Happy Record Store Boxing Day! haha…. How did you make out? See any cool bands? Find any cool swag? Or just discover that there was a sweet ass record store in your ‘hood that you didn’t know even existed before? Sweet…. Well, I think we did alright! One of the record stores, Used Kids, was especially busy, but they had bands playing throughout the day, so I’m not sure how much people were there for albums or there to see some band. This much I know, the bands made it difficult to peruse records as all the fans conglomerated around a key section, from the A’s to right around the R’s.
Oh well. Still made out pretty good. One thing I realized though. As much as I like poppin’ out on Record Store Day to see what’s going on, the day is really not meant for me. In the Tsuru household, every day is Record Store Day, you know? For a good chunk of us, it is. It’s unfortunate that we need to have something called “Record Store Day” to get people to actually go to the record store. But at the same time, it’s understandable, I mean, why go?
If you buy music, do you really need the record store? Not really. You can buy easily and quickly at your amazons and overstocks and cduniverses or whatever (though really, at least buy through a GEMM or Musicstack, okay? They got everything and it’s all from independent shops). And if it’s instant gratification you are looking for, that can be found at any of the mp3 online stores, including previewing the music (something you can’t always do at the record store), you’ve got tons of recommendations at your mouse clicks, all over the internet (even here at tsururadio), so I guess it begs the question, why go to the record store?
To be honest, all you have left is the “experience”. So, what is that worth? I guess it’s similar to the reason we do vinyl rips here… sure, you can grab today’s rip somewhere online, and it will be a perfectly serviceable collection of mp3s, where you can pick and choose which to keep in your ipod, and that’s totally understandable. But the vinyl rip is a sharing of an experience. You are hearing what I’m hearing, as I heard it, every pop, click, & needle drop, every unfortunate skip, etc, I’m transferring a chunk of time of my life here for you to experience. Personally, I think that’s pretty cool.
But what experience do you get with a record store? That’s a tough one. Besides the obvious like when they have a special event going on, for example, when Bill Callahan sat in Used Kids and quietly played about seven songs in support of his new release, the “experience” is a tough one to explain…
For me, it starts with the smell, especially the larger the used section, the more it has that old book smell or something, which is a very welcoming smell for me for some reason. Of course, they are usually playing something over head,sometimes it’s something I know, sometimes it’s horrible noise-ridden garbage pile, sometimes it’s on old gem I completely forgot existed, and sometimes it’s something new to me and absolutely amazing that I must have. Sure, it’s a crap shoot, like a box of chocolates, you never knooow what yer gonna geeet, but that’s half the fun!
Next for me, is the immediate artist amnesia that sweeps over me. I always and suddenly can’t remember a single artists I wanted to look for…. So, I dig into the first old favourite that comes to my head. D for Decemberists, V for Violent Femmes, etc. and just start flipping through. Usually I run into something or get reminded of one I wanted and head over to that letter, and so goes the browsing process. Before you know it I have a couple records under my arm pit and I start looking for Baby to see what she’s found.
She’s usually in the used R&B/soul section finding some Etta or Aretha or some odd Supremes collaboration album, all for about a $1 or two, which means I’ll need to go inspect the records for scratches and playability. So I head over, seeing she’s got about five or seven or so waiting for me, and start the examinations. I give my “professional advise” on them and then it’s up to her how to proceed (she IS the CFO after all).
And so it goes. We walk out with a few records, some things that with all our time on-line, all our time talking about and listening to music, probably wouldn’t have found otherwise, and a few new albums that I’ll get to talk about and share with you! And some good people just trying to make a living have a few of my dollars in their coffers. Not too bad, if you ask me…
So, what about yesterday, Record Store Day? What was our bootie? Our experience between four stores yielded the following…
Not too shabby, eh? I don’t know, maybe you think it’s stupid or there’s nothing to that experience. That’s understandable too, so I guess you can keep on loading up your iTunes cart with some m4as, and doing what your doing, it is natural, and it is the progression of all things. There’s nothing wrong with it, and you are still supporting the artists, so it’s all good. Record stores are dinosaurs and technically unnecessary, but I love them and I’d like to do what I can to keep them around for as long as possible, hopefully that’s a very long time….
Take today’s example, found this one through Musicstack through some record store out in California I think. I LOVE this album. Back in the late 80’s and first part of the 90’s (i.e. high school), I had a huge Beatles thing going on (don’t all music geeks do that in high school?), so when I heard that MTV was going to have an “unplugged” show with Paul McCartney, I was there man, tuned in, and ready.
Man o’ man, what was aired was one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen on a TV. A simple, truly acoustic (i.e. microphones in front of your instruments, instead of pick-ups or whatever they are called inside them), performance, of not the latest songs and a few gems or some “best of”, in fact it was a truly varied mix of old Beatles & solo songs (apparently & surprisingly, quite a few that were played live for the very first time), as well as some pretty obscure covers. Paul’s funny, in a great mood, and bantering & jibber-jabbering about all kinds of little things, busting out funny accents, and even forgetting the lyrics “We Can Work It Out”, so they start it over again!
Shortly after, the CD came out and I grabbed it. It quickly became a staple in the car, and in the what, 18 years that has since passed (oof), it’s always been somewhere in my collection, ready to pop out just when I need it, to show me how good a live performance can really be.
So finally (finally, finally) I got this on vinyl. And now I’m sharing it with you.
Unplugged: The Official Bootleg on Vinyl!!!
by Paul McCartney
1. “Be-Bop-A-Lula” (Gene Vincent/Davis)
2. “I Lost My Little Girl”
3. “Here, There and Everywhere” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
4. “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (Bill Monroe)
5. “We Can Work It Out” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
6. “San Francisco Bay Blues” (Jesse Fuller)
7. “I’ve Just Seen a Face” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
8. “Every Night”
9. “She’s a Woman” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
1. “Hi-Heel Sneakers” (Robert Higgenbotham)
2. “And I Love Her” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
3. “That Would Be Something”
4. “Blackbird” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
5. “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Bill Withers)
6. “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (Roy Brown)
7. “Singing the Blues” (Melvin Endsley)