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.

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Wombleton -  5123 York Blvd., Highland Park, Los Angeles Ca.  90042
  Closed - Feb. 2017

Next up on my Los Angeles tour was Wombleton records in Highland Park.  Billed as the place to go for the 'good stuff', it lived up to its reputation.  For all the crate digging you do, every once in awhile you want a treat of a nice rare record - you'll find it here, if you're looking for rare imports from the UK and Europe, but you should expect to pay what its worth.  The shop was run by a very nice guy (standing in for the owner) who would be happy to make sure you liked your purchase before you left.  Set up like an old London record store, its a worthy place to go for some high end vinyl.

I went with an English first pressing of Blur's first album Leisure (which has a different track listing than the US pressing).  90s albums are very hard to find, given their limited pressings.

UPDATE -  A recent article in LA Weekly published Feb. 28,  2017 reports that  Highland Parks Wombleton Records Has Closed  The article has a nice interview with one of the store's owners, on the store's history and unfortunate closing.

Wombleton - Los Angeles Ca - Store Front

Here's a video tour of Wombleton shot by the Vinyl Guide in November 2016.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Atomic Records

Atomic Records - 3812 W. Magnolia, Burbank Los Angeles, California  91505

Next up on my tour of Los Angeles record stores was Atomic Records in Burbank.  Opened in 1996, it had a nice selection of reasonably priced records with plenty to dig thru.  Also had some vinyl of local bands.

Picked up the great Beatles parody by the Rutles, Blotto's I Wanna Be A Lifeguard ep, Naughty Sweeties Live at Madame Wong's 1980 (a local group) and the C*unts Live (wonder what the * stands for?) It Came Out of the Garage.

Atomic Records - Los Angeles Ca. - store front

Here's an article from 2013 about the store that appeared in the Glendale News Press, titled It's A Matter of Record: Burbank's Atomic Records and Backside.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Freakbeat Records

Freakbeat Records - 13616 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles Ca.  91423

I recently took a trip to Los Angeles and, guided by an August 26, 2016 article in LA Weekly The 20 Best Record Stores in Los Angeles and Beyond took a tour of some of the areas finer record stores. While I didn't visit any of these record stores while I lived in LA, each was worthy.  First up was a trip to the Valley and Freakbeat Records, which was my personal favorite.  How could it not be with a name like Freakbeat?  As you would expect some old (and valuable) 60s records could be had (look up young man) and three listening stations provided so you could check before you buy.

Freakbeat Records - Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles CA - store front

Got some nice 45 picture sleeves (nothing too pricey) and a 60s garage record of covers by the Knights.

Here's a video tour of Freakbeat Records from the Vinyl Guide published in November 2016.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sound Garden

Sound Garden -  1616 Thames St., Fells Point, Baltimore Md., 21231

On a visit to Baltimore's Fells Point, I stopped in to check out the store.  It's been rated one of the top 25 record stores in the US in Rolling Stones' 2010 article Best Record Stores In The USA. 

Sound Garden - Baltimore Md - Store Front

Here's a You Tube video of the store with an interview with one of the store's employees.

And here's an article that appeared in Baltimore Magazine in December 2013 titled For The Record  interviewing the store's owner Bryan Burkert, who describes the history of the store.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day features a trio of reggae/ska songs -  First up is the incomparable 'Toots' Hibbert doing "Toots" and the Maytals - 54-46 That's My Number from 1968.  The song describes Toots' time in prison for marijuana, and was one of the first Ska songs popular outside of Jamaica.  Go ahead, I dare you to sit still.

Next up is Desmond Dekker - Israelites which was probably the first reggae song that made an impact in the States.  It reached number one in the UK in 1969, and was a top ten hit the the US.  This is from a TV show but I couldn't find the credit.

And last, but not least is Madness - Tomorrow's Just Another Day from the second wave of Ska in the late 70s/early 80s.   Released in 1983 its one of any number of great Madness songs (and videos).

Monday, October 10, 2016

Record Exchange

Record Exchange -  8642 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring Md. 20910  (Washington D.C.)

Nice store run by a nice guy.  This is one of their two locations (the other is in Frederick) and a bit on the smaller side.  But their record divider -  "Budget Vinyl - The Thrill of the Hunt" is priceless.  In all my travels, I've never seen anyone use that one before.  And no, that's not a picture of a Cramps record I bought at the store, but artwork the store commissioned from the very same artist.  Worthy of a visit for the floor alone.

Record Exchange - Washington D.C. - store front

The Record Collector is not the only record store in Silver Springs.  You can also visit Joe's Record Paradise - a short walk away, and Roadhouse Oldies.   Why Silver Spring Is A Destination For Lovers Of Vinyl  published in (for American University's radio station wamu 88.5) in April 2014 gives more information on all three stores.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Joe's Record Paradise

Joe's Record Paradise

Open -  8700 Georgia Ave., Silver Springs Md  20910
(just outside of Washington D.C., which you can reach by Metro)

On a recent trip to Washington D.C., I payed a visit to the new home of Joe's Record Paradise.
The store recently reopened in the basement of an office building at 8700 Georgia Ave., and as you can see from the pictures below, is full of used records of all genres.  They were sampling some tasty old soul/blues while I was there.

Joe's Record Paradise - Washington D.C.

Here are some photos of their prior location, which (on the inside) was painted a lovely fuscia.

Here's a recent article from the Washington Post At Joe's Record Paradise The Music Goes Round and Round that describes the store's latest move.  It features a picture of the store's current owner, Johnson Lee, son of the original Joe, Joe Lee.