A few months ago on a lazy Sunday afternoon, as I was strolling down the quirky fashion drag that is Toronto’s Queen Street, I spotted something in the corner of my eye that seemed just ever so slightly out of context. Stopping for a moment, I looked into the display window of a trendy vinyl store, and eyed there amongst the colourful sleeves of obscure folk and rock albums the word Zendooni (Persian for 'Prisoner') in garish yellow lettering above a conspicuously Iranian-looking woman in a field of sunflowers; Funk, psychedelia and pop from the Iranian pre-revolution generation read the description. Lacking a record player, I immediately looked up the album on the Internet upon arriving at home (after enjoying a dose of coffee and pre-Revolution Iranian pop art at nearby R2, of course), and discovered that it was yet another pressing by the American record label Light in the Attic, which had previously released albums in a similar vein such as Khana Khana!, as well as a formidable compilation of hits by the Iranian rocker Kourosh Yaghmaei and a previously unreleased selection of songs by the hitherto unknown Tehran-based garage band The Jokers.
Although I had successfully sourced with eagerness the tracks on Zendooni, it wasn’t the first time I'd gone digging in pursuit of Iranian 'nuggets' (as record collectors like to call them) from the 60s and 70s; that is, from that brief era of bliss before the shit hit the fan for the Iranian music industry. My love affair with these quirky disco, funk, and psychedelic tracks began some years ago during the autumn of 2009, whilst a humble University student in dankest, darkest London.