Saturday, February 23, 2013

Meet the Starday Story Contributors: Part One

L-R: Kent Heineman, Nate Gibson, Lars Lundgren. Photo by Pete Hakonen.

Hey there friends,

In what I hope is an often recurring theme on this blog, I now present to you, Part One of Meet the Starday Story Contributors.

This weekend I took a trip to Stockholm with my friend Pete Hakonen to attend Sweden's largest record show and help out with the Goofin' Records table. As this was my first record digging trip to Stockholm, my expectations were high. On the boat ride from Turku I had trouble sleeping, choosing instead to review my many lists of records I was hoping to find and studying the currency exchange rate: Let's see, 8.5 Swedish krona equals one euro which is the same as how many US dollars? Ah, forget it. I'll just buy it!

Once we arrived in Stockholm, we rushed over to Jan Karlin's House of Oldies. The shop was closed, the owner was on vacation, but Pete's friend came to let us in, let us peruse the selections, and chat us up about country music. Turns out, the kind man was actually Lars Lundgren, of page 228 fame in The Starday Story!  Lars is a serious country music collector and has been contributing to the Hillbilly Researcher publications, Praguefrank's Country Music Discographies, various Bear Family box sets, as well as the Starday Records custom listing. It was an honor to meet him in person and I very much enjoyed talking with him about his love of bluegrass, country, and Starday. Then he showed me two full boxes of rare and early Starday and Starday custom 45s for sale. Needless to say, it was a GREAT day! In case anybody in the States is having trouble finding the rare Texas-era Starday 45s in unplayed condition, now you know where to book your next flight!

Saturday morning brought about the record fair and as we suspected, by 8 in the a.m. dealers were already set up and the room was quite crowded. Among the first people I met at the fair was Kent Heineman, another record listing contributor to The Starday Story (see also page 228)! Kent is a very serious country music collector, a contributor to Praguefrank's Country Music Discographies, and on the editorial board at Sweden's mighty fine American Music Magazine. I really enjoyed talking with him about his collection and love of country music whilst perusing his country music records for sale at the fair.

A couple things surprised me about this record fair. For starters, it was the first time I have ever been at a record fair and have been able to look through multiple boxes FULL of rare Starday and Starday-Dixie custom pressings, not to mention multiple boxes filled with top shelf, top condition AudioLab and King LPs too! (My favorite takeaway from the show: Frankie Miller SEP 184 with the picture sleeve.) Secondly, I was surprised by the amount of people in Sweden who had already read the Starday Story and I was mighty grateful for the positive feedback I received from everyone about it. A few people even expressed interest in distributing the Starday book in their shops, so if you are in Sweden and wanting to get a copy of the book, it is likely to get easier in the near future! More importantly, I'm mighty grateful for people like Lars and Kent who made the Starday Story possible! Without Lars', Kent's, and their like-minded record-collecting bretheren's many years of collecting and documenting the Starday releases, many of these great records would still remain a mystery today.

On the boat ride home, I'm left shuffling my feet to the Latin-flavored pop band on stage, playing roulette with min/max bids of 50 cents per spin, shopping in the duty-free candy store, but mostly anticipating my arrival home and the immediate spinning of some classic Starday records at 45 rpm. My many thanks to Pete for making the trip possible and the great company, to Lars and Kent for taking time to meet with me and talk about the music we love, and to every dealer at the show who talked to me about music and who sold me their records for cheap. I'll be back, Sweden, and I'll look forward to meeting more of The Starday Story record listing contributors in my travels in the coming months!

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