Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Delta Rhythm Boys on Vespas

I just found this EP, recorded in 1957. The first song is "Liselott", not even close to Northern soul...
But there are five lovely guys on five Vespas.
The vocal group Delta Rhytm Boys was started as early as 1939 in Oklahoma, USA, according to the record sleeve. After WWII the went to Europe and ended up in Sweden in 1949. During the early fifties they recorded some EP:s for the newly formed Swedish record company Metronome. In 1955 they performed in over 150 places in Sweden.
Originally a jazz group but during their stay in Sweden they recorded several folkloristic and popular Swedish songs. In Swedish! I myself remember their rendition of "Flickorna i Småland", sung with a thick american accent and I believe that they only roughly knew what they were singing about. They also sang in Finnish!
So why posing on five Vespas?
The record label Metronome was started by Anders Burman and his brother Lars. But it was owned buy two brothers Bjerke, Mats and Tore. The Bjerke brothers also owned the Vespa importer "Como M & T Bjerke", Como came from their start as importers of fabric (silk) from the Como-district in Italy. Both businesses, records and Vespas, were operated from the same adress, Karlavägen 67 in Stockholm. And, this adress was also home for the Vespa Club Sverige (Sweden).
So, one hand makes an EP with Delta Rhytm Boys, the other want's to sell more Vespas. Voila, a beautiful record sleeve!
But I wonder if the Delta Boys ever drove their Vespas, in the pic they're all on their stands.
The model is the Vespa Touring, an export model with 150 cc, 6 hp and 10-inch wheels - the most common vintage Vespa in Sweden. The cowls had the "grodyngel" (tadpole, parole italiano e' girino) accesory. Note the arial with the foxtail, and I think there is a Vespa Club Sverige badge on the shield to the one in the middle.


  1. Very nice!!! Thanx a lot!! That's amazing. Cheers from São Paulo, Brasil.

  2. Beautiful. Great work, Thomas!

  3. That is an interesting story. I've seen that record here in the US. I may have even featured it in my blog... I had no idea of the Sweden connection!


  4. You can't see it in the picture on the blog, but on the record you can clearly see the registration/license numbers. They can be traceable through the archive for the Stockholm area. I'll come to that...