Thursday, February 28, 2019

Attractions [Cowansville QC]

I visited Vermont about 6 months ago and got a rare chance to go back to the same place in St. Albans (by way of Burlington).  As I already had Vermont checked off the list, it wasn't on my radar to look for more to do.  I did however have a full afternoon to waste.  Surely I'd love to spend some more time in Burlington but I had a better idea - drive to Quebec!

My plan became this:

  1. Drive from Burlington to Bedford for lunch
  2.  Drive from Bedford to Cowansville to check out some vinyl
  3. Drive from Cowansville to my hotel in St. Albans and prepare for the work day tomorrow.
All in all this would be about 2 1/2 hours behind the wheel but I had plenty of time as my flight arrived before 1pm.  And before 1 I was on the road, soon after in Bedford where I stuffed myself with poutine and headed east.

But rewinding the clock briefly I need to explain.  Records were not originally on the menu as it looked like the region was too rural to have much to do aside from finding lunch.  The only thing that came up anywhere in the area for 'record store' on Google Maps was this place.  But there were no photos and only two reviews both of which were vague (and French).  I surely didn't want to drive way out there to find a CD store or something (which is what my hunch was leaning toward).  So I enlisted a Francophone I work with to do some investigation:

That exchange took place as I was still at O' Hare the morning of my flight.  So quickly I navigated a new route around the area and began to get really excited as my prospects.

Attractions is in a small shopping mall called Domaine du Parc.  While there are less than 10 stores in the mall of course I wandered like an idiot around the place until I found it.  This is a book store up front....with a GIANT magazine rack along one wall.  Then there are tons of CDs, plenty of DVDs....and finally, vinyl.  I was worried that it would be all new reissues but I was delighted to find tons of used vinyl.  I find some real gems up front but I didn't buy any.  Why? I don't know.  And it has been eating at me and it's getting worse by the minute.  The Raspberries LP on the right was the one I missed the most (still do).  I have always loved 'Go All the Way' before I even knew the name of the band that sung it (honestly I still didn't know until fairly recently).  I found out who the artist was when I was reading an interview with Eddie Trunk and he mentioned how he loved the song when he was a kid.  There is a 'live' (lip synced) version out there of the band playing it on the Mike Douglass show and I recommend you check it out.  Eric Carmen has a wig (or is it real?) that looks like Barney Rubble's wife and is wearing what can only be called a blouse.  Most of all he actually bats his eyelashes when he sings the chorus like a woman.  You might be thinking this is criticism - it isn't.  You can't help but respect anyone who is so confident.  I am a fan of some glam rock, early Motley Crue is pretty feminine but this takes the cake and many years before hand.  And of course the lyrics, kind of a passive aggressive way to be really filthy and of course I love it.  Anyways great song, probably a great LP, I am an idiot for letting it pass.

Moving to the right, why did I leave behind a Canadian press of the jazz classic? Don't know.  And of course, Anne Murray.  Only fitting I find this almost as soon as I crack the bin.  I used to have two copies of her debut and it is a great album.  This is her second and I shouldn't have left it behind.  I found two more copies later on while I dug.  Another stab in the back is just now realizing that while the debut was released in both Canada and the USA (once I found the Canadian press I gifted the USA copy to a friend), the second album was only released in Canada, so of course I probably won't run across another one.  At this point to keep from self destructing as I write this I can only plan that I get wind of it if anyone goes back so I can quickly sell myself on the job, that I am more qualified to do it.  Cross your fingers for me.

Just around the corner there was some more vinyl.  There was a little new stock but still mostly used.  Lots of French Canadian artists I never heard of, interesting that when I was in Ontario I don't remember seeing much French stuff but here there was lots.  Not surprising since I was in Quebec but you'd think you'd see something in Ontario.  Not really.  At any rate, a cool store in a quiet mall that I recommend others check out - and I added a review and photos to Google Maps so the next poor bastard that drives up from the States knows what he is getting himself into.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

OK in OK

Got to make a run through Norman OK through a strange turn of events.  Flew into OKC and hung out in downtown Norman very briefly, to ride a Lime scooter and also check out Guestroom Records.

I must admit I was a bit disappointed to find that the place retailed largely (or better) new vinyl, reissues and the like.  Totally unsure what to do with myself in such an environment, I got out of there and headed for the nearest Goodwill store.  Alas, they too were lacking in all things vinyl.  The lapse in quality I expect from such a place, but their 'selection' was so slim you could counter the available releases on just a few fingers.  No matter - another one receives a check mark! So long, Oklahoma!


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wax Trax II [Denver CO]

Got a rare chance to go west one more time and I booked a crazy cheap $200 ticket with United out to Denver.  I had connected in their airport a handful of times, I was eager to hit the streets in search of vinyl!

I decided on Wax Trax based on location and my own itinerary (I do have to work at some point on these trips!) and I'm glad I did.  This is an old school store crammed with vinyl, well organized but with just a hint of filth that keeps it from being terribly suave.

I dug through a good portion of their jazz section and found a number of delights but nothing I wanted to pull the trigger on.  I must admit, I hate bringing vinyl on planes.  Of course I will do it if I must but I don't want to fly with them on my lap or under the seat with my feet on/near them, and my bag is too small to hold them safely up in the overhead bin.  So maybe I wasn't trying too hard.  Or maybe I'm old and my obsessive zest for more records has waned just maybe 2%.  I'm fine with that, because I enjoyed digging around in here for a bit on a pleasant afternoon in what I have discovered is a great city.


Saturday, November 17, 2018


Once in a great while I get a comment from strangers which is always nice.  Nicer still are the even fewer times that I have gotten comments from record store owners who saw their post and let me know they enjoyed it.  

I don't go out of my way to trash anyone and I have thought long and carefully about how difficult it must be to earn a living running a record store.  I know in today's marketplace who much online reviews can mean and while I do not have delusions that my blog is some kind of important 'taste maker', I try to keep it civil unless things are laughably bad.  With that in mind, let's review!

Not shocked to see that they were pleased with their post because I was pleased with my visit! I remember it clearly even though it has been a few years and it is a great feeling to know that I brought them a tidbit of happiness.  Rainbow Records - you are welcome!

This was even longer ago but I remember it just as clearly.  Even then, I will admit that my post may have been mildly critical.  But obviously the good reverend took it in stride.  Once again - I am glad to know that the owner got to read their own post.  I recommend this store to anyone going through GR! we go! Yes, I remember this place very well and I did not hold back in my post.  But let's take the time to break down this ridiculous retort just a bit:
Hater hating. Record store wannabe. 
According to my records, I now have 82 posts tagged 'record store'.  I'd say that qualifies me quite well to be if not an expert on the topic, then at least someone far, far beyond 'wannabe'.
So many fabrications. If i could bring legal action against this clown. 
Why is this an 'if'? What is stopping you? Gladly welcome it!  
WRS by peer definition is considered one od the few real music stores left. 
I certainly do not argue against this place being a 'music store'; my definition of the term would only entail a place that asks for money in return for some type of recorded music.  If being a fairly dirty facility that also sells pipes and bowls, etc is what makes it 'real', then I stand corrected, it is indeed as REAL as can be!
Next i fo not operate a goodwill store as this person is used to shopping at. He obviously is looking for dollar items to resell on ebay. 
God knows I have been to many, many Goodwills (and other thrift stores) and certainly not, I do not expect those kind of prices in a record store.  In fact, I don't visit record stores nearly as much for this reason.  That being said, upon review of my post my only criticisms regarding price were for the CDs.  I can attest that the market for new or used CDs is far beneath that of vinyl.  That isn't snobbery - in fact I have even bought a couple used CDs this year.  And while I generalized a bit (I didn't really dig around as I came to look at vinyl), the $10-15 price tags (which the commenter seems to acknowledge) is insanity.  I would have a lot of trouble believing that customers visit with any regularity to purchase CDs at all, even if the price was half of what I had seen.  And I certainly do not purchase any media to 'invest' or try and flip on eBay.  I guess the eBay reference was in regard to my own mention of the app, which I only explained that I use to monitor for the existence of certain releases.
Facts all records have product not for sale
(I assume 'records' means 'record stores').  When you already have a fairly limited inventory and you actually shoo customers away from a portion of it, no, that is not good for business.  Why was it laying out in the middle of the store then? I wanted to look because I may have purchased something.  Your loss.
Luckiky for indy i do put out high quality stuff for to cheap. 
I'd have to say that defining 'high quality stuff' is subjective but 'cheap' is not.  And I actually applauded the store for the price I paid for the item I did purchase. 
Bins are solid wood. 
Good to know.  Very proud of you.  So are mine.
The sticker is not my store. 
I can see you've had some college! We've got a real Mensa member here with us on my blog today! This is obviously in reference to the Tom Jones LP I found (which I almost purchased as a duplicate to one already in my collection over the sticker which is 'nor your store').  I never insinuated it was, it is clearly very old, I only pointed it out because it actually made the item more desirable to me, the actual cost shown on it was irrelevant.
The reciept is not ours. 
Not sure how to respond to this one.  The receipt shows that I paid $4 for an LP which even I attest was a good deal.  I can't figure why you would disclaim that it came from your store, or what my motivation would be for lying.
Price in cds .. dumb ass they are new. 
And I'm sure you sell lots and lots of 'new CDs' because everyone knows the market for them is HUGE.
I am a real store. Not a garage sale. The only reason there is used its service to My less fortunate customers i've had these past 45 years. 
Well I certainly commend anyone who can keep a place up and running for 45 years so I will give you that with a hearty congratulations.  Trying to decipher the rest of your comment, I guess it was in regard to the dollar bins, but I certainly have no issue with that, they were the first place I looked.
Lastly what a waste of time. Mindless gibberish that only mindless people would believe from a wannabe.
Proud to be! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Idaho Idocy!

A couple years ago I was fortunate enough to head over to Seattle.  I had a great time, and checked out some vinyl, and thus ticked Washington off my list.  On this trip, I had some work in Spokane and plenty of downtime.  I wasn't about to waste time running ragged in Washington - been there, done that.  However when I saw that Coeur D' Alene was only about 35 minutes away, I made breakfast plans for my last day.  I headed out early, got a bite to eat and then hit the track hard on the hunt for platters!

First up was the Idaho Youth Ranch Thrift Store.  It was raining pretty steadily and I found a spot on Sherman Ave and figured I could walk north from here.  I was blown away to find a copy of a Bob James effort in a place such as this.  Not much else to see however, so I headed out.

Just a couple blocks north was my second stop.  This was a smaller store and it almost felt high end.  Very tidy and a pleasant woman behind the counter.  My eyes caught the CD racks from across the room and I hoped I'd find some platters when I neared.  I did - but alas, nothing doing.  Onward and upward!

So after fumbling around in the rain for a bit, I determined that the 'Coeur D'Alene Thrift Store' did not exist, it's address was in the same building where St. Vincent's main offices were.  So I moved forward a few blocks to a St. V's.  This one was big - real big, and it was jammed with people.  They had a pretty serious music section and a nice double sided rack stuffed with records.

I found a couple decent scores, clearly all from the same collection, but all water damaged severely.  Most painful of all was the Gord album you see below.  It seemed to be the original incarnation with the original title.  I come across this record often, but never this version.  Had to leave it behind as it was literally crumbling in my fingers.  Next to it sat one of my all time favorites - of course, I already own this one.

Last up was a Goodwill.  This one had a weird sign that I've never seen before.  Don't know if this is something new or maybe a regional thing.  They had junk for vinyl but a handful of interesting Christian music.  Turns out the guy with the eye patch is fairly prolific and has put out a huge load of records over the years.  I feel a little bad for highlighting it here, as there is nothing funny about someone losing an eye.  I can't feel quite as sympathetic for the group in the second photo, because those clothes (and that mustache!) are truly, truly bad.