Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mod on the road - Off to Motown - Day 1

What happens when you put two record collecting nuts in a car with a full tank of petrol on spring break? You get a road trip to Detroit, Michigan! I thought it would be a great idea to hit the open road with my Modtreal partner DJ Papa Bill. He might only be 19 but he has been digging for soul records since he was 9. That’s right, you read right. But there’s one place where he has never been and that’s Hitsville, USA. So off we were to go worship the Motown gods at the alter of Soul.

After both of us spent the night spinning some sweet Soul music at the Mod Club in Montreal, we didn’t have a minute to spare so we put the pedal to the metal and hit the highway. Our first stop was going to be Toronto, some seven hours away. Thank you Red Bull for the jolt I needed!

As soon as the sun came up, my co-pilot Ben had a strike of genius and looked for flea markets in the surrounding area on his phone. As luck would have it, we found two on our route, the first one being at the next exit in Courtice, Ontario.

Flea markets are usually hit or miss. If you are patient enough and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can sometimes hit gold for a pocket full of change. In this case, I didn’t find a 2000$ rare Northern Soul record but ended up with some decent, more common 45s at a 1$ apiece. One of my favorites has to be the Senior Soul single on Double Shot. He is known for doing groovy instrumental renditions of soul classics and garage anthems. This one had an amusing cover of Psychotic Reaction originally done by Count Five.

Just before we left we came upon a kiosk selling vintage musical instruments. A vintage 60s Kay guitar caught Ben’s eye. The price tag said 75$. When we inquired about it, we learnt that we had to multiply the price by ten. There was a 0 the size of a Cheerio that sat next to the 5. We still exchanged a few words with the owner but it’s when he said: “Some people just try to Jew me down” that we decided we had enough. Not the thing to say when your friend standing next to you has Shulman for a last name.

Our second stop was at the flea market in Whitby. This place had a few stalls dedicated only to records but the quality was limited. I still managed to leave with a dozen records for less then 10$. I grabbed a double of The Rationals doing a cover of Respect that I’ve always enjoyed.

Toronto was only a few hours away and Kops Records on Queen Street West was our intended destination. This place has always had a good reputation for having a wide selection of soul 45s. The thing is, they do. The downside is that they are a bit on the pricey side. 

The 45 collection found upstairs
Still smiling even after a night of non-stop driving
We intended on spending some serious cash but I ended  up leaving with only 2 singles. I’m happy with this one.

Ben left with one that he has been obsessed with ever since. You can bet that Barbara Lynn - You Can’t Buy My Love will be part of his regular rotation.

As we were leaving, one of the employees at Kops let us know of a record convention that was held in Hamilton, a town a few hours from Toronto. If we didn’t waste any time in the Queen City we would have a couple of hours to spare. So off we were.

The hustle paid off for me because I found a few interesting singles for a very fair price. The late hour probably helped in the negotiations. One was a UK pressing of My Generation by The Who. Nothing out of the ordinary here but I was happy to have Shout And Shimmy as the B-side.

The Canadian pressing I own has Out In The Street as the flip.  I also got an American pressing of Like We Used To Be by Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames released in 1965. This is something you don't come across often in Canada.

Here are a few more I was glad to have put my hands on for a dollar.

Open The Door To Your Heart - Darrell Banks - Revilot
You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye - Tamla Canada
Security - Etta James - Cadet
Bring A Little Lovin' - Los Bravos - Parrot
Working In The Coal Mine - Lee Dorsey - Quality
Pictures of Lilly - The Who - Decca
Ready Steady Who EP - The Who - Reaction

526 kilometers, 2 flea markets, 1 record store, 1 record convention , 4 pancakes and 26 singles bought. This is what I call a good day.

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