Column

Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

Record Store Memories Revisited

You have pretty much described my childhood as well, we deviate in that I didn't stumble into a music job after college...I spent hours at Joe's Record shop in Anderson, IN, several days a week, I could walk there from both my junior high and high school, and the only thing I cared about having enough money for was records...Steve and Linda who worked the counter at Joe's were among my best friends, we talked music and I'd pore over the phonolog looking for some obscure record I'd read about in RS, Creem, Crawdaddy...a good friend of mine from those days who collected like I did has a couple of used vinyl stores and does very well with those, though I believe he just does it for the love of it...goes to rummage sales and estates and pays 25 cents a record, people just give records to him sometimes if he'll carry them away...they were gold back in the day...and that day is mostly gone, though my buddy has a lot of young traffic...they say they like the sound of vinyl, and the cover art and liner notes...so maybe we were right about all that stuff after all...

Phonolog...I can't even tell you how I dreaded those yellow and blue pages coming everyday in the mail, and the amount of work involved to keep that beast current at the store. Regarding Crawdaddy, many of the articles are still available at Paste Magazines' website, and I post them on my Roots Music FB page every few weeks. Here's the link to them. Lots of great writing, still archived.

Linda and Steve used to hate the Phonolog too, but they dutifully updated it...they were both really up on music...Linda was "singer songwriter", Steve was rock, blues, electric stuff...I loved both plus soul and R & B...we had some great conversations...the original owner of Joe's was a guy named Joe Pike, who carried every single in the phonolog when my dad first took me to Joe's at the age of 5 and bought me my first record...walls and wall of singles, an entier floor of bins for the albums...he had teenagers from Anderson High School as clerks...they'd play the records for you, and my dad would tell them to play me what they liked...so I always ended up with Elvis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry...they never tried to sell me Pat Boone because they knew the good stuff...

I read Paste, but I didn't know that Crawdaddy was out there archived...thanks for the tip, and there was a lot of great writing in Crwadaddy...I will definitely be looking at that...

Hey Ed, which record store did you work at in Santa Monica? I know I probably went in there many times...I was a Tempo Records regular out in the Valley.

Funny....It was Off The Record at 26th and Wilshire which became another Tempo store when the owners closed it down. Last time I checked, it was a shoe store. 

I was thinking Off The Record...yes I did go there often, always found some great albums.

We probably were the best in the area for collectibles, but our prices were criminal. Given the location, celebrity clientele and endless film production needs, we got away with murder. 

For all the conveniences of on line shopping and streaming, they will never ever capture any of the fun and social nature of browsing through a well stocked record store.  It was fun to go alone or with friends.  A little ball busting at a buddy's choices.  Wisecracks from, or about, the store clerks. Clerks who you learned from, even if just what to avoid.  The thrill of finding something unexpected or new.  As a teenager in Buffalo it was National Record Mart at the Eastern Hills Mall in Amherst, or the Record Theater near the UB Main campus.  Neighborhood shops around UWM in Milwaukee. Rainbow Records in Naperville IL, Rose Records in the Loop. 3rd St.  Jazz & Rock on 3rd at Market in Philly.  Vintage Vinyl on Delmar in St. Louis.  

Access to music is the thing anymore, but having a collection was something that was built, required time, thought, money, trial and error, it became a tangible reflection of someone's taste and personality.  

Same deal with book stores.

 

 

 

 

Jerry Gordon owned 3rd. Street Jazz (the 'and Rock' came later) and although I lost touch with him decades ago, my ex bumped into him last year. He was one of the good ones. 

Loved that shop.  Rock in the basement.  Only place I could find Guadalcanal Diary's Flip Flop. Bought a bunch of Claude Bolling CDs upstairs.  And come to think of it, No Depression by Uncle Tupelo.

The interesting thing about the intersection of 3rd and Market was the other stores located on three of the corner properties: Tie City, Shirt City and Slacks City. You're making me excerise my brain. 

Well put Jack...a 'tangible" reflection of my personality or mental state...schizophrenic I guess, since I had every kind of music there was (not much country early on)...

On line shopping allows one to skip the social interaction that went along with building your collection...we're probably all worse for that...doesn't just apply to records...

Nothing better than finding something unexpected, new...

 

When I lived in southern California we used to make record runs to the record stores that carried cut-out amd used albums. My favorite was Rockaway Records in Silver Lake...that had a great selection of the kind of music we were looking for. At one point the clerk was Lucinda Williams after she had moved from Austin to California to get her music career in gear...she did all right for herself and Rockaway is still in business today. My wife and I would go uptown on payday Friday night and she would hit the bookstore and I would go to Lovell's Records (the biggest little record store in the world). She would buy a book and I would by an album and home we would go to enjoy our new finds and look forward until the next payday so we could do it all over again.

 

 

Didn't know about Lu working at Rockaway. You might have also frequented Poobah's in Pasadena and Moby Disc. My favorite LA area spots in the eighties for bargain hunting were definitely Aron's on Melrose and Rhino on Westwood. I also liked American Pie in Palms for their 45s and East LA compilations. 

A few days ago, the PBS Newshour had a segment about rebuilding ancient shrines in Tibet that were damaged last year due to the earthquake.   The locals don’t like that they are being rebuilt using original materials that may be damaged.   If something is broken, they replace it.   Their attachment is with God and the place with religious activities, not with the architecture.  It really doesn’t make any difference to them if the Temples are rebuilt because they will worship where they are.  They live in the here and now.  

I wish I could be like that.  The music still exists.   Does it matter that the stores and the formats are gone?  I guess it does to a lot of us.  There are a lot of book and record stores I miss.   I miss (the imaginatively titled) Book and Record in Poughkeepsie.   I miss Borders Books.   I miss Bleecker Bob’s in NYC.  And while I used to shop the Tower Records at 4th and Broadway, there was no comparison with St. Marks Sounds a few blocks away.   That was the store that had the stuff I wanted and the store I miss most of all.  

Fortunately if I want to lose myself for an hour, I can go to the Great House of Guitars in Rochester.   They still have a great selection, even cassettes.   And since organization was never the HOG’s strong suit, you pretty much have to devote an hour every time you walk in.  If you ever want to get a nostalgic flashback, come to Rochester New York.   And I don’t use the phrase “come to Rochester” too often.       

          

Duke Jupiter was from Rochester.  Loved this tune.  Have the LP.

 

 

The mind that produced that ad also produced these albums. 

 

Duke Jupiter got inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame in 2014, the same year as Armand and Bruce Schaubroeck from the HOG.

 

I'd have bought those just for the covers...

Duke Jupiter...that's great!...someone nail the bass player's foot to the floor please...

"I spent a week there one night"...Seinfeld I believe...could have been Rochester he was referring to...

Organization isn't exactly paramount there I see...looks like my desk at work...I'd love to go there...I'd likely devote two hours...great pic...I take it the guitars are in another room or is it just an ironic store name and they don't have guitars?  If there's guitars, I'm there for 4 hours minimum...

The Main building is an old Grange Hall and there are other buildings cobbled together in maze like fashion.   There are guitars.....thousands of them on display.   I think they have almost as many in the basement.   The organization in the front building with the musical instruments isn't much better than the back building with the CD's and Tapes.  I don't know how many square feet there are but I can tell you that none of it is wasted.

   

 

 
 

That is just fantastic!...I'd spend longer there than at Disneyland, do they have concessions?...now I'm at a day just for records and another day just for guitars...couldn't possibly hold it to an hour or two...

Ed,

Wonderful story, but how could you do a way back on record stores w/o a mention of TOWER RECORDS????

Just askin'...

@Hap: When I was growing up in Philly there were no Tower stores outside of Sac and SF. In the early eighties I was based in LA and began a thirty year business relationship, and many of my own employees were plucked from the house that Russ built. The friendships are still going strong and the memories are etched into my mind. I've written about Tower over the years, most recently about the great Colin Hanks' doc All Things Must Pass. I'm not sure how good the No Dep search engine is, but the stories are still posted here somewhere. By the way, my fave locations aside from the usual suspects were West Covina, Anaheim, the original Tempe location and Nashville. Never got to Tokyo but they're still going strong throughout Japan. One day. 

My provincialism showing...

I arrived in CA for college in 1962 and stayed after military. I just assumed the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD was blessed with Tower Records stores.

When we didn't have much discretionary income in the early days, my wife and I would spend many Saturday evenings at one of 2 San Diego Tower Records stores, talking with the staff, listening to what was being played, chatting with other customers/browsers,maybe making a purchase of one thing or another, checking out up-coming shows. We were both heartbroken when Tower went tennies up...

Again, a good column. Many thanks...

Tower owned San Diego. Sports Arena, La Mesa, El Cajon and La Jolla were all great spots.