Map of Scandinavia

Question (from Dinsdale): Hi O-Dub. Have you ever made a post focusing on Scandinavian stuff? Do you have any preferences at all vis-a-vis this?”

Answer: I’ve never done, as far as I recall, a dedicated post specifically about music out of the region. I’m simply not familiar with it as a “scene” to try to frame it as such. That said, I have written about artists from those countries, especially Sweden. That includes Bob Azzam, Alice Babs, The Gimmicks, and I’m not sure the Impossibles count since they were Thai even if they recorded for Philips in Sweden.

Outside of there, I’ve done a few posts about artists connected to the Finnish label, Timmion. I think Webster Lewis, who recorded in Norway, got a brief mention in a post or two but never a dedicated post. I do have other records from the region that I’ve never written about and maybe this will spur me to pull some of those out. But in general, as noted, I don’t feel like I “know the scene” well enough to created a region-specific series of posts about it. If anyone cares to put me up on names I need to know: holler.

I realized that I should actually be including more music with these “Q&A” posts so here goes:

Bombey Horn: Subway Baby
From Subway Horn (Philips, 1977)

I can’t remember if Chairman Mao or Cool Chris was the first to put me up on this…it’s by (I believe) a Danish pair who released the album on Phillips in Sweden (though I think it also had a local Danish release as well). A very cool mid/late 1970s crossover tune that’s got lovely bits of jazz and soul thrown together (all that and subway sound effects!). It’s one case where vaguely cheesy sax doesn’t actually sound all that bad at all. My memory is that this LP was kind of a one-tracker but maybe I’ll go back to to it and check again.

Question (from Josh G.): Souful/funky gospel. What’s the label or region motherlode that hasn’t been re-issued?

Answer: The better question is what labels or regions have there been solid reissues of? I feel like gospel is a pretty massive genre that hasn’t seem that much attention yet relative to the number of recordings out there. Greg Belson is a L.A. based DJ who is a hardcore soulful gospel fan and he’s always posting up songs to his FB page and it just blows my mind how much stuff is out there that’s barely on the edge of our awareness.

But if you’re asking about labels, you could do a lot worse than start with HSE and Champ. But seriously, gospel records run far deeper than most of us secularists are aware of. The amount of comps or reissues out there tackling it is almost ludicrously small by comparison.

Voices of Faith, Hope and Love: Give Yourself To Jesus
From 7″ (V.F.H.L., 197?)

I’ve been very modestly stockpiling different gospel releases for a while now and this was one I had been meaning to share for the longest. The use of Rhodes on here is so lovely and works perfectly with the overall vibe of the song. And I can guarantee you that this single – which I think is exemplary – is probably considered run of the mill amongst heavy gospel soul fans. Just think on that.

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