It’s Record Store Day!

By Caitlin Kelly

I love this idea — an international celebration of indie record stores.

Record? What, you ask, is a record?


Some of us are old enough to remember 78s and 33s, not just cassettes or 8-tracks (really) or CDs or…downloads.

I have stacks and stacks of dearly beloved vinyl in a closet and our garage, desperately awaiting the day I have the spare cash to replace my long-lost stereo system with a kickin’ turntable and speakers.

I really miss my music!

The last CD I bought was purchased last month after a concert in Poughkeepsie by one of my favorite artists, South African singer Johnny Clegg.

If you can sit still and not start dancing to his music — you’ve just been declared dead!

The last batch of CDs I bought was last May, (far too long ago!) from a used CD store in Flagstaff, Arizona, on my way to the Grand Canyon. I found — and kept playing Elton John’s spectacular 1970 album Tumbleweed Connection — which provided the perfect soundtrack to where I was at the time, the American southwest, alone in a car.

I love the serendipity of browsing the bins, flipping through piles of vinyl and jewel cases, seeking something new, or something old, then listening to it obsessively.

One of my favorite memories dates back to my first newspaper job in Toronto, when a hip colleague and I ended up in the recently-closed Sam the Record Man. David pointed authoritatively to an album. “Buy it” he commanded; Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. I’d never heard of it and loved it.

There’s one Sam’s store left — oddly, in a mall in Belleville, Ontario. We actually drive through there when we visit family and friends back in Ontario, so I might stop in next time.

Do you know the fab 200 film High Fidelity? One of my favorites, it’s set in a record shop in Chicago (originally set in London), and features another bit of musical nostalgia — creating a mix tape for someone you’re crazy about and hope to make a good impression on.

Do you have vinyl? Or CDs?

What’s your current favorite tune or album?

28 thoughts on “It’s Record Store Day!

  1. Growing up on Long Island, the go-to record store was Sam Goody. I’d flip through the records and dream for hours at a time.

    In Syracuse, our Indie is Sound Garden, with rack upon rack of new and used CDs and vinyl. We are lucky.

    I love the physical reality, the big jacket or the smaller box, to admire and read and hold in my hands. I have albums and CDs but CDs are easier to play in the car!

    My favorite album changes from day to day or week to week or month to month. This minute I will go with Steely Dan’s “Pretzel Logic.”

    “Tumbleweed Connection” is a great one, by the way, Cailtin.

      1. Space crunch has taken my turntable off the entertainment center. (Old tube TVs yielded wall-of-furniture yet bigger flat screens need smaller stand …) I can hook it up anytime I want, though, thankfully.

        Anyway, good luck finding a new turntable for your albums. They actually make turntables now that convert the music for digital download. Wild. Have a great weekend.

        Genesis. Good taste.

  2. I’ve never really been exposed to vinyls. My dad has one, but he keeps it in mint condition, so I’ve never listened to it. I’ve heard the tracks on it on a CD he made though.

    These days I’m getting new classical music, including the Adiemus albums. I’ve also become a huge fan of this weird new band out of Japan, so the first chance I get I’m downloading their album to my iPod.

      1. Sounds like I really should. But where does one find vinyl and the record player to play them with? There’s a weird store near campus that looks like it sells vinyl, but I’ve never seen anyone going in or out.

      1. Steve also wrote ‘Banana Republics’ which Jimmy Buffett recorded ‘You Never Even Call Me By My Name’ which was a hit for David Alan Coe. Steve was a great guitar player and entertainer. Back when Steve Martin did stand-up Goodman was his opening act. Not many people could have succeeded at that crazy gig, but Steve Goodman did.

  3. I have music in all formats still though I haven’t had my records out in ages. I had a favorite by Johnny Clegg and Savuka called Scatterlings of Africa which I also have on a shaped disc by a group called Juluka. I defy anyone to listen to that and keep their feet still.
    xxx Massive Easter Hugs xxx

  4. Hi Caitlin,

    Sure, I remember Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street. And there was another, rival record store right beside it (what was it called? A&A or something?) One of my fave record albums in the late 1970s was Jeff Beck’s Wired. And guess what? I just learned yesterday that he’s playing in Paris on May 27th!!! When I saw the big poster in the metro station, I stopped dead in my tracks.

    Haven’t seen High Fidelity, but I’ll look for it. Just looked it up. If it’s a Stephen Frears film, should be really good.

    Happy Easter weekend. The weather’s gorgeous here – cool, breezy and sunny. Paris will be swamped with tourists this weekend.



  5. There’s two fun record shops in the Village: Bleecker Street Records and House of Oldies. I don’t have a record player anymore, but it’s fun to browse in those stores and look at all the old album covers.

  6. i love this day too, and love vinyl. the good stores were the ones you could walk into and sing a few words and they knew what album it was from. my fav was ‘sgt. pepper’s.’ i remember begin so excited for the release of new albums, and then reading and looking over the cover and liner notes when they were finally in my hands, and listening to them over and over again. )

  7. I have a spotify account so that’s where I listen to the bulk of my music — that and a great radio station called The Current based out of Minneapolis. It made more sense economically after I was buying hundreds of dollars worth of music and often only listening to the albums for about a year. But when I find something good — something really good that I want to listen to for years or that’s from a favorite artist, I try to get a physical copy and I prefer vinyl. As a musician and music lover, there’s something so wonderful and beautiful about a record. I love the process of taking it out of its sleeve and setting it on the turntable. I like the sound. I like the little crackle you get with old albums. I’m hoping to find some vintage albums too in the future and build a collection — think Record Store Day is such a great idea!

    1. Thanks! I love the physicality of vinyl, too. So much more fun than a CD or downloading. I also miss great cover art and lined notes. Even taking it out of the paper sleeve…anticipation!

      I appreciate the tip for The Current; will def. check it out.

  8. We were still buying records when I was a kid. I had Debbie Gibson on vinyl! It’s not often I buy CDs these days, mostly only digital, but we did get a record player a few years ago so I’ve been buying records at a great local shop. I’ve found a lot of great jazz stuff like some live Mel Torme and Ella Fitzgerald. I also love that you can take a risk on a record for a few bucks. I found a great album I had never heard of by a group called Pair Extraordinaire. So much fun!

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