Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Downloads And Ringtones

There's a solid chance that my kids -- ages six and sixteen -- will go through life having very few encounters with rotary-dial phones, typewriters, or black-and-white television sets. Technology has largely rendered these devices museum pieces, garage-sale kitsch, or landfill detritus. At the end of the day, however, my kids' lives will be no less rich for having missed out on these products.

But what about record stores?

They're disappearing faster than the women in Drew Peterson's life.

And it saddens me to think that my kids and their friends are probably not going to be able spend quality hours during their teenage years thumbing through racks of LPs and compact discs at the soon-to-be non-existent neighborhood record shop.

I learned an awful lot about music hanging out in good record stores. I loitered, I read liner notes, I chatted with knowledgeable customers and employees, and I watched some great in-store performances. My kids' lives will be a little less rich for not having those same opportunities.

There aren't many great music shops left in this country. If you happen to live in Chicago, make it a point to take your kids to the Jazz Record Mart, 27 E. Illinois, and wander the aisles with them. Explore the racks of records and discs with your kids. Buy something for them. Ask my friend Ron Bierma (the Mart's manager) anything you want to know about jazz, blues, gospel, or R&B. The JRM is a Chicago institution. Enjoy it while it's still around.


Rob said...

St. Louis readers should check out Euclid Records in Webster Groves on Lockwood near Big Bend. Lots of great sides. Picked up an obscure Art Farmer recording of Kenny Dorham's Blue Bossa there, as well as Clark Terry with his Jolly Giants ripping through Straight No Chaser.

One fantasy I had when I was in my "poor" musician days and in a CD shop in Manhattan, counting out my sheckles and figuring I had enough for one, maybe two CDs. I saw someone browsing with a handheld grocery basket picking up CDs, inspecting them like fruit, and dropping them in his basket. And I thought to myself, what would life be like if you could just afford to buy anything you thought might sound good? Seemed like it would be heaven.

Rob said...

To the faithful readers of this blog, you might note the following link on record stores, which appears on the blog of the Euclid Records shop referenced in my earlier post:


(Second, if you're a faithful reader, why the hell aren't you posting?!?)