Saturday, July 27, 2013

NEW PODCAST: A Tribute to Goofin' Records Paying Tribute to Starday Records

Well friends, I've finally done gone and started my own podcast. [Ooh... Awww...] The first episode is A Tribute to Goofin' Records Paying Tribute to Starday Records. If you'd like to hear some great Goofin' bands playing some great Starday tunes (including rockabilly, country, bluegrass, western swing, and more!), read up on the similarities between Goofin' and Starday, or see my pictorial discography of every 7" release on the Goofin' label, just follow the link.

To read the post but skip the music (I don't know why somebody might do this, but I'm giving you options), read on:

When I first came to Finland two years ago, I brought with me a handful of my new Starday books. I had no idea at that time if there were many Starday fans in Finland, or if there were many people who wanted to read about American roots music in English, but I was eager to find out. Sure, I knew that Tapio Väisänen, a renowned record collector who helped me with my early Starday discography research, lived near Helsinki. And the man who calls himself Starday on his YouTube channel, Pasi Koskela, lived in Finland as well. But beyond them, I had not a clue.
My first order of business in Finland was to visit the Goofin’ Records shop in Helsinki. I had first heard of Goofin’ in the early 2000s when my friend Sean Mencher gave me his High Noon CD released on the Goofin’ Records label. In the years that followed I came across the Goofin’ name several times over while picking up CDs or 45s by American touring acts such as Deke Dickerson, Martí Brom, Carl Sonny Leyland, Cave Catt Sammy, and others. Then, after performing at the Green Bay Rockin’ ‘50s Fest in 2005, I actually met Pete Hakonen, Goofin’s owner and founder. At the time, my friend Bill Hunt had just started his Cow Island Music label and Pete spent a lot of time talking to us about the pros and cons of running a roots record label.
Six years later I arrived in the Goofin’ shop and was happy to see Pete again. I was also happy to see an entire store in the middle of Helsinki, Finland dedicated to American roots music. Sure, there were a couple hard rock LPs from the ‘70s, maybe 30 or so, and a small section of Finnish music from the 1920s-‘60s, but everything else in the shop was related to 1940s-‘60s American roots music—blues, country, doo-wop, rockabilly, soul, rhythm and blues, Cajun, teen pop, Elvis, western swing, garage, surf, and everything in between. Hundreds of thousands of 45s, LPs, CDs, books, and anything else related to roots music. Before I could even soak it all in, Pete had called his friend Lester Peabody who lived just a few minutes from the shop. Within the hour the three of us had set up a recording session and even booked a performance at the upcoming Helsinki Rockabilly Week festival.
During my six weeks in Finland that summer the Goofin’ shop became sort of a home away from home. If I wasn’t in Vaasa taking Finnish language classes, I was probably in the shop meeting new folks, talking about music, and buying records. It certainly didn’t hurt that I was living just one block away at the time either. I was mesmerized by the scores of out-of-print 45s and CDs I was finding—stuff you just can’t find in the States (go ahead doubters, try to find a store selling stock copies of Go Cat Go’s ‘Please Mama Please’ or their Rock-A-Billy Record Co. 10”). I could go on forever about some of the amazing things I found in the shop, but perhaps most intriguing to me at that time was a giant wall of Goofin’ Records releases. I had already known about the Dave and Deke Combo, High Noon, the Frantic Flattops, Los Straitjackets, and a lot of the other American roots acts. I knew of Ray Campi, Huelyn Duvall, Jack Scott, Dale Hawkins, Narvel Felts, Jimmy Lee Fautheree, and some of the original ‘50s rockers as well, but now I was seeing their music on the Goofin’ label. I had even heard many of the International groups like the Go-Getters, Miss Mary Ann & the Ragtime Wranglers, Ray Collins’ Hot Club, Wildfire Willie & the Ramblers, as well as Finland’s own Barnshakers, but I didn’t realize that Goofin’ had been releasing records by all these different bands. The rest of the releases on the wall, however, were pretty much a mystery to me.
It was then that I decided that I would try to collect every vinyl release Goofin’ had issued. After all, what I already knew I really liked and what I didn’t know, I couldn’t wait to discover. I was particularly excited about finding new Finnish bands, as I always try to buy local music wherever and whenever I travel. The task, however, proved to be somewhat challenging for several reasons. In addition to financial restraints, I really had no idea just how much Goofin’ product was out there in the world. As it turns out, there are presently 90 different 45s, with twelve of them appearing on Gas—Goofin’s subsidiary label reserved for surf music. There are nine further releases on 10”, twenty-three 12” releases, and two 78s. I soon discovered that many of the releases were extremely limited runs back in the ‘80s but miraculously, and with the help of Pete and several generous collectors and friends in Finland, I completed the run. And while I can’t even begin to start collecting every CD on the Goofin’ label (there are well over 100), I also made a habit of picking up a few favorites each time I went to the store.
For a complete pictorial discography of every 7” Goofin’ release, see my flickr page:
This means that my Goofin’ song collection now totals 1,749 songs. While it’s nowhere near everything Goofin’ has released, just as I had hoped, I discovered some INCREDIBLE new music. Since buying these records I’ve gone to see a lot of the bands perform here in Finland and I’ve left concerts with a new favorite band on more occasions that I care to remember—the Hi-Fly Rangers, the Rockin’ 8-Balls, Dr. Snout & his Hogs of Rhythm, Lester Peabody Quartet, Whistlebait, Uncle John Trio, Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers, Spud’n’Nick & the Roughshods, Mike Bell & the Belltones, and so many more. Needless to say, I’ve been really impressed by the music Goofin’ has been putting into the world. It was therefore a huge honor for me when just a few months back, Goofin’ Records chose to release the Nate Gibson & Friends Starday Sessions tribute album.
I really can’t think of a more fitting label to release a Starday tribute. Not only had several of the contributing artists (Deke Dickerson, Sean Mencher, the Barnshakers, and the Hi-Fly Rangers) already recorded for Goofin’, I’ve come to notice a lot more similarities between Goofin’ and Starday. Most obviously, they are both record labels interested in promoting and preserving American roots music—traditional country, rockabilly, western swing, bluegrass, and much more. Both also emphasized instrumental music, with Goofin’ even operating its own instrumental subsidiary label. Furthermore, each label owned a physical shop. This, to me, is one of the main reasons independent labels can be successful. Not only are they able to distribute their own music, store owners also have first-hand knowledge about what is selling and what is not. Furthermore, the shop serves as a great meeting point for local musicians and fans of the music and it also keeps people updated on the latest developments in the worldwide scene (Goofin’ always stocks the latest releases from Bluelight, Jungle, Wild, Sleazy, Cow Island, El Toro, Vintjärn, Ventrella, Rock-A-Billy Record Co. and Tail back in the day, and so many more great roots labels).
Just like Starday did back in the Texas/California days, I also love that Goofin’ actively promotes the local music scene. The overall output of Goofin’ is overwhelmingly Finnish and more than half of the Goofin’ releases this year and all of the releases last year have been by Finnish bands. A further connection between the two labels is that they both issue(d) a lot of music! There are several other wonderful independent labels in Finland promoting roots music (Jungle, Bluelight, Jupiter Stroll, and Snowflake come to mind), but Goofin’s total recorded output since its founding in 1984 exceeds them all. I should also note that of the 1,749 Goofin’ songs that I own, 34 of them (roughly 2%) are Starday covers. This is, of course, not including the most recent Starday Sessions tribute, which bumps Goofin’s percentage of Starday covers up to 2.8% of their entire recorded catalog (at least that which is in my collection). How about that! It can most certainly be ascertained that I am not the first Starday fan in Finland (and hopefully not the last!).
After realizing this, I got the idea to put together a podcast spotlighting some of the Goofin’ artists covering Starday artists. With the kind permission of Goofin’ Records owner Pete Hakonen, I am now able to present some of these Starday gems from the Goofin’ catalog. In doing so, I hope that you’ll discover some new bands that you dig and maybe even hear a couple new songs from bands you already knew. I give a hearty cheers to Goofin’ for releasing all of this great music and an extra hearty cheers to all the bands and performers for keeping the Starday catalog alive and well—from George “Thumper” Jones to Sonny Fisher, Link Davis to Ken Clark, even Rudy “Tutti” Grayzell all the way down to Stringbean (David Akeman), and so much more. We’ve got bluegrass, traditional country, rockabilly, honky-tonk, western swing, and swingin’ instrumentals— just a whole lot of good stuff! It should also be noted that with the exception of High Noon (Texas), Darrel Higham (England), Rusti Steel & the Tintax (England), the Dave & Deke Combo (California), the Go-Getters (Sweden), and myself (I still have a hard time answering where I’m from), all of these bands are from Finland. Here’s hopin’ y’all dig it… Y’all come!
*Note: Every effort was made to avoid playing the same song twice, even if recorded by multiple bands for Goofin’, though I did break this rule just once.
*Another Note: I apologize for the sound quality on some of the vinyl transfers. I do not have my normal digitizing set-up with me here in Finland, but this is something I hope to correct for future podcasts.
*Another Note: This here is my first ever attempt at a podcast but eventually I plan to incorporate this podcast into both my blog (Starday, Finland, Rockabilly, Country Music, Records, Cars, Guitars, and Whatever Else Comes Up and my website ( For now you can visit each site fore more information on my music, my research, and other assorted projects.
* Final Note: To purchase any of these fine recordings, as well as all other Goofin' releases, please
Track Listing:
High Noon – How Come It from GRLP 6074, Live in Texas and Japan LP
The Slippers – Rockin’ Daddy from GRCD 6049, Chance to Dance CD
Uncle John Trio – Tall Tall Trees from GRCD 6170, For Your Pleasure CD
Jussi Syren Rockabilly Revival – Steady With Betty from GRCD 6137, Stayin’ On Top Of the Beat CD
High Noon – Feelin’ No Pain from GRCD 6039, Glory Bound CD
Ellis & the Angry Teens – Half My Fault from GRCD 6094, Put the Blame on Alcohol CD
The Barnshakers – Fast Jivin’ from GRCD 6048, A Honky Tonk Session with the Barnshakers CD
Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers – Lost from GRCD 6168, Shave and Haircut CD
The Rockin’ 8-Balls – All the Time from GRCD 6108, Eight Balls O’ Fire! CD
Darrel Higham with the Barnshakers – Don’t Be Gone Long from GOOFY 570, Pretty Little Devil 45 EP
The Rhythm Hogs – Don’t Big Shot Me from GOOFY 514, Real Rock Drive 45 EP
Hal Peters and his Trio – You’re Gone from GRCD 6038, Fireball Mail CD
Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers – Down at the Opry from GRCD 6169, Shave and Haircut CD
Rusti Steel & the Tintax – Kitty Kat from GOOFY 6012, Rock’n’Roll Call LP
The Ballroomers – Sittin’ On Top from GOOFY 504, Sway with the Ballroomers 45 EP
The Dave & Deke Combo – Tally Ho GRCL 61209, Moonshine Melodies LP
Hal Peters and his Trio – Down In the Holler from GOOFY 6015, Rockin’ the Country LP
Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers – Walk Slowly Darling from GRCD 6168, Shave and Haircut CD
Lester Peabody – Sweet Rosie from GRCD 6072, Focus on Guitars CD
The Slippers – I Can’t Loose from GRCD 6048, Chance to Dance CD
The Hi-Fly Rangers – I’m Through from GRCD 6135, Hot Ride Ride To the Moon CD
Hal Peters and his Trio – Too Much Water from GOOFY 6015, Rockin’ the Country LP
Shaun Young – Move Around from GRCD 6127, Wiggle Walk CD
Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers – Big Man from GRCD 6168, Shave and Haircut CD
High Noon – Hold Me Baby from GRCD 6039, Glory Bound CD
The Barnshakers – Maybe Little Baby from GRCD 6118, Five Minutes To Live CD
The Go-Getters – All the Time from GRCD 6065, Hotter Than A Pepper CD
Nate Gibson with Deke Dickerson – Y’all Come from GRCD 6177, The Starday Sessions CD

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