Record Store Day is this coming Saturday April 21.
LEO THOMSON, CANYONS
You can find Rooky Ricardo's Records on lower Haight St in San Francisco, between Fillmore and Webster. Dick, the man who owns and runs the place, will learn your name in a jiffy and use it next time you come in.
The records are in great condition and are really well priced. You can spend hours and hours going through countless boxes of 7"s and not make a dent.
For me though, the most amazing thing about Rooky's is the service. Dick has an esky in the corner of the store with bottles of water and cola on ice. If you find yourself parched while exploring new musical territory, just help yourself to a beverage. I'm not sure if it's still going on but Dick used to host 'Rooky's Soul Kitchen' once a month in his store and the man himself would offer optional dance lessons for those interested in learning some steps.
When I was there I really got the feeling that Dick was an important member of the community, he seemed to know everybody. I stopped past one day and he had a table set up in the middle of the shop and was playing poker with some heavy looking dudes. He looked up as I came in and casually called out 'Hey Leo, grab yourself a drink if you're thirsty'. iTunes ain't never offered me a beverage before.
PICCADILLY RECORDS, MANCHESTER
The good folk at Manchester's Piccadilly Records gave us a few pointers.
Philippa Jarmna: Rough Trade West. I used to shop there as a teenager, so I have fond memories of Nigel laughing at my purchases and Jude suggesting killer 60s west coast jazz LPs to buy.
David Walker (mailorder): King Bee. It's a second hand record shop in the Manchester suburb of Chorlton and is a treasure trove of obscure and classic LPs, 12"s and 45s, all at reasonable prices.
Martin Evans (counter): Forsyths'. Ye olde classical music shop on the other side of Manchester town centre. Martin has just reached the age (48 yesterday) where his classical music purchases outway anything else. Forsyths' also sell sheet music and instruments.
Laura: Resident in Brighton. They're pretty much the same as us, but smaller in size...
I think one of the reasons I became a singer was greatly inspired by a hurried moment on Christmas Eve at age 15 when I was desperately trawling the aisles of K-Mart in Perth trying to find a little stocking filler for my Mum. It really was a definitive moment in my life when I think about it. I had no idea what to get her, so I went for the music section, hoping to see something I thought she may enjoy. I knew Mum loved Stevie Wonder, so looking at blues and jazz couldn't have been too far off the mark, I thought. At the time, I had a very basic knowledge of the genre.
At random, I picked up a female blues compilation "Lady Sings The Blues" and decided on the "Volume 2' edition rather than the first, because it opened with Aretha Franklin, and I had been curious for myself to hear what all the fuss was about. On Christmas Day after gorging on feasts of turkey and chocolate, drinking copious amounts of soft drink and wine, my family and friends lounged upon the couches ready to turn into auto-pilot sloth mode. I put the cd in stereo and let it play through.
My ears were absorbing emotion and delivery I had never heard before. Immediately I was entranced. This cd - this experience - changed my life because I was introduced to the women who FELT life, and sang about it truthfully. It was so unbelievably RAW. Like an exposed wound. Buying this album opened the gateway to my musical education of honest delivery. All because I didn't know what to buy my Mum for Christmas.
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