Today is the second annual Record Store Day. This is a day for music lovers. Sure, the economy is shot. The record business is too, but that was started long ago by the creeps running record labels who have increasingly become not music lovers, but businessmen with bad ideas. There are exceptions of course, but not enough of them.
This is what I had to say last year and I think it's worth repeating today:
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 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...
Record stores are important too. People that run them and work in them know stuff that you don't. There are celebrations and instore performances taking place everywhere today.
If you are in Phoenix, Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets is playing at Zia Records. In Nashville, Charlie Louvin and Del McCoury are gonna be at Grimeys. Jay Reatard is at Goner in Memphis. Mark Olson and Gary Louris from the Jayhawks are at Waterloo in Austin, I'm gonna go listen to a preview of the new Dylan record at Other Music in New York City today. Bill Callahan is playing there later too. In St Louis, the Bottle Rockets are playing at Euclid Records, one of my favorite places, and they're also unveiling the latest of their exclusive 7" singles by none other than NRBQ's Terry Adams. Make sure you tell Euclid owner Joe Schwab happy birthday. John Paul Keith & The One Four Fives are at the Disc Exchange in Knoxville, and Wilco are gonna be there signing autographs. There's tons of shit happening everywhere, plus it's spring and you should get away from your computer anyway and enjoy the beautiful weather. For more info on Record Store Day, go HERE.
I wasn't gonna post anything to download today, but I do have one thing to offer up. This is an unlikely collaboration between Swamp Dogg and friend of Fluville, Ben Greenman. Ben is a writer at The New Yorker, co-proprietor of Moistworks, and the author of several books. His latest novel, Please Step Back, is the fictional story of a soul singer named Rock Foxx, troubled and living San Francisco in the late sixties and early seventies. Ben wrote some lyrics to an unrecorded Rock Foxx song for the novel, and asked Jerry Williams (AKA Swamp Dogg) if he would like to compose some music and record it. And he did.
Here's what Ben had to say about it...
"The song is pretty important in the book because it's all about verticality. He gets high often because, well, he has a problem, and he's always seeking ground -- solid ground, and personal rootedness. But in the song, he's trying to make sense of it. It's all about gravity and bounce and birds. Things that affect the vertical. As Swamp Dogg was making his song I also made a horrendous 30-second version myself, which was how I imagined Rock Foxx would sing it -- slow, draggy, and druggy. Since I can't sing and there were no instruments, it was a super-raw demo. I destroyed it immediately. I'm glad I did, because it was horrendous, but I have it somewhere in my head, and it helps me see what a great job Swamp Dogg did with the song."
For more of the backstory on this great and unusual collaboration, go to Largehearted Boy.
"Please Step Back" mp3
by Swamp Dogg, 2009.
via Largehearted Boy
Okay, now go out and buy a Swamp Dogg record. I suggest Total Destruction To Your Mind or Rat On! Buy anything that tickles your fancy. Just get out and support your local record dealer. Have fun, and if you feel like it, let me know what you picked up today in the comments below.
If you live on the West Coast, Ben Greenman is going to be reading at some of the finer bookstores out there in the next few weeks. We'll save the dilemma of bookstores for another post.
top photograph: © Ted Barron
Del-Pen Market, St. Louis, Missouri, 1986.