Saturday, May 27, 2017

Angel Vladković Group

Artist: Angel Vladković Group
Song: "Bananas"
[ listen ]
Song: "Disco Fever"
[ listen ]

The following afternoon I had about three hours to check out two Helsinki record stores that were about a block apart. I had planned to split my time between the two, but by the time I got out of Redhill Records, I only had about 15 minutes to look through the other store. According to the Redhill Records website, "Our staff can always help you find the record you need." What they don't include is a warning that their staff will always help you find about 58 records you need! 

The guy who was working when I went in was super helpful, one of the best customer service record-peddlers I've come across at any record store ever. Initially, when he asked what kind of music I was looking for and I said I was hoping to find some Finnish disco-pop from the 1970s, he kindly advised: "I don't know if anyone has told you, but Finland is a heavy metal country." You know, I wish somebody would have told me that before I bought my ticket.

Nevertheless, since the store is evidently one of the only ones in Scandinavia with a listening station and I was the only customer there (well, one guy popped in to ask if they have any Dave Matthews Band records—they don't), we basically had a record-listening party for an hour and 45 minutes. He would bring over instrumental Russian disco-synth LPs, Finnish funk records from the '70s (which were great, but around 200€ each, so I simply couldn't afford them), and more. He always knew the best tracks on every LP; if I picked one up he would say, "Check out track three on side two," for example. By the time I left I had a stack of wonderful and bizarre LPs and 45s that I simply couldn't do without. 

The guy (I wish I knew his name) said that they have lots of neat Russian records, since Finland and Russia share a border. When Finns visited Russia in the '70s and early '80s, there were no souvenirs available so they'd buy Russian records to bring back as a memento. But they hardly ever actually listened to them, so now Finnish record stores are full of great old Russian LPs in excellent condition! 

This Yugoslavian disco record from 1979 is one of the ones the sales clerk extraordinaire brought over to the listening station, guiding me toward "Disco Fever" (track five on side one). I've just discovered that the song is a cover of this one by Tina Charles; the LP also includes terrific Eastern-Europey-sounding disco covers of "How Deep Is Your Love," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," and others...but I go absolutely "Bananas" over track one on side two. 

[ Redhill Records — Helsinki, Finland ]

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