Record Store Day

Happy Record Store Day

Many many years ago I worked in a record store in Hackensack, NJ with a whole mess of great people, many of whom I’m still in touch with. (Hi Rita, Sam, Bob, Jack, Helen, and Wayne.) Though it was a chain store and not an independently owned shop, it was still very High Fidelity. Oh, the lists…

A certain kind of person works in a record store, then and now. Then the customers ran the gamut, from Kenny G. fans to people who couldn’t wait to get the latest Ministry 12″. Now, it seems the only people who visit record stores are more apt to dig for that Ministry 12″. Well, maybe not Ministry.

Certain things have been gained with the digital revolution where music is concerned. But some things have been lost, too. I miss two things. 1) That tactile sense of holding an LP, reading the liner notes, staring at album cover art groovy enough for framing. 2) As the number of record stores continue to dwindle, the face-to-face interaction with other folks interested in music is disappearing. And I think that’s a shame. (Yeah, I know, you can find folks with similar musical tastes online, but it isn’t the same, really, than, you know, leaving your house and talking to someone.)

So, to honor Record Store Day and the interactions that happen in such establishments, I put together the following blog-only clip from footage Wolfgang Held shot at Hyde Park Records in Chicago, when we first met Robert Darden. Mine is the low voice you hear in the beginning, talking about the Redd Foxx LP being displayed above the gospel section, “the sacred and profane in one eyeful.”

Big thanks to Redd Foxx and the wonderful customer for making this pretty special. I hope you like it. And why not celebrate the day by going to your local record store and taking part in the festivities. I understand many of you ditched your turntables, so maybe you can buy a cd while you’re there. [Do people still have CD players.]


So, what was the last CD/LP/45 you bought?

Click here to view a clip from the documentary, A Life’s Work (work in progress), featuring more footage shot in HPR.

Artist Rita Flores, who was one of my co-workers all those years ago, today coincidentally posted a piece about the joys of record stores on her blog, Through the Lava Lamp.

10 Replies to “Record Store Day”

  1. I just bought “The Essential Leonard Cohen.” Driving across the Midwest listening to Canadian public radio where they seem to talk about him a lot, I decided to pick some up for the drive home. There is only so much political talk one can absorb in 2500 miles of endless prairie.

    1. Nice choice! And I think he has a new album out, doesn’t he?

      Once I drove from Orlando, FL to Montgomery, AL. There was some fascinating radio. For a while, anyway.

      Good to see you here again, Jane. Hope all is well.

  2. He does. When I was picking up my show in KC, the gallery owner burned me a CD. I have Sirius radio so get some really weird stuff.

    Things are about the same here. How about you?

  3. I did not know this was Record Store Day. Thanks for re-posting (nice clip, too). I quite miss record stores. I used to work in one as well (High Fidelity was spot on in so many ways, wasn’t it? I swear I worked with those people.) and hung out in many, many others – all gone now, I think.

    You’re right, online is not the same as thumbing through bins.

    Last CD purchased was AMMMusic (that, I confess, I probably would not have been exposed to if note for the interwebs [but then again, might have, if only those cool record stores were still around…]).

    1. Hi Jamie,

      I’m here to remind people important day like Arbor Day and Record Store Day! (I missed Grilled Cheese Day, it was in the last couple of weeks sometime.)

      I worked with those people, too! And I WAS one of those people. Sometimes Jack Black and sometimes the shy, meek guy, depending on the day and the customer I was “helping.”

      Yeah, they’re all gone. Gone forever.

      I don’t know AMMMMusic.

      And yes, I’ve certainly been exposed to a lot of music thanks to the Internet. And this is mostly because now I can listen to a bazillion radio stations from around the world, though I confess to only listening to a few–KEXP, KALX, WFMU, sometimes Dublab, sometimes Luxuria. Take the good with the bad, I guess.

      Thanks for the comment. Always good to see your name here.


  4. The last piece of vinyl I bought was just before Christmas. I saw a used copy of an old Black Sabbath LP that I knew my son wanted. My son Van, a musician — and like musicians I know — is BIG into vinyl. I think the LP cost $10. On Christmas day, he opened the package containing the LP and his eyes grew wide. Gingerly, he opened the sleeve, then let out a yelp! Inside, still intact, was the original Sabs poster — in mint condition. He confessed he’d been on eBay in recent months looking even for a used copy of the poster and had been willing to pay WAY too much money for a copy! Take THAT digital music! As he said at the time, “Best. Christmas. EVER.”

    1. Oh, that is FANTASTIC!

      I have a confession and apology to make to the world of record collectors. My older brother bought The White Album when I was a kid, and back then it came with glossy headshot photos of John, Paul, George and Ringo, and… well, I was kid. For some reason, I cut them up and made a collage out of those photos.

      It pains me to think of this to this day.

      I’m so glad the owner of that Black Sabbath record revered it enough to keep the poster, even if he was willing to part with the record. Another example of someone thinking beyond him/herself.

      Well done, owner of that Black Sabbath record.

      Thanks for sharing the great story, Bob.


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