Ghosts of Record Stores Past and Present

Much of my youth was spent hunting for and playing vinyl. I have created this site to remember many of the stores I've visited. Don't try and visit them without calling first, as many of them are no longer with us. If I've posted a picture of a store that you want me to delete please let me know and I'll take it down. To see a particular store just open the photo album with its name on it or click on the green (open) or red (closed) marker in the map below. Expanding the map will reveal more stores in the same city.

The site also contains links to interesting articles and information on record shops and record collecting and fine musical suggestions and playlists for your listening pleasure (with You Tube links so you can check them out for yourself). The Playlists can be found by scrolling to a separate section of the index under the heading musical resources. And our latest addition, Song of the Day, a glimpse at what's playing on my stereo today, appears there as well.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Music Country

Music Country -  728 Anderson Ave., Cliffside Park, NJ  07010
Open - since 1934

Recently made the journey to Music Country in Cliffside Park (near Fort Lee).  I must admit, I was drawn to the claim it was the oldest record store in the country.  It was a small but nice shop, run by Joan and Bill Demarest, who are pictured below.  Bill was playing a Beatles tune when I came in, with lyrics written by hand.  He followed with House of the Rising Sun, by the Animals, and then his wife joined on harmony on another.  They had worthy records to browse, and I snagged a couple of 45 picture sleeves including the Rollings Stones Mothers Little Helper b/w Lady Jane.   They even discussed the local music scene.  All in all, an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.  And as for the claim they are the oldest record store in the country?  Who knows, they just might be.

Here's a link to a story that appeared about the store on Fox5 in July 2015 by Mac King titled NJ Record Store in Business Since 1934 with an interview of the store's owners Joan and Bill Demarest singing a tune or two.

Here'a link to the store's website, where they feature old photos of the store's history, and in particular, the original owner.

And finally, here's an article by Anthony Locicero Nostalgia Sparks Cliffside Park Music Store's Renaissance that appeared in June 2016 in the Cliffside Park - Edgewater Daily Voice with more on the store's history.

Friday, July 14, 2017

60s Garage Crate Diggin'

60s Garage - Crate Diggin' Never Ceases

While I may have been away, my crate diggin' never ceases.  Here are some of the more memorable tunes I've located in my recent travels.  These are 60s garage, mod and surf records, or garage revivals of more recent vintage.

First up are the Bambi Molesters doing their version of the surf tune Malaguena from 2001's Sonic Bullets.  I like this version better that many others who have tried their hand at this same tune, because the Bambi Molesters incorporate Mariachi horns (a personal favorite).  Malaguena is a song written in 1928 by the Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona.  The Bambi Molesters are from Croatia, and had the assistance of Peter Buck of REM fame (and others) on this album (but not this particular song).

For fun, here is another version of Malguena, this time by the Phantom Surfers, without the Mariachi horns, but with a dancing girl (and masks).  You decide which you like better.

Next up is the mighty Starfires - I Never Loved Her.  Out of LA in 1965, this is a killer combination of 60s punk and garage.  The original will cost you quite a pretty penny if you could ever find it.  I never gave her my high school ring, I never bought her expensive things, I only gave her one ride in my car, and I didn't drive her very far ... I never loved her ....  Tasty guitar, snotty vocals, insistent bass ...

And now a pair of songs off of New England Teen Scene vol. 1.  First up Rouges - Next Guy.  From 1966 New England.  A moody sad song by a sad sack.

And here's another one - Effects - Don't You Ever Make Me Blue.  This one starts out as a moody ballad, then shifts to high gear, with some beat touches and a nice garage guitar break.

This is a mod raver by The Afex - She's Got The Time.  From England, this was recorded in 1967 while the band members were 13 and 14 years old.  With a swirling organ break.

Here is West Virginia's Evil Enc. Group performing Hey You in 1968.  A garage record with two vocalists and a fuzzed out guitar break over a farfisa.

Next up is the JuJus - Do You Understand Me.  Pure 1966 garage out of Michigan, complete with an excellent driving riff,  raw guitar solo and the random lead singer scream.  The flip side of this single, I'm Really Sorry, is also quite good.

Here's an article in Garage Hangover that gives you some information about the history of the JuJus.

From Tennessee, here is Little Alton and the Velvatones - She Said Yeah (typo on the label should read Velvetones). Clearly influenced by the Kingsmen's Louie Louie, this is a nice garage rocker with a clever story, which ends sadly for our hero.  Little Alton was  Ronald "Alton" Hoskins who founded the group.

Here's some 60's punk, the universally respected Thoughts of a Madman by the Nomads.  Snotty vocals, seering guitar solo, farfisa organ, vocal scream, all boxes checked for a 5 star 1966 60s punk offering.  You'll pay a hefty price if you want to buy this one, of at least $500, and sometimes more than $1000.  From Mount Airy, North Carolina.

And finally, here are two from the Giant Robots, who are faithfully bringing back 60s Garage in the 2000s.  The first is Tell Me Something New from 2013's Delightfully Refreshing LP.  The second is Get Away from Too Young To Know Better Too Hard To Care released in 2008.  The band is from Switzerland, but they sure sound like they could have crawled out of a 60s Garage.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Attic Records

Attic Records -  513 Grant Ave., Millvale (Pittsburgh), PA 15209

Pittsburgh is blessed with more than just one (Jerry's) great record store.  Number two on the list is Attic Records which has a large selection of 45s (not cheap) and endless rows of meticulously organized albums (by artist) along with plenty of cds.  And you can try before you buy.  One minor quibble - the records are not organized by genre, so you need to know what you are looking for.

Here is an article about the store Midvale Record Store Stays True To Its Roots, Keeps Selling Vinyl that appeared in the Trib Live on August 2, 2016,, and another Wiping Off The Dust At Attic Records that appeared in the Duquesne Duke.   

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Jerry's Records

Jerry's Records -  2136 Murray Ave Pittsburgh PA  15217
Ain't Closin'

Finally made it to Jerry's and it was worth the trip.  One of the great record stores in the USA today, it occupies (much) of the massive second floor of the building pictured below.   Mucho used records of all genres priced cheap - and if that isn't cheap enough they were giving away mystery boxes of records so long as you looked at them at home.  Run by Jerry Webber (pictured) you will need quite a lot time to do it right.  And of course you can listen to it before you buy it.  Just remember to bring cash as he won't take cards.  It has all genres - include Bad Rock Operas!  And who wouldn't love a store that features an album titled "Music of Today" in the Classical section.  Issac didn't lie.

And don't just take my word for it.

The store was featured in Rolling Stones' Best Record Stores In The USA published in Sept. 2010.

And here's an article in Dan Lindich's Sound Advice from Dec. 2016 Jerry's Records In Pittsburgh PA Records For People To Listen To  with more photos and an interview with Jerry, recounting the history of the store.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  Whistlin Willie's 78s is just down the hall on the same floor (if you look for 78s).