Record Store Day: My 10 Most Memorable Buys

Spent my first allowance on 45s. Got a paper route to feed my album habit. Worked at a record store in high school and college. Ran a record store after graduation. Kept on grabbing up records. Bought one last week. I’m pro-digital, but something about this situation creates sadness. Last year these titles came to mind. This year? This year you should walk into a record store on Saturday and plop down some green. Here are ten purchases that remain vivid in my mind. What are yours?

1. Four By The Beach Boys (Capitol) – Hathaway’s Music (East Greenwich, RI)

“Little Honda” sounded great, but “Hushabye” sounded better. All hail Doc Pomus.

2. Moby Grape, “8:05/Mister Blues” (Columbia) – Main Music (East Greenwich RI)

In a marketing stunt, the label simultaneously released five singles from the classic and cursed San Francisco band. I bought only one. Why oh why did I not buy them all?

3. MC5, Kick Out The Jams (Elektra) – Warwick Shopper’s World (Warwick, RI)

Read about the insurrection aspects of their songs in Time or Newsweek. Purchased LP. Was amazed at the ass-kicking aspects of their songs in my bedroom. Wanted to be a revolutionary as well. Put my stereo speakers in my bedroom window, facing out. Blasted the “kick out the jams, motherfuckers” track at our neighbors.

4. The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo (Columbia) – K&M Records (Providence, RI)

Wasn’t going to buy it, but found a mispriced copy for 99 cents and couldn’t say no. Fell deep into country-rock hole from the first spin on. Playing “Blue Canadian Rockies” as I write this.

5. Thelonious Monk, Underground (Columbia) – Midland Records (Warwick, RI)

Didn’t know shit about jazz, but after a mentor spun the album for me, the giddy bounce of “Boo Boo’s Birthday” became irresistible. Was wooed by the cover art as well.

6. Nick Lowe, Bowi (Radar) – Rhymes Records  (Providence, RI)

You remember the story. David Bowie released the wonderful Low. Wiseacre Nick took it as a reference to his own bad self, sans the “e” at the end. He then followed it up with a reference to DB that erased the “e” from his own title as well. Four songs, one instrumental. Still love “Born A Woman.”

7. minutemen, what makes a man start fires (SST) – Looney Tunes (Westerly, RI)

Read a Village Voice piece about the Pedro upstarts and their pithy approach – I wanna say Tom Carson wrote it. Anyway the power of the essay got me out of my apartment and down the highway to pick up the album. Not their best, but one of my faves.

8. Chico Freeman, Morning Prayer (Why Not/Japan) – SoHo Music Gallery (New York)

Saved up a bunch of loot, maybe $120, and was off to NYC to buy jazz. Purchased a few Black Saint discs in one shop, and grabbed this baby in another. Two separate bags. Was thrilled with my new records. Got out of the cab at the apartment I was staying in, and left the (quite costly import) Freeman disc in the back seat. Wah!

9. Sun Ra, “I’m Gonna Unmask the Batman” (El Saturn) – In Your Ear (Providence, RI)

The El Saturn 45s are somewhat rare, and when this fell into my lap, I felt lucky.

10. Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs, “Sugar Shack” (Dot) – Shop-O-Mat (East Greenwich, RI)

The finest group to ever bust outta Raton, New Mexico. First vinyl I ever bought with my own money.

7 responses to “Record Store Day: My 10 Most Memorable Buys

  1. I have a similar bio: First memorable gifts were LPs including “The Genius of Ravi Shankar” at age 10 (saw him on Tonight Show, loved it). Waited at record store in strip mall to buy new Beatles 45s with allowance. First job was shining shoes at barber shop down the strip mall from that record store, spent the money there. College and two years after, worked for two record store chains for 5 years. Still buying LPs (and CDs). Some of the first and most memorable in order (up to age 16): Canned Heat “Hallelujah” (first with my own money), Jimi Hendrix “Greatest Hits”, “Goodbye Cream”, King Crimson “In the Court of the Crimson King” and “Lizard”, Zappa “Lumpy Gravy”, John Lennon “Plastic Ono Band”, Charles Lloyd “Soundtrack” and “In Europe”, Miles Davis “Bitches Brew” and “Filles de Kilimanjaro”, Ornette Coleman “Science Fiction”, Wayne Shorter “Schizophrenia”, Pharoah Sanders “Astral Traveling” and “Black Unity”. Then on to Sun Ra, early bebop, and Julius Hemphill.

  2. thanks Allan. i remember grabbing “Astral Traveling,” too. i wonder what Joe Morris’ trajectory was?

  3. My most vivid memory is being ridiculously excited to find and buy London Calling by the Clash at Ann & Hope in Warwick, RI.

  4. Purchasing The Jesus & Mary Chain’s Darklands at Rocks Off in Bradford, West Yorkshire. It may have been the astronomical sum of three pound 99 – which nowadays would get you a cup of coffee. The band name, album cover and store itself all absolutely terrified me. The music did not. Haven’t looked back since.

  5. Hathway’s… THAT was a music store, Jim….and Buzz Terry’s Main Street music….took guitar lessons there. I remember — $3 for 30 minutes in ’65 or ’66 and thinking: “Wow…that’s 10 cents a minute — that’s really money!”

  6. thanks for the comment MT. And thanks for the filling the the proper name of Main Music. Yes, I took lessons there, too. “Streets of Laredo” as I recall. What was yr opening volley into the sheet music world?

  7. Ha…songs and rituals must have neen 11th
    Soho mus. Gallery?

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