Anyone remember when there were so many record stores that you could bounce from one to the other, either to find exactly what you wanted or perhaps get that one album a little bit cheaper? Well, I do. Growing up in the woods in Daphne, Alabama, there was no place nearby to purchase records, so when rock and roll took off, I had a dilemma.
Fortunately, in the summer of 1957, my Mama started letting me ride the Greyhound bus to Mobile by myself to go to the movies once a week. I mowed lawns to finance these escapades, which required $5 for each trip. Expenditures were for the bus, the movies, lunch and – the pièce de résistance – my quest to find that one 45 RPM record that I couldn't live without.
My destinations on these missions were primarily Rutz Music and Jessie French. These two prominent stores sold instruments and sheet music, but, more important, they each had a record section with listening booths. Do you know how long it might take to pick out one hit single, which cost 99 cents? About two delightful hours.
I would cart untold numbers of LPs and 45s into the booths and angst over that one small purchase. Often, I would drag along a friend who had been recruited for the day to help with the decision-making process.
Record stores were gathering places. They had a certain smell and aura. They were magical in how they conveyed a time and a culture to a pre-teen boy who was usually dressed chromatically in either all-black or all-red.
My love of rock and roll and my love of vinyl has never waned. In fact, it only got worse as I grew older. The physical aspects of records – the labels, the covers, the liner notes – continue to fascinate me. As such, national Record Store Day is right up there with Thanksgiving. Add to that the resurgence of vinyl, and I'm truly ecstatic.
I urge any of you who love music to take some time on Saturday to patronize your local record dealer. Funny thing: If you don't know where your nearest record store is, there's an app for that.
In celebration of Record Store Day, all vinyl in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's f.y.e. record store will be 10% off on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22, 2012, from 10 am - 5 pm on both days. The store has approximately 1,500 45s and 2,000 LPs to choose from. Admission to the Museum is not required to shop at the record store.