September 7, 2006

Remembering Records.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:23 pm

45 Records.jpgA couple weeks ago, I was in a nearby mall and decided to visit Sam Goody’s to pick up a couple CDs. The store was no longer there.

I have since learned that the parent company of Sam Goody filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code, and that the company’s financial distress was, in part, the increased number of people downloading music from the internet. Sorta sad, methinks.

Seeing as how I have never used an ATM, I never could program a VCR, and I gave away a DVD player when I couldn’t figure out how to hook the damned thing up, it should not be all that surprising that I don’t download music from the internet. I buy CDs at places like Sam Goody’s and sometimes from Amazon.

However, before the Digital Age, I bought “records” at a “record store”. Indeed, as kids, we would gather up some of our “spend money”, catch a ten-cent bus ride into Newark and spend a wonderful hour or two in a store called Park Records. Park Records was a narrow but deep place, which had an amazing inventory of 45s, LPs, and even a rack or two of 78s. In addition to always having an ample supply of the “hits”, the owner stocked an absolutely amazing array of past hits soon-to-be-hits, and non-hits as well, and, as I recall, he kept track of all this in his head. If you managed to come up with a tune that he did not have, you could rest assured that he would have it the next time you schlepped across the river to shop for records.

I cannot recall the price of a 45 record back then, but it was less than a buck. We would spend loads of time sifting through hundreds of records, and wanting to buy dozens, but having to settle for however many records five bucks (or sometimes less) would buy.

After everyone finally completed their purchases, we would take the bus home and invariably convene at my parents’ house where we would play our precious purchases on a humongous Motorola console “Stereo”, which had a couple big-ass speakers and a power tube in it that was roughly the size of a small eggplant. We played those records loud, and we’d argue about discuss (also loudly) the relative merits of each. After we played hell out each of the new records, their owners would carefully return them to their paper sleeves to be brought to their respective houses and played some more.

As I got older, 45s and LPs from Park Records and that gorilla stompin’, mondo Motorola provided me (and the neighborhood) with the music I used to learn to play drums and guitar. Fortunately, I had tolerant parents and friendly neighbors.

I think that kids who get their music with a simple mouse click are missing something.

Thanks for the idea go out to Steve, a reader and Jersey Guy who has somehow ended up in California.

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