Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remember Record Stores?

Remember the concept of record stores? It semms most people have forgotten what it's like to flip through vinyl records or stare at walls of cassette tapes and finally browsing the CD long boxes when they were only at the registers. I love a good record stop...before digital downloads, FYE, amazon.com and B&N overthrew the market we had Record Bar, Turtles, Peaches, Coconuts and the Mecca...TOWER RECORDS. During my childhood, my sister and I were only exposed to the latest hits via WABB 97.5 or 45 from TG&Y or K-Mart Our full length albums were usually whatever was on clearance or those wonderful K-Tel collections that had the shorter than edited radio versions. Once in a while, my mom would drive my sister and I to the mall but our mall visit came with strings attached...LIMITED TIME. My sister would cover rap (or what they called rap back in the 80s), pop/rock and new releases quicker than anyone I'd ever met...She also always managed to have a little cash to by a tape. I went for the 12" singles and the M (for Madonna) section of pop/rock but could only cover each secion for the "essentials" before my mom would drag us down to Pennys if we were at University Mall and Montgomery Wards is we were fortunate enough to be at Cordova Mall. Vinyl became obsolete toward the end of my elementary school years but I preferred snap crackle pop over the cheap tape decks and players we had eating or mangling my favorite tunes.
Record stores have definitely changed over the years for sure. There was a time went you walked in and the staff consisted of 5 highly knowledgable sales people and 2 managers that were just as knowledgable at any one given time, now it's 2 sales people all the time that usually know nothing about anything other than ghetto rap...I'm not making a racist remark but it's true I walked into FYE a few weeks ago and ghetto rap was blasting out the speakers and I asked the sales guy if they had "Love Never Dies" on CD and he asked "Who it by?" When I worked in music stores I knew what all the new releases were and would've known that it was not a group but a cast recording. Fortunately, there are a few old timers that know they have a corner in the market for vinyl freaks like me. Here in Atlanta, we have Fantasyland Records...the only store that I make sure I'm wearing comfortable shoes to shop. The selection rivals 4 record superstores in the space equal to a mall store. My days are Fantasyland are usually all day affairs. Breakfast at Einstein Brothers, flipping through vinyl, lunch at McDonalds, flipping through more vinyl...Then off to meet Terry and we're on our way home. Something in the feel and sound of vinyl rocks my world and no matter how many CDs I collect I usually end up with the vinyl version spinning on my turntable if by any chance I can get my hands on it.
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