Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Monday, November 8, 2010

A few Mod rarities

I thought for a long time that it was impossible to find good stuff at a reasonable price at record conventions. I'm slowly changing my mind. The thing is, I love the feeling of finding a rare 45 at a garage sale and paying 1$ for it. But how often does that really happen? And if you are lucky enough to find that obscure garage LP you've never heard of before, it's usually in poor condition.

Record conventions do the sorting out for you so you are usually left with la crème de la crème. The adage "somebody's trash is somebody else's treasure" sometimes also applies. You might put your hands on a valuable early ska Studio 1, Prince Buster or Coxsone single just because the majority of the collectors around you are only interested on Japanese Kiss releases.

I did find a few rare oddities at the last two record conventions I attended. The Pop Montreal record fair was held during the festival of the same name. Aside from a few more "common" albums like The Bar-Kays - Soul Finger, Valerie Simpson's Exposed, Al Green's Gets Next to You, I was very happy to put my hands on decent copies of two of the more influential sixties Quebec garage band Les Sinners and Les Lutins. I sometimes see them priced at up to 150$ each in record shops. So you can imagine my surprise when I only paid 20$ for both of them. It goes to show you that there are deals to be made at record conventions.

On the 7" front, 5$ was well worth the price I paid for this 4 track  2004 release from French Mod band  Les Dragueurs . The attractive record sleeve and white vinyl record was enough to convince me to buy it.

A few weeks later the Record and CD Convention of Montreal was held once more. I always wondered if it was worth paying a few extra dollars to walk in an hour before everybody else. My friend Michel, a veteran record collector and music aficionado, suggested I should do so. The seasoned crate digger was already head first in a box when I arrived.

I joined him as he was going through rows of early Quebec artists 45s hoping to come across some very desirable obscure sixties garage groups. He was flanked by another knowledgeable collector/blogger, Félix B. Desfossés aka DJ Pâté who was looking for the same thing.

As I was patiently waiting for my turn, I decided to go through the rows of English speaking artists. That's when I stumbled upon a single by The Beau-Marks. They were one of the rare groups from Montreal that had an international hit in the early sixties with Clap your hands. The song was recorded in a basement studio only a few blocks away from my place. The single, not particularly rare since it was a big hit, was 5$. There was one thing about the record that I hadn't noticed before Félix graciously pointed it out after he made sure I was going to buy it. All the members of the group had signed it! Not bad for a few bucks!

I should say that Félix is THE reference on Quebec garage rock on the web. You should check out his blog Vente de Garage. It's extremely well researched and even if it's entirely in French, there are tons of clips to listen too.

Another 45rpm that would certainly qualify as a rarity is the mint copy of Mod Socks by the Cleveland, Ohio group The Grasshoppers. The bass player and vocalist for the band, Benjamin Orr, later became one of the key members of the successful group The Cars.

But the major score for the day was not one, but two copies of the only LP released by the Canadian group The British Modbeats. Caught in the British Invasion wave that was sweaping the nation at the time , the band was actually from the small town of St. Catharines, Ontario. The Modbeats released an album in 1966 on Red Leaf Records. I don't think you can get any more obscure than that!

Why 2 copies, you might ask? One of the records is a bit rough with a few scatches but the cover is quite nice and it was signed by all of the band members on June 28th 1967. Plus it came with a couple of newpaper clippings about the band. The other album simply plays great.

The album cover is a thing of beauty. Even if they look more psychedelic, with their bell-bottoms and paisley shirts, than proper mods, I did see an early photo of them wearing suits. The music itself is actually quite good. The downside is that they only recorded covers. The good news is that more then 40 years after they seperated, they are apparently back together! And this time around, they're performing original material. I really hope I get a chance to see them live one day.

You can get more information about The Modbeats through their website.

They even have a Facebook fan page!!/pages/The-Modbeats/130175844559

If you have scored an unsual Mod record lately, let us know in the comment section.


  1. Hey Patrick! Merci encore de m'avoir permis d'utiliser ton tourne-disques portable. Ça m'a permis de faire l'acquisition du Lp de Hank Mobley sur Blue Note! J'adore ce disque. Grâce à toi il est chez moi maintenant, car je n'aurais pas oser l'acheter dans sa condition, si je ne l'avais pas écouté auparavant.

  2. Ça me fait bien plaisir mon Michel. J'ai déjà hâte à notre prochaine séance d'écoute!

  3. Benjamin Orr Fans are here as well as rare photographs and information on the late artist: