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.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmas Songs That Don't Suck - Playlist

Over the years, artists of every genre have tried their hand at Christmas songs - doo wopers, soul and funk singers, rockers, punkers, alternative, indie, folk, new wave, ska, reggae, girl groups and 60's garage, just to name a few.  And every year, from Thanksgiving (when the stores first start playing them) to New Years, sick of the traditional, I go hunting for Christmas songs that don't suck.  Here are the results of my many searches over the years.  Let me know of any other worthy additions I haven't found yet.  Merry Christmas.

You can watch them one at a time, by clicking on the links below, or hear the whole You Tube playlist by clicking on the video provided, which will play them all in sequence.

Gene Autry - Thirty Two Feet And Eight Little Tails - 1953
Ran-dells - Wintertime - 1964
The Wailers - She's Coming Home - 1965
Dwight - Twilley - Christmas Stars - 2004
The Ventures - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - 2002 - surf
Bruce Springsteen - Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - 1975
Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run - 1958
Kinks - Father Christmas - 1977
They Might Be Giants - Santa's Beard - 1988
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - This Time Of Year - 2001 - ska
Julian Casablancas - I Wish It Was Christmas Today - 2009
Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Adam Sandler - Chanukah Song - 1997
James Brown - Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto - 1968 - funk
Bobby Helms - Jingle Bell Rock - 1957
The Futureheads - Christmas Was Better In The 80s  - 2010
Rancid - Xmas Eve (She Got Up And Left Me)  - 1992
The Drifters - White Christmas - 1956
The Bird And The Bee - Carol Of The Bells - 2007
Debbie And The Darnells - Santa Teach Me To Dance - 1962 girl group
Margo Guryan - I Don't Intend To Spend Christmas Without You - 1968 - dream pop
Pentatonix - Carol Of The Bells
Weather Girls - Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man This Christmas) - 1983 - disco
Louis Armstrong - 'Zat You, Santa Claus? - 1953
Clarence Carter - Back Door Santa - 1968 - blues
Leroy Carr - Christmas In Jail (Ain't That A Pain) - 1929
Ce Lo Green - What Christmas Means To Me - 2012
The Pretenders - 2000 Miles - 1983
Ike And Tina Turner - Merry Christmas Baby -
Lowell Fulson - Lonesome Christmas - 1950
Oscar McLollie And The Honey Jumpers - Dig That Crazy Santa Claus
Goldfrapp - Winter Wonderland - 2008
Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) - 1989 - punk
John Lennon - Merry Xmas (War Is Over) - 1972
My Chemical Romance - All I Want For Christmas Is You - 2004
Otis Redding - Merry Christmas Baby - 1967 - soul
The Irish Rovers - Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
The Killers - Don't Shoot Me Santa - 2007
Frightened Rabbit - Its Christmas So We'll Stop - 2007
Canned Heat - Christmas Blues
Elastica - Gloria -  1995
Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby
Etta James - This Time Of Year (When Christmas Is Near)
Weezer - Christmas Song - 2000
Jerry Garcia - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Alan Jackson - Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas) - country
Smokey Hogg - My Christmas Baby - 1948
Face To Face - Merry Christmas - 2010
Everclear - Hating You For Christmas - 1997
Amy Winehouse - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Blink 182 - I Won't Be Home For Christmas - 1997
Image result for reggae christmasJohn Prine - Christmas In Prison - 1973 - country
Train - The River - 2015
Tommy Tutone - Santa I Got Your Number - power pop
Peter, Paul and Mary - A Soalin' - 1963
Jaymes Fenda and the Vulcans - Mistloe Toe Love - 1964
Osaka Popstar - Christmas In The Loony Bin - 2016
The Melodeers - Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer - 1960
Jerry & the Landslides - Get Off My Roof - 1965
Little Jimmy Thomas - Deck The Halls - 1964
Groove Thangs - Funky Christmas - 1989 - funk

Saturday's Children - Deck Five - 1966 - psych
Orchids - Mr. Scrooge - girl group
Bob Seger & the Last Heard - Sock It To Me Santa - 1966 - funk
Related imageThe Dandy Warhols - Little Drummer Boy - 1994
Pearl Bailey - Five Pound Box Of Money - 1958
The Wise Men - Mr. Mojo's Christmas (Door's Medley)
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - Ain't No Chimneys In The Projects - 2015 - soul
Louis Prima - What Will Santa Claus Say? - 1936 - swing
Pixies - Holiday Song - 1987
The Long Blondes - Christmas Is Cancelled - 2005
Electric Six - Mr. Grinch - 2011
Allo Darlin' - Space Christmas - 2008 - alternative
Alton Ellis and the Lipsticks - Merry Merry Christmas  - 1972 - reggae
The Hold Steady - I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You - 2014
Freddie King - Christmas Tears - 1961 - blues
Descendents - Christmas Vacation - 1985 - skate punk
The Staple Singers - Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas -1970 - soul
Jimi Hendrix Experience - All Along The Watchtower - 1968 - rock
The Wombats - Is This Christmas? - 2007 - indie

Rules?  What Rules? We don't need no stinkin' Rules. It's a Christmas song if I say it's a Christmas song.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Randy Now's Man Cave

Randy Now's Man Cave - 134 Farnsworth Ave. Bordentown New Jersey 08505

Next up on my Jersey tour was Randy Now's Man Cave, just down the road from the Record Collector in Bordentown.  The store's owner - Randy "Randy Now" Ellis (pictured below) - was, among many things, a promoter who arranged shows for the Record Collector.  Not just a record store, it's also a consignment shop with lots of memorabilia (some shown below) bobble heads, magazines, comics, toys and books in a back room.  My personal favorite was the Beatle's Flip Your Wig game (you won the game when you got 4 cards of the Beatle you were playing).  A smaller store, it had a good selection of Ska 45s and British New Wave.  So many record stores, so little time ...... 

Randy Now's Man Cave - Bordentown NJ - store front

Here's an article that appeared in the Bordentown Current in October 2017 The Man Behind The Cave which tells you about the store's owner and his days as a promoter.

And here's another that appeared in in March 2012 Randy Now Launches His Man Cave  announcing the opening of the store.

Hearkening back to his promoter days, Randy Now's also has live in-store performances.  Here's CJ Chenier of Zydeco fame doing Don't Mess With My Tu Tu at the store in July 2017.

And here is Marshall Crenshaw covering 2541 in December 2017 in Randy Now's Man Cave.

And last but certainly not least is Robyn Hitchcock and Emma Swift doing Let It Be Me (I remember it by the Everly Brothers) at Randy Now's Man Cave.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Record Collector

Record Collector - 358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown, NJ 08505

Next up on my tour of New Jersey's finest was a trip to Bordentown, which features not one but two worthy record stores - Randy Now's Man Cave, which I will cover in a later post - and the Record Collector - which I went to first because it closed first.

It was a fine record store with a larger space enabling it to have quite a bit of everything.  But what really caught my eye were two rare soul 45s, The Temptations My Girl, and Martha and the Vandellas Dancing in the Street.  I had never seen the Temptations single in the wild before (or anywhere for that matter).

Pictured below is one of the store's owners - John Chrambanis.

Record Collector - Bordentown NJ - store front

Here's an article that appeared on in February of 2015 Bordentown Record Store Comes Alive With Music that describes some of the shows held in the store - as you can see, its a big enough space, with stage in the back, to hold a small concert.  The list is quite impressive for a record store.

And here's link to a YouTube video of  Agent Orange 2010 Record Collector  Agent Orange is a surf punk band from Southern California formed in the early 1980s.

And here is an explanation of where the name Vandellas came from.  Ever what to know?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Princeton Record Exchange

Princeton Record Exchange - 20 S. Tulane St., Princeton, NJ  08542

Recently returned to what has long been rated as one of America's top record stores - Princeton Record Exchange.  It was on Rolling Stone magazine's 2010 list of the 31 best record stores in the US.  And as the sign in the store's window will tell you, on many others as well.  As advertised, it had tons and tons of records (and Cds and cassettes for those interested).  It had rock and soul and rap and 45s and more.  But most of all it had PEOPLE!  Old people, young people, men, women.  In a record store.  Unbelievable.  According to one article, on an average weekday, 500-600 people visit the store, and double that amount on a weekend.

And it has it's own Wikipedia Page!

Princeton Record Exchange - Princeton NJ - Store Front


Here's a video on You Tube titled Documentary on Princeton Record Exchange 2011 which will give you a good idea of what the store is like.

And tons of press - about the store, its new owner and its history.

Like this 2015 article that appeared on Classical Music: Princeton Record Exchange Still Thriving After 35 Years

This one appeared in the NY Times in 2008 In Princeton, An Offline Haven For Music Shoppers Thrives

And another 2015 article reporting on the sale of the store in the Princeton Planet Princeton Record Exchange Sold To Longtime Manager Jon Lambert/

And of course we bought a few records.  Most happy with a Small Factory single (for the whopping price of $2.99 - did I say the records were reasonably priced?) So What About Love b/w We Will.  If you want to hear some Small Factory (but not these songs) follow the link.  Or perhaps you & remember Ian Dury Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll?  and quite a few others.