stage name Baby Huey, taken from the overweight cartoon film character with the same name. Apparentely he did not only suffer from a glandular disease which is what caused him to weigh in at about 160 kg but he also suffered from a real poor taste in cartoons. Nothing bad can be said about his sense of humour or self-distance though.

Nothing bad could be said about his ability to sing or his iconic stage presence (despite his size) either and by the late 60s Baby Huey had become one of the more popular live Chicago-artists, backed by some of his old friends who now went under the name of The Babysitters.
They had already released a few 45's in a more traditonal soul/R'nB-style, but lately started to move towards a more psychedelic funksound as was in style at the moment.
Pretty soon they became noticed by Curtis Mayfield (who I suppose need no introduction). He was impressed by Baby Hueys voice and stage persona and wanted to sign him to his label Curtom Records...but without The Babysitters. Therefore this album was to be released solely under the name Baby Huey, even though parts of The Babysitters did participate in the recordings.

Soon enough recordings were under way, with Curtis Mayfield himself as producer and it looked as if Baby Huey were set for true stardom - tipped by many to be the next new name in soul- and funkmusic.
Unfortunately Baby Huey had developed a heroin addiction by then. And on top of that a drinking problem. The already big man now weighed in at over 180 kg and had began coming late to gigs, rehearsals and recording-sessions. On his good days. At his bad days he didn't show up at all.

October 28 1970 Baby Huey was found dead from a drug-induced heartattack in his motel room. He was 26 years old and his first album was yet to be released...or even finished recording.

 Any album that has a photo on the backcover showing the artist wearing a fat guys dress while reading a picture cookbook in what appears to be his living room just has to be great. Right?

The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend was released in 1971 and consisted of most of the tracks that had been recorded in the sessions, as well as a few instrumentals about which it is unclear whether they are tracks that The Big Babe was meant to add vocals to before his passing or if they are just songs with session musicians that Mayfield added to get enough material for a full album.
Unfortunately, it is hard to promote an album when there's no artist around to tour anymore, and it was even harder in the days before the internet. The album didn't sell very well and was soon passed on to the thriftstore-crates of "forgotten soul and funk".

That is - until hip-hop and sampling came along. Suddenly artists and producers such as Ice Cube, A Tribe Called Quest and Ghostface Killah to name a few started digging up old copies of The Living Legend and using the powerful breaks, beats and horns in their own productions and the album is now considered to be a cultclassic.
 It is actually possible to find an original of this album...but it will cost you. Luckily, due to the cultstatus it has achieved today there are now reissues, such as my copy, that are more reasonably priced.

And what an album it is! This is album is pure gold from start to end. All the way from the full souly funk-assault of the opening track Listen To Me to the panflute-, horn-, and organ-laden instrumental ending called One Dragon, Two Dragon. Also worth noting is the cover of Sam Cooke's A Change Is Going To Come, where Baby Huey shows that he easily could have competed with some of the biggest names in soul-ballads had he only gotten the chance. And let's not forget the instrumental version of The Mamas & The Papas California Dreamin' . If that one does not get your groove on, nothing ever will. Or the live call and response-euphoria of Mighty Mighty (in which Huey shows that not only the music, but also his way of singing might have had some influence of certain rappers). And finally one has to mention Hard Times - probably the very reason those hip-hop guys jumped on this album in the first place.

Alright Huey - take us out!

Song of the day:
Baby Huey - Listen To Me

Monday, April 07, 2014

Scooterpremiere with Blacksmiths SC.

It's not hard to tell what Micke is looking at.

I live in a medium sized town in Sweden called Eskilstuna - and since every city worth it's name needs a scooterclub we started up a local such some years ago. We decided to name the club Blacksmiths SC as a way to honour both our citys history (Eskilstuna is famous for it's knives, axes, tools and other things made out of metal, and blacksmiths from all over the world moved here to do what they did best when the town was young) as well as our local speedwayteam Smederna (which translates guessed it - the blacksmiths). 

Last saturday we held our official scooterpremiere for 2014 to celebrate the fact that spring is here and the scooterseason of 2014 well on it's way, something every city in Sweden that has a local scooterclub does. With some backup from friends who drove here from Stockholm (whom actually showed up the night before to stay at a hotel and have a few beers - which is probavbly why some of us felt a bit tired during the premiere) and other nearby towns we ended up being thirteen scooters (I think) - not that many, but enough to turn a few heads when we rode around town for about 30 minutes before ending up at one of our favorite coffeshops (Café Norr) for coffee, food and chatting.

A pretty easygoing day and nothing spectacular, but it's always nice when good friends who share a similar passion for italian scooters and good music meet up.

Those of you who would like to see more photos can do so if you follow this link.

 Is this what they refer to as a "selfie"? 

Song of the day:
The Four Tops - You Got To Forget Him Darling

Friday, April 04, 2014

Nothing but a heartache.

As previously mentioned the plan is to occasionally do posts about music - reviews, tips, informative articles etc - in the future. But I figured I'll start it off easy with simply posting a video of what in my opinion is not only one of the best soul songs ever, but in fact one of the best songs ever period. This about sums up what I love about soulmusic in somewhat less then three minutes.
As someone (I can't remember who) once put it:
"Upbeat music with really dark lyrics". If you add "with a perfect popmelody and a great beat" to that description The Flirtations  wonderful Nothing But A Heartache is what you get.

This might have been posted on here before, but if so that was back when I wrote in swedish...and it's definetely worth posting again either way.

I'm sure many of you will have heard it before, at least if you're the least bit into soulmusic, especially the northern soul kind. If you for some reason haven't: you're in for somewhat less than three minutes of pure soul/pop perfection.

Song of the day:

The Flirtations - Nothing But A Heartache

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Chairmen of the board.

Would you buy a used scooter from these guys?

Last weekend the boardmembers of Svenska Scooterklubben (Scooter Club Sweden) were in town for a meeting, so I took the oppurtunity to snap some photos of them for their website which will be updated soon. The idea was inidivual portraits but in my opinion the group photo I shot while at it turned out better.

Song of the day:

The Lambrettas - Poison Ivy

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A new beginning.

Ok. It's been some time and quite a few changes has taken place.

Firstly - I am now a married man. Yay for us!

Secondly - I've decided to change the direction of this blog somewhat and turn it in more of a...well, a "lifestyle-blog" for lack of better words. From now on there will be less posts about what I've done during the weekend or the last few days and the focus will be more on the things I love and that get me going.
Therefore, you can expect anything from posts about (surprise, surprise) vintage scooters, music (old as well as newer stuff - though probably mostly older if know myself), style (NOT fashion - I consider that to be something completely different from what I am into), photography...basically anything I enjoy and feel is worth sharing.
That being said it is not completely unlikely that the odd post about my everyday life will sneak it's way on here, but the focus will be somewhat different from what it used to be. Truth be told I am not 100% sure about what will end up on this blog. I'll basically start writing about stuff that interests me and see what direction it takes in the end.
My posting will probably not be as frequent as it was when I was as most active, but it will definetely be more frequent then it has been the last year or so.

Lastly - I've decided to start writing in english. The main reason for that is that it has come to my attention that I have a few international readers. Or well...I used to when I posted on a more regular basis at least.

So, I guess I'll just get this going again and see where it all ends up. Tag along and keep on keepin' on!

Song of the day:
David Bowie - Changes