I think it was on Madison or Cooper. It was a small shop with some dusty racks of clothes, and I remember her having really cool shoes.
Besides Betty, the only other people in the store were myself and a really cool looking middle aged black dude who was wearing shades. There was a small record player behind the counter and when she put on the Arthur Conley single the shades guy got totally into it and starting dancing and singing along in a really sincere way and something just clicked for me at that moment. It was a crazy moment for me. I had a complete “ah ha” realization where I finally understood what it meant to be cool and finally “got it.”
I started frequenting Last Chance Records. I remember the feeling of everyone who worked there being really cool. That Arthur Conley song was one of the the first singles I got in what became a medium sized stack of soul records that I just played over and over during a really awkward phase of late middle school and early high school. From there I started listening to a lot of punk and rock-n-roll records.
That was a cool time period to live in Memphis. I would make my daily route up Cooper to go into Last Chance records and the Cotton Exchange, to Pie in the Sky for a slice and then down to the railroad tracks. I didn’t have a lot of friends, so I would pretty much sit around and listen to records by myself. Then I discovered the People’s Temple. I lost my virginity there (literally and figuratively). It was a trashy warehouse where a young Jay Reatard put on shows for whoever was passing thru Memphis. I saw some crazy shit at the People’s Temple including an incredible Lost Sounds / Viva L’ American Death Ray Music show where I basically discovered that I wanted to play music.
Check out this early video of the Lost Sounds live at the People’s Temple
Matthew Melton, originally from Memphis, now lives in Oakland, California and plays in the band Bare Wires. They are currently on tour with Thee Oh Sees and will be leaving for their first European tour in November. The title track on their new album “Cheap Perfume” is actually the first song Matthew Melton ever wrote at age 16 while still living in Memphis. Cheap Perfume comes out October 18 on Southpaw Records.