Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hoosier Honky-Tonk Heaven

Well, today's the first day of my Country Music and the World course here at IU, so what could be a better time to post a country song about Indiana University? 'Rootin for EURDUP' was recorded at the Starday Sound Studios by Tommy Hill back in '81, the same year Indiana won the NCAA basketball championship (note the glowing reference to Coach Bobby Knight, as he was still in favor with IU at this point). Crooned out by former Starday artist Bobby Harden, also of the famed Harden Trio, I now present you with some seriously cool Hoosier Honky-Tonk from the Ode to the Hoosiers LP (All-Pro Records AP 1031, regionally distributed through local NAPA Auto Parts stores). Now DIG!!!


When the Hoosiers run out onto the court
All the fans can tell they're so high.
Coach Knight must have given quite a pep talk
'Cause our neighbors from Purdue are dropping by.

I was raised not to fear the Wildcats.
The Irish never scared me none at all.
We never even think about the Gophers
And rootin' for Purdue's against the law.

Last year Bobby Knight showed all the nation
What practicin' hard and workin' hard can mean.
In '82 we'll still be celebratin'
'Cause the Hoosiers will have another championship team.

I was raised not to fear the Wildcats.
The Irish never scared me none at all.
Northwestern has always been a breather
And the Boilermakers play NERF basketball.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Back in the U.S. of A.

Well, I knew the day would come, and sure enough, on Wednesday I left Helsinki and I headed back to the good ol’ U.S. of A., land of the free and home of the hospital from which I was brought into this world. I’m very excited to see again my friends and family in Bloomington and surrounding areas, and of course I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to teach about Country Music and the World at Indiana University this fall (woo-hoo, and not a single open seat left in the class!). Even so, I’m going to seriously miss Finland and its inhabitants.

I moved to Finland exactly one year ago and it’s been an absolutely incredible year. I've made lots of friends, met all sorts of interesting people, and was warmly welcomed into both a close-knit academic community as well as a vibrant music scene. I gave lectures on American music, began a new research project on American roots music in Finland, played a lot of music with some truly talented musicians, released one record and recorded a second, traveled all over Finland and its neighboring countries, and have been fulfilled both personally and professionally throughout the past year. Hell, I even lost 20 pounds because Finland still doesn’t have a single Steak’n’Shake or Sonic… and I survived the Finnish winter!!! I couldn't have made it without help from so many good folks and y'all will always have my loving gratitude and sincere appreciation.

While I don’t know yet when I will next return to Finland, I do know that it won’t be long. I still have yet to see a live moose (hirvi, älä tule tielle, mutta sinä voit tulla minun puistolle ja pelata!), experience the northern lights, hit myself with a birch branch while nearly dying in sauna, participate in the nokia cell phone throwing competition, go to a Finnish hockey game (I can’t believe this never happened!), visit the Helsinki zoo, go ice fishing, request ‘Rockabilly Paukkuu’ at a Tapani Kanssa concert, and so much more. Until I next return, I’ll look forward to all the updates on everything I am missing via Facebook, email, Skype, twitter, and however else we have connected over the years.

For now, I send my best wishes and many Kiitos to all of my friends in Funland. I’ll look forward to seein’ y’all as soon as I can make it back in 2014!! And to my friends in B-town, I can't wait to see y’all in just a matter of days! Please do leave the light on for me.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Buck Owens and his Starday LPs

Happy Birthday Buck Owens and cheers to one of the worst album Starday covers of all-time! Sometime between 1959 and 1960, Don Pierce purchased the international rights to Buck's catalog for only $500, as well as the rights to the Pep masters. It turned out to be a pretty wise investment and years later, when Buck tried to get the rights back, Don just handed them over for free. Don later told me that he figured he had already made enough money off of them after Ray Charles and the Beatles had had some hits for him, and he was more interested in keeping a friendly relationship with Buck. After this LP came out (SLP 172), Buck asked his mother to send Don a better photo for future LP issues.

And even though only half or so of the songs on those future LPs (SLP 324, with two different covers, and SLP 446) were by Buck (the other were soundalikes by Tommy Hill, Eddie Wilson, and others at done at the Starday Sound Studio), he still came by the Starday Studios and picked up handfuls at a time to sell at his concerts. Apparently Capitol wouldn't supply Buck with his own LPs to sell at his shows, whereas Starday sold Buck (or any recording artist) Starday LPs for only a buck a piece. I guess it is for this reason that it is far more common to find an autographed Buck Owens Starday LP by the whole band than it is to find a Capitol LP signed by the band. I always thought it was somewhat odd that Buck was selling LPs at his shows with other people covering his hits, but I guess it makes sense... A buck is a buck. Cheers to all of you who kept your signed Buck Owens Starday LPs. And Happy Birthday to a legend!