Saturday, April 19, 2008

Record Store Day

Saturday is the 1st Annual National Record Store Day.

Now this is a holiday I can get behind 100%. Record stores, while rapidly diminishing are still a great source of pleasure for music lovers everywhere. They have a smell. Downloading is easy, but it's impersonal. Even though most of you are here to do just that, instead of plying you with a bunch of compressed mp3's, I instead urge you to go out and buy something today. Something that you can hold in your hands, with writing on the back and pictures or a booklet with all kinds of information and artwork to peruse while you listen to it. Go to a real record store, not Walmart or the Virgin Megastore if you can help it. Go somewhere and look around. Buy something on a whim. Buy something because you like the cover. Buy something because someone told you it's good or it has a funny title. Take a chance. Go buy one of the records you heard here or somewhere else. I can tell you where I bought most of the records in my collection, because record stores are fun and I've been going to them since I was about six. I remember the first record I ever bought. It was a 45 of "Sugar Daddy" by The Jackson Five. 77 cents. I still have it. What was yours?

Turn off the damn computer and go support your local record seller now.


snuh said...

My first record was an ABC-Paramount 45 of Soupy Sales. The A Side was Do The Mouse b/w Pachalafaka. My next record was an LP - Meet The Beatles. I used to put on my Beatle boots and play along with my Beatle plastic guitar. I'd make sure to have the album cover facing me so the band could watch my clever fifth Beatle moves that would lead to my eventual hiring once I was old enough to shave.

Even if you don't play the vinyl, holding those old beat up album covers is a very evocative experience, all sorts of memories flood back, sorta like that old Everly Brothers song that talks about how the scratches on the face of a museum guitar told the stories of all the times the player had fell. Every stain, rip and scratch reminds me how they got there over the years, my albums are that beloved to me.

I feel sorry that nowadays, new music fans get their favorite tunes either encased in a small plastic box or in the case of downloaded music, not at all.

If anything good has come from the demise of the vinyl album, it's the soulless chain stores that have fallen by the wayside. Nowadays, the few record stores out there are staffed by music lovers, which helps bring some of the excitement back to record shopping.

Anonymous said...

That's a very fine plan for the day. Today I shall sally forth to a record store and discover something I didn't know about. The first record I got was Monkees 'Last Train to Clarksville", and the first album I bought (much later) was Roxy Music's 'Country Life'. Today I shall know which record - vinyl - is the latest I bought.

The very feel of paper, print, vinyl and size, with pictures and information about the artist, recording dates, session people and even record company paraphernalia is a joy the downloaded file cannot offer.

Many anthems have been written about Rock & Roll Radio, but how many have written about the record store? Outside Wild Man Fischer's Go to Rhino records?

JSG said...

Son of Shaft by the Bar-kays, because my older brother had bought Shaft proper.



halfpear said...

Good entry (as are they all). If we go buy records today, is it possible we can save the world from the carnival midway 'smash the record win a prize' games that are so prevalent nowadays? Whenever I see that going on at local fairs (more often than you'd think), I feel so sick and I want to rescue the vinyl.

First single I bough with my own money was "Sound Asleep" by the Turtles which I carefully applied Letraset to: PETER OWNS THIS. I had that record until Hurricane Katrina.

Feldspar said...

Today I will be heading into Boston just for this very occasion. Going to make a fine day of food/beer/vinyl buying and listening. My 1st album I bought when I was about 11 was a 45 of the Kinks "Come Dancing"

Tom said...

My first 45 was The Last Time / Play With Fire by the Rolling Stones some hundred years ago. This year I learned from a download site (not this one) that the Stones "borrowed" it from the Staple Singers. That's why I love both, the record stores and the mp3 blogs.

ken kurp said...

I stole my first record. It was hoagy carmichaels King re-bop on 78.12,000 lps later on my way home from work I stopped at a house sale and bought a shoebox full of Polish and hispanic 45's. Thats my saturday project. maybe 100 singles for a dollar. heaven

Jim said...

I was the fourth of five children, so I was already surrounded by 45s by Elvis, the Beatles, the Raiders and Herman's Hermits by the time I sauntered out to get my first record. It was "Venus" by the Shocking Blue. Yes, I still have it.

Later that year, I saved up for my first album: Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water". I bought it because I loved "Cecilia". It didn't take me long to love the rest ("The Boxer", "Baby Driver", "Keep the Customer Satisfied", etc.)

Anonymous said...

How about a little 4 song 45rpm with Harry Belafonte singing "Jamaican Farewell","Banana Boat Song"and "Will His Love Be Like His Rum?" and one other song on RCA for my first purchase? That's one that Mr. Tom Ray & Lew Prince don't stock do they ?

Anonymous said...

My first LPs were the Beatles' "Help" from a record shop, or more correctly a music shop as they often were back then (instruments, sheet music, piano stools, vinyl) and "Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits" for $2 off a guy down the road. So the benchmarks were set, but fortunately for me I still feel pretty much the same sense of anticipation when I pick up a new CD or download something interesting as I did while walking home with a new LP under my arm back then. And you're right about the specialness of a great record shop (or store if you like) and in the four countries in which I've lived for any length of time I have such fond memories of so many of these establishments. Hearing a future favourite for the first time over the shop stereo, talking sense and nonsense with the regulars, reading the mags, the clik-clik-clik sound of rummaging through the racks, and just hanging around. It seems like half the story of my life.

Anonymous said...

You have an excellent blog.

My 1st record was the 45 of "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In".

dataGuy said...

Sorry to grave dig but this is one of my favorite questions to ask when talking about music. My first was Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield