A musical wonderland tale for Record Store Day, this Sat Apr 21
Posted on 20 Apr 2012 by Kia O. Moore
By Kia O. Moore ([email protected])
I didn’t know how much I missed it. I didn’t know how much it meant to me. It took a 3990.041 mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean for me to get it back.
When I was a child, just about every weekend my godmother, mom, big sister and I would pile into that 1993 Caribbean-water blue Dodge Caravan to start on our quest to find it. We went to Camelot (Camelot Records), to the musical land of Peaches (Peaches Records Store), to the small cove of Records located in the land of Central (Central Records) and, as always, we made a stop to gather information about IT from the all-knowing Repo man (Repo Records). If what we sought could not be found during that weekend’s quest, we would gaze upon the list of Columbia (Columbia CDs Catalog), then await ITs arrival.
What we sought were the melodic sounds of Black Culture. What we sought was music that spoke to our souls. We were a family of crate diggers. We collected crate upon crate of vinyl. We had carrying case upon carrying case of cassette mixtapes. We had jewel case upon jewel case of CDs. We were a family of soul music connoisseurs.
As I grew older, big chain stores and the digital downloads age contributed to the disappearance of Charlotte’s musical wonderlands of Mom n’ Pop record stores. As they faded away one by one, a piece of my soul went along with them. Excuse me as I have a moment of silence to grieve the lost of Camelot Records, Peaches Records Store, Central Records, Repo Records, and the Columbia Records mail-in-order CD club. I miss those 10 CDs for 1¢each gimmicks.
However, I’ve found the Musical Wonderlands of mom n’ pop records stores again.
The UK Borderline
While studying abroad in the United Kingdom (Kingston, England to be exact) I went on a field trip to Brighton, England with my British Life & Culture class. While in Brighton I wondered into one of the most psychedelic funky mom n’ pop music shops: BorderLine Records. Its sign with orange bubble letters against a black background, its bubbles light fixtures, its orange walls adorned with vintage concert posters and its psychedelic style artwork beckoned me. Its wide open doors lined with CD shelves practically begged me to come in and I obliged.
My eyes glancing at all the section titles, conjuring up nostalgic memories of my little fingers flipping through eye-popping vinyl covers. My record flipping habit began once more when my eyes locked on the Motown, Parliament/Funkadelic and 60s Psychedelic sections.
The Motown section had me torn: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Little Stevie Wonder, Classic Stevie Wonder, or Little Michael Jackson. What was I to do?
I went with Smokey and Michael.
I grew up hearing Stevie Wonder’s vocals and instrumentation permeating the domestic airwaves of my household. I thought I should get more personal time with Smokey. And you and I both know that you can never go wrong with MJJ.
The Parliament section gave me no problems. I saw the screaming afro-woman with her head protruding from the ground: Maggot Brain. No mental dilemma on that one.
With the 60s Psychedelic section I needed a little help from my friend, the store clerk.
Now, I already knew I was going to get a CD from the fiery soulman, the guitar god himself, Mr. Jimi Hendrix. It just would not have been right to leave out of that 60s-themed record shop in the UK without him. But I needed help finding one more acid audio trip. I wanted to get something from a group I knew nothing about.
The clerk pulled out several CDs that ranged from £4 to £15. I was sure he was going to recommend the CD that cost the most. My capitalistically trained mind was so sure. But, I was wrong. Just for a moment in time I forgot that mom ‘n pop record stores care about sending patrons away with good music no matter if it is dirt cheap or top dollar. He picked out Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965–1968. Twenty-seven tracks for £4. Four pounds for a new and exciting music listening experience.
Before I made it to the counter one more CD caught my eye: Vintage Sex Songs. With an illustration of a topless black woman shimming her pelvis to the sound of a trumpet, I had no choice but to flip it over. With song titles like, “It Ain’t the Meat It’s the Motion,” “ I Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl,” “Poon Tang,” and “Banana In Your Fruit Basket,” I had to get it.
Price of Loving your Mom ‘n Pop
I ended up with six CDs:
- Electric Ladyland- The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- Maggot Brain– Funkadelic
- Classic Michael Jackson- Little Michael Jackson
- Classic Smokey Robinson & The Miracles- Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
- Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965–1968- Compilation Album
- Vintage Sex Songs- Compilation Album
The grand total: £41 (approx. $65)
Paying that much for a couple of CDs may sound ludicrous to some, but to me it was worth every penny. The fun of digging for those jewels of wonderful sound. The gamble of trying something sonically new that may not fit my taste, but expands my discerning musical palette. The chance to find that solace and comfort in an old habit I knew so well, but haven’t gotten to experience in a long time. Made the high price tag worth it. It was my chance to support my Moms ‘n Pops, who taught me the how to love music, value music stores, and appreciate the music shopping experience.
Happy Record Store Day
Saturday April 21, 2012 is Record Store Day.
This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, djs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April.
Lunchbox Records (1419-A Central Ave.) will be celebrating Record Store Day this Saturday. Be sure to stop by and show you support. CLICK HERE for more information about Record Store Day in the CLT.
For more articles from Kia O. Moore visit Mind of Moore.