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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Song of the Day

Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky

Today's song of the day is one of the greatest one-hit wonders of all time - Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky  From 1969, the song features heavy fuzzed out guitar over a gospel ode to God.  According to Wikipedia, the lead on the original was not actually played by Greenbaum, but instead by Russell Dashiell, who came up with the interesting fade in/out sound by switching between his guitar's pickups, with one on and one off.  Recently feature in the movie The End. There is also a cool YouTube video that will teach you how to play the guitar parts, if you're so inclined.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rainbow Music

Rainbow Music East Village New York City
   130 1st Ave.  East Village, New York 10009 - still open, but not for long (when I originally posted this in January 2014).
   and now, not long has passed.  Closed

Rainbow Music Record Store East Village New York City

Its quite an experience.  Records, cds, tapes are stacked from floor to ceiling, and cover the entire floor, with the exception of a single aisle running from the entrance to the rear of the store.  No discernible order to any of the stock, the owner Bill Kasper - who goes by the nickname the Birdman -  advises he won't be there long, as the landlord has visions of bigger and more profitable things.  Give him a visit before he goes - right down the block from Kim's.

Here's a  link to the blog Messy Nessy - The Last Little Music Shop In East Village an August 23, 2013 story about the store and its owner. 

A documentary filmmaker - Jessie Auritt, made a short film of the store and its owner.  You can watch it on the Messy Nessy blog post, linked above.

And here's a September 2015 story from the Times East Villages Birdman Abandoning His Nest Of Cds And Cassettes reporting on the Rainbow Music's imminent closing.

Song of the Day

Sly & the Family Stone - Hot Fun In The Summertime/ I Want To Take Your Higher

Today's song of the day is a live medly by Sly & the Family Stone - Hot Fun In The Summertime/ I Want To Take Your Higher  From 1969, when the group was full of voices that could sing and play, and Sly was inventive - bringing funk, psychedelic guitars, horns, and a great big beat to the masses - along with all those voices.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Song Of The Day

Rolling Stones - 2000 Light Years From Home

Today's song of the day is British psychedelia from the Rolling Stones - 2000 Light Years From Home  The you tube video is perfect, with the band performing the track on tape with some great psychedelic effects.  From 1967's Their Satanic Majesties Request - the one with the 3d cover if you've seen the original.  Brian Jones is still with the band.  The song has some great effects, but still the Rolling Stone beat to drive it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Song of the Day

Sugarcult - Los Angeles

Today's song of the day is a change of pace - something a little harder Sugarcult - Los Angeles  From 2006's Lights Out, this is punk-pop song with a bit of grit - more punk then pop, but still enough pop to satisfy.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Song of the Day

Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin - Spirit In The Dark

Today's song of the day is a smokin' live version of Spirit In The Dark by Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin  Taken from Aretha's double album Live At The Fillmore, this is part of Aretha's performance of that song at this concert.  If you want to see the whole 25 minute version, which also features Aretha doing the song first by herself, you can see that here.  Soul doesn't get much better than this.  The band is crack.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Song of the Day

Litter - Action Woman

Today's song of the day is the incomparable Litter - Action Woman  The definition of 60s punk, snarling vocals, snarling fuzz leaden lead guitar, from Minneapolis.  Originally released in 1967 on their Distortions lp.  Good luck finding that on ebay.

Play It Again, Bethlehem, Pa.

Play It Again, Bethlehem, Pa.  
Closed (and it was not open on Sunday and Monday) - 129 W. 4th Street, Bethlehem, Pa.  18015

When my son went to Lehigh, and I visited in January 2014, the store was open and full of records. Unfortunately, its 30 plus year run is ending this August, 2016.  Here is an article Record Run Ends As Play It Again Closes in Bethlehem that appeared on July 20, 2016 in Lehigh Valley Live interviewing the store's owner Joe Hanna, discussing both the store's history and its closing.

Play It Again Record Store Bethlehem Pa.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Song of the Day

Shins - New Slang

Today's song of the day is the Shins - New Slang  No secret here, this is the official video, so excuse the ad.  Led by James Mercer, this is from 2001's Oh Inverted World.  Indie pop by a band well known and loved.  The band, and album, have many good songs, so if you like this one, give some more a listen too.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Song of the Day

David Lindley - Quarter of a Man

Today's song of the day is David Lindley - Quarter of a Man .  From 1981's El-Rayo X, this is Jackson Browne's sideman first solo album.  This song is reggae, and quite good reggae at that.  The album too is quite good, featuring another very good reggae song, She Took Off My Romeos, and a rocker Mercury Blues with great slide guitar.  Dig the cover, particularly the alien shadow.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Song Of The Day

Belle and Sebastian - Like Dylan In The Movies

Today's song of the day is from Belle and Sebastian - Like Dylan In The Movies .  Perfect indie pop from a Scotish band that started out as a school project.  Led by Stuart Murdoch, this song is from the perfect album If You're Feeling Sinister from 1996.  I could have picked any number of songs from this album (Stars of Track and Field, Mayfly), but the video for this was perfect, especially for a band that does not feature itself on the cover of its albums - just remember its not Dylan singing this song.  I've read Mr. Murdoch favors Love, always a good place to start.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Song of the Day

Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs Tears

Today's song of the day is Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs Tears  From Talking With the Taxman About Poetry from 1986.  A great story with a sad ending, played over a single guitar and a perfect trumpet ending.  This is a live version from 1991.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Song of the Day

John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison - Gloria

Today's song of the day is a live version of Gloria - John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison .  Live from the Beacon Theatre in 1989, its hard to decide who gets top billing for this collaboration - but we'll go with age before beauty.  A 60s garage rock classic from Van Morrison's days with Them, this is reworked by Hooker into a typical Hooker vamp.  Classic.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Song of the Day

Los Lobos - Don't Worry Baby

Today's song of the day is from Los Lobos - Don't Worry Baby .  From 1984's How Will The Wolf Survive, this is a straight ahead rock n' roll stomp with two excellent lead guitars each offering a quality solo.  They sound here alot like the Fabulous Thunderbirds.  The band (Latino) learned to play in the bars of East LA, and this is bar band music at its finest.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Song of the Day

Chob - We're Pretty Quick

For today's Song of the Day we're going back to the garage to unearth the Chob - We're Pretty Quick .  Everything you want in a 60s garage punk song, snarling lead vocals, Farfisa organ, snaking thin reverb drenched lead.  From New Mexico 1966, produced by Lindy Blaskey who both produced some other fine garage singles (Burgundy Run - Stop) and recorded some himself (You Ain't Tuff (Baby)).  The original single is worth a pretty penny (or quite a few pretty pennies) as it is no. 139 on the G45 list of rare 60s garage singles.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Best Independent Record Stores Open Today

Best Independent Record Stores Open Today

Given the resurgence in vinyl, I thought it would be useful to collect links to articles informing of the best independent record stores open today.  Happy hunting.  Hopefully, they're playing something  you like and better still, don't know.

From LaWeekly, an August 26, 2016 article titled The 20 Best Record Stores In Los Angeles And Beyond.

From the Blog LAWeekly, a Dec. 16, 2013 article titled 10 Best Record Stores in LA  .  And a companion piece, featuring photos of the stores by Kelsee Becker.

While in California, here's another list from Live 105 -  Best Vinyl Shops in San Francisco , published Jan. 22, 2014.

Here are four separate lists of the best record stores in NYC (including Brooklyn and Manhattan)

From NYC Go/ Jonathan Zeller/ April 10, 2013 - Vinyl Sale NYC Music Stores

From Grandlife Hotel's / Anthony Pappalardo - published May 16, 2013 -  NYC's Best Record Stores: Our Top 5 Picks

and from Time Out New York  /  Jan. 23, 2013 -  Best Record Stores in NYC

From NYC Guide, a Jan. 15, 2014 post Five Best (Remaining) Record Stores In NYC

Here's a list of where to go hunting for records on Long Island published in Newsday's Explore Long Island on January 22, 2014 - Independent Record Stores.

Here are some articles about best of record stores throughout the US

From Daily Candy/ April 18, 2013  Coast to Coast: Indie Record Stores  features 27 stores from coast to coast.

Rolling Stone published this list of Best Record Stores in the USA featuring 31 record stores throughout the country.  A list that leads with Ameboa can't be all bad.

From Pitchfork an August 20, 2012 article titled Record Party: Our Favorite Shops .  19 shops (mostly) throughout the US.  Call first, as the article is a little dated and you know what can happen to an indie record store, even a favorite.

Another best of the country list, this time from USA Today published on July 22, 2016 Vinyl Lives! 10 Great Record Stores for a Musical Treasure Hunt.

From Whoo New (Discover the Best of Northeast Wisconsin), is a July 30, 2013 post from Gracie Savides, Five Rockin' Independent Record Stores in Northeast Wisconsin .

From the Minneapolis City Blog, a March 12, 2013 post from Erik Thompson of the Top 10 Best Places To Buy Vinyl In The Twin Cities (Minnesota for those of you who are geographically challenged).

From Jack McCormick, Nov. 8, 2013, for the Loyola Phoenix, Exploring Chicago's Record Stores

From Hear, results of a readers poll published on Sept. 25, 2013 of the Best Record Stores In Nebraska Top Five

Going to Arizona?  The Phoenix New Times Blogs gives you this April 18, 2014 article from Glenn Burn Silver titled 10 Best Record Stores in Metro Phoenix

Perhaps Miami, Fla?  The Miami New Times Blogs published an article by Crossfade on April 14, 2014 titled Miami's Five Best Record Stores

From Whats Next for Pittsburgh, here is Digging for Wax: the Next Guide to Independent Pittsburgh Record Stores published April 14, 2015.

An article in by Bobby Olivier published April 17, 2015 titled 17 Enduring NJ Vinyl Shops Ready For Record Store Day gives you, surprise, a list of record stores to visit in Garden State.

Boston Magazine published this helpful April 15, 2015 article Vinyl Sightings: Boston's Top Record Stores to help your record collecting while in Boston.

Best Record Stores -  Global

Buzz Feed/ August 16, 2013/ Maria Sherman gives you a list of Best Record Stores Around The World .  Featuring 27 different stores throughout the world.

Flavorwire give us this Jan. 28, 2013 article by Tom Hawking The Most Beautiful Record Stores In The World featuring 10 record stores throughout the world.

The Guardian provides a list of the 10 Best Record Stores in Britain courtesey of their readers, dated Mar. 29, 2013.

Vinyl Factory gives us 50 of the World's Best Record Shops.  I'm never going to get to many of these places myself, so I guess I'll just have to take their word for it.

Where To Buy Vinyl Record Stores In Vancouver British Columbia (Canada)
    Couldn't find the date on this article so call first.

Song of the Day

Feelies - Fa Ce-La

Today's song of the day is the Feelies - Fa Ce-La .  From 1980's Crazy Rhythms, this was the first single off the album.  If you don't know the album, or the group, you should.  With a heavy Velvet Underground influence, rhythms are king, with the drone strum, and Anton Fier's drums, and a good interplay been Mercer and Million's guitars.   Many favorites here, and the band reunited in 2011 to put out a new (and good) album - Here Before - favorite song there is Time is Right.  Many fine choices on Crazy Rhythms, including the first cut - The Boy With The Perpetual Nervousness, and a fine cover of the Beatles Everybody's Got Something To Hide (except for me and my monkey).  Originally from New Jersey, always one of my personal favorites.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Song of the Day

David Bromberg - Sharon

Today's song of the day is by David Bromberg -  Sharon .  A shaggy dog story about a girl who walks, and talks and crawls on her belly like a reptile - oh Sharon, what do you do to these men?  You know the same rowdy crowd that was here last nite is back again.  From 1972's Demon in Disguise, on this track he's backed by most of the Grateful Dead.  I guess I'd call it folk/blues.