Friday, January 31, 2020

Steelworker Records [Tampa FL]

It's funny that I might write a negative review of a record store where I buy things, but write a positive review of a store where I walk out empty handed.  For me, this is because once you get a certain amount of records, it no longer matters what you buy (or not), you are only doing it for the enjoyment of the entire experience.

I made my 9th lifetime visit to the wonderful city of Tampa a couple weeks ago (two nights), then my 10th visit last week (6 nights, just got home yesterday).  It looks like this place and Microgroove are just about the only two shops in town.  I visited Microgroove many years ago (over 5 years ago, unbelievably!) and just checked back on visit #9.  Unfortunately it looks like now they are mostly new vinyl.  I desperately tried to make time to get to Steelworker but it never came together.  I'm glad I could get over there last week and see what was going on, because it is just a nice place, plain and simple.  The store is part of a small strip mall that also includes a comic book store and a movie/video store.  I don't know how these three shop keepers came together but I can't think of more intelligent marketing.  I am positive they get a ton of 'cross business'.  Very smart.


A super clean and organized place with the very unique system that does not organize by genre, only alphabetically.  No doubt for a store of this size that is manageable, but I've been to other similarly sized stores (or smaller) and don't remember anyone doing this.  Without my little jazz corner to hide in I kind of went blank.  I was surprised to find a fair amount of jazz in the bins however, along with a good portion of death metal.  All the while, some live reggae was going on, projected on the wall.

The owner greeted me when I walked in, he was having fun watching YouTube videos with a pretty girl on his knee.  Is there a more enviable position to be in than this? They were giggling and having a blast and I was admittedly jealous.  I glanced at the cassettes and CDs but couldn't find anything.  Eventually I had to ask who was performing on the projection.  He answered quickly, as if it was almost dull to him (clearly a big reggae fan), and I don't mean that in a critical manner at all.  I have tried desperately to figure out who it was, or find the video on YouTube to no avail.  At this point I am confident that it is Ken Boothe (but not 100% sure) but I'm sad that I can't find this performance and relive my afternoon in Tampa, here at home.  Steelworker Records is a nice store and I hope they have a successful business in years to come, I hope to find out that is the case on my inevitable next visit to Tampa.