In rotation: 10/6/20

Houston, TX | Talking Menudo and Selena with a longstanding East End record shop owner: “We are the last of the Mohicans,” said Guillermo Memo Villarreal Jr., son of the legendary record store owner known to everyone as “Memo.” Guillermo was describing his family’s longstanding shop in Magnolia Park, a place I’ve known since childhood. Decades ago, my mother would take us kids to Memo’s Record Shop on the weekends to browse as she picked up albums from Celia Cruz and Willie Colon. Since my mother passed away I’ve guarded a box full of those albums, a collection of childhood memories from a special place and time. A record shop dedicated exclusively to Latin artists, Memo’s has stood the test of time since opening in 1968 along 75th street in the East End. “Many people who visit my store today came when they were younger and share their memories of how I would give them candy at each visit,” Memo Villarreal told Chron. “Today, they bring back their spouses and kids to enjoy the record shop.”

Charlotte, NC | Even Record Store Day looks a little different during the era of COVID-19: Timeless notes from Don Cherry’s trumpet reverberated inside Lunchbox Records as customers entered five at a time in an attempt to get their hands on limited edition vinyls this past Saturday. While Lunchbox normally stocks some limited edition releases, this was a particularly special day for vinyl lovers, as it was Record Store Day — a national day that celebrates local record stores across the country by releasing records that can’t be bought online or at stores like Urban Outfitters. While Record Store Day is no new concept for Lunchbox, which has been participating in the nationwide event for 12 years, doing so with COVID-19 still looming in Charlotte was a whole other story. In previous years, some eager customers would secure a spot in line hours before the sun would rise over the turquoise building on Central Avenue. While there was still a sizable line by the time owner Scott Wishart arrived — around 50 socially-distanced-customers — the lack of lawn chairs from customers camping out the night prior was noticeable.

St. Louis, MO | Dead Wax Records Owners Opening New Record Store in Princeton Heights: Yesterday when we saw that this beautiful (and gigantic) property on Cherokee Street was for sale, our first thought was to wonder what was going to happen to Dead Wax Records, which currently inhabits a storefront on the ground floor. No need to worry, said owner Jeremy Miller when we spoke to him last night. Dead Wax is not only not planning on closing — the owners are expanding their music retail business into a second storefront. Miller and Jake Kamp will soon be opening a brand-new record store in Princeton Heights, pending their approval for a business license after they have a virtual hearing. They expect to open the new spot in just a couple of weeks at 6015 Gravois Avenue near Christy Boulevard. Instead of just focusing on LPs (the specialty at Dead Wax Records), this new as-yet-unnamed record store will also sell cassettes, CDs and 45s. The pandemic has put a huge dent in their business this year, and Miller said they’ve been “trying to not go totally online” to make up for lost sales because they believe in the importance of community fostered by public spaces like record stores.

McKinney, TX | Red Zeppelin, the Only Female-Owned Record Store in Collin County, Offers Time Travel with Good Tunes: Katie Scott was 8 years old when she first started rocking out to albums by hair metal bands in the ’80s. As a child, Scott took piano lessons, but was more attracted to the heavier music that her parents listened to. When she was a teenager, her parents passed along their record collection, which sparked her love of vinyl. Some of her favorite albums include Hunky Dory by David Bowie and Speaking in Tongues by Talking Heads. After Loco Cowpoke, a family-owned salsa shop, closed in downtown McKinney, Scott saw the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream and open a record store. Two weeks after the salsa shop closed, Scott signed the paperwork to lease out the space and became the first female record store owner in Collin County. In July, Red Zeppelin opened its doors. “Who would have thought it would have happened during the pandemic?” Scott says. Scott, who is a former Allen ISD teacher, designed the record store to take music lovers back to the past when they walk through the doors.

Cork, IE | Cork record store owner bids emotional farewell in video after trading for more than 50 years: John Coffey signed off on over five decades of trading from his Uneeda book and record shop in a video posted by his grandson. The owner of the Uneeda book and record store has signed off with an emotional video message, as he announced the closure of a shop that has traded for more than 50 years. John Coffey, 88, was a familiar sight behind his counter at Oliver Plunkett St for generations of Cork shoppers, but has reluctantly decided to shut the shop. In a video posted on Facebook by his grandson Jason J Cassells, Mr Coffey bid a moving farewell to his customers. I’ve enjoyed every second behind that counter,” he states in the video. “There’s a tear in my eye. All I can say to you, one and all, every one of you, thank you very, very much from the bottom of my heart. John Coffey, signing off.” When he first opened Uneeda in the 1960s, The Beatles were still together and CDs hadn’t even been invented. Uneeda has traded in two locations on the famously-long street, occupying No 71 for the past 30 years with its selection of second-hand books and music.

Grand Junction, CO | The bond that records make cannot be matched: Music records and CDs are a window into who we are as people. It’s a peek into how we like our guitars tuned, what subject we want tackled in lyrics, the tempo we like our beats and how we like our art to look. Vinyl is in a post-streaming revival. It’s an expensive hobby that commands more effort out of someone to listen to an album more than any other media. I was prompted with writing why I think record sales have surged in the last decade. I can’t speak to why others buy, only myself. We rely on music to carry us through an unforeseen pandemic. Music is our go-to friend to connect with when we’re sad or in love. A record store houses these products of history, as beings who fall in love, fall into depression and want to explore the art of sound have done for centuries. I moved to Grand Junction from Denver two months ago for this job at The Daily Sentinel. I can count on one hand the number of friends I know here. I don’t even need a hand to count how many blood relatives I have here. I’m only five hours from home, but I still feel like I left everything to pursue my dream of being a journalist.

NZ | Rare New Zealand vinyl that sells for thousands of dollars: Simon Grigg writes about the New Zealand record phenomenon now selling in the thousands online – and details some of the more interesting examples. Long before New Zealand held a record fair and online auction house, we had hundreds of cluttered, dark and dusty opportunity shops known to everyone as “opshops.” There is even a Famous Kiwi band named after them. These thrift and thrift stores often support charities and can be found in every New Zealand suburb and city. There are a lot of them – by the late 1990s Auckland’s Dominion Road had a dozen or so. Of course they are still around, but not in the same number, and they are somewhat more structured and less jumbled than before. Thanks in large part to the internet, the potential value of much of the “junk” being sold can be quickly assessed. Each of these stores has (or owns) a corner with at least two or three boxes of used vinyl records. These days it tends to be CD although vinyl with records of Nana Mouskouri, Kamahl, James Last and Seekers inevitably still occupy space in many places.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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