The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Monday, June 11, 2007

Record Store Business Cards!


I found a ton of old record store business cards last night. Many of them are over 30 years old. Now we have some actual information about the names and locations of some of the record stores I used to frequent as a teenager! It was such a blast of reality finding this little stack of business cards! Nothing quite like have some ‘proof’ instead of always having to rely upon my memory!

Mundae Records & Tapes

17 39th Place (Belmont Pier)

Long Beach CA 90803

434-4788

Dick Heckstall-Smith “A Story Ended”, David Bowie “Ziggy Stardust”

Wenzel’s Music Town (Tom & Maxine)

Home of…Oldies but Goodies

13117 Lakewood Blvd

Downey CA 90242

634-2928

Rolling Stones “She’s A Rainbow” picture sleeve

Vogue Records and Tapes

1025 Westwood Blvd (Westwood Village)

Los Angeles CA 90024

270-3142

John Cage “Indeterminacy” (my 2nd copy!)

Vogue Records and Tapes

6666 Hollywood Blvd

Hollywood CA 90028

466-7276

Led Zeppelin “IV” (white label promo), Mephistopheles “In Frustration I Hear Singing”

Vogue Records and Tapes

3576 Rosemead Blvd (Rosemead Square Shopping Center)

Rosemead CA 91770

280-3323

(Can’t actually remember what I might’ve bought at this location – more Battisti LP’s?)

Platterpuss Records

4661 Hollywood Blvd

Hollywood CA 90027 (?)

660-0666

King Crimson “Lizard”

Platterpuss Records

5536 East 7th Street

Long Beach

498-1765

Michel Berger “self-titled” debut LP on WB France, Second Hand “Death May be Your Santa Claus”

Platterpuss Records

104 East Broadway

Glendale

246-3300

Cream “Wheels Of Fire” (foil-covered jacket)

Platterpuss Records

320 Manhattan Beach Blvd

Manhattan Beach

372-4214

Family “Family Entertainment” (with a poster)

Platterpuss Records

2204 Lincoln Blvd

Santa Monica

392-6622

Gracious! – “self-titled” debut, US copy…for 10 cents!

Platterpuss Records

1909 S. Catalina

South Redondo Beach

373-7111

Robert Wyatt “Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard”

Moby Disc

14626 Victory Blvd

Van Nuys CA

787-7100

Tea & Symphony “Jo Sago” (and way too many to mention!)

I actually used to shop at almost all of these stores – back when I was still in school, didn’t have any money to speak of etc. Before I drove, I had to rely upon others to get me places that were outside of my loop – sometimes my dad, sometimes my brother – and eventually I got friends that had cars, and were ‘up’ for some “record cruising”.

The Vogue stores are the only ones listed here that did not have ‘used’ LP’s as such – I think they had a ‘cheapie bin’ – but the records were all new. The Vogue in Westwood is where I used to buy all my Lucio Battisti albums.

Moby Disc was a real trek from Long Beach – but I only had to show my brother that store once, and then whenever he hit town (he lived in Europe), we would make the 35+ mile drive to Van Nuys. A little later in the 70’s, I once went to Moby Disc the same day that I had a tooth extracted – that is an amusing memory. First, I had to tell me friend Bob how to drive to Van Nuys from Long Beach – then I had to have my wits about me as I sifted great big bins of used LP’s – in search of mid-70’s prog rock gold. I seem to remember getting a promo copy of the British (Virgin) double album “Unlimited Edition” by Can on that fateful evening.

And I couldn’t swear to it, but I think the Platterpuss in Redondo Beach eventually turned into a “Ray Avery’s Rare Records” (where I found my Dion McGregor LP!). Places like Platterpuss often had LP’s for under $1 (and I could easily ride my bike to the Long Beach store). A good Long Beach bicycle circuit was the Platterpuss on 7th Street and Mundae at the Long Beach Pier. I had a blue 10-speed bike.

A good L.A. “record run” also likely included a visit to Aron Record Shop on Melrose Avenue and possibly Tower Records on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood – and let’s not forget Rhino Records on Westwood Blvd. Or Poo Bah Record Shop (on Fair Oaks) in Pasadena. Hint, folks: only one of these shops is still alive – go to Poo Bah’s on Colorado Blvd. in (east) Pasadena! Say “Hi” to Michael, Gary & Chad!

Hollywood Blvd. was a good place to go to look for records – there were cheap places to eat, and about a dozen or more stores within a few blocks – places like Pacific Discount, Vogue, Phil Harris Record Shop, Lewin’ Record Paradise. My dad was always “OK” with going to Hollywood Blvd. – and he knew where it was! I wish I could remember who told me to go to Aron’s, Moby Disc etc. I’d love to give credit where credit is due.

After learning to drive – and while still in high school – I remember somehow obtaining my dad’s car and ditching school and driving from Long Beach to Aron’s on Melrose – likely parking around the corner on Genesee Avenue. I got a parking ticket – can’t remember if it was an “expired meter” or possibly a street sweeping ticket. But a $5 ticket really stung in those days – and that would’ve been practically my entire budget for a “record run”!

Somebody groovy told me about the record collector swap meet that took place in the parking lot of Capitol Records – probably about 1975 or so. I think it was my brother and myself who drove up there early one Sunday morning – I bought Frank Zappa 45’s on verve – and I remember someone having the entire international A&M label publishing library – with Japanese Cat Stevens EP’s (I got a white label Esperanto 45!). The swap meet had guys trying to be cool – with their skinny ties…other guys with miner’s helmets, guys who were drunk, people who had been up all night after a show at the Whisky or the Roxy. Eventually, we decided to do the “stay up all night” thing – and my brother & I discovered that people did, in fact, start showing up at Capitol around midnight – what silly people we had been, going at 6:00am, we could’ve been there all night!

Then the ‘Capitol meet’ moved across the street – eventually out to the Country Club in Reseda – talk about a drive from Long Beach!!!

5 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Donato said...

The first record store I ever went to, having previously only seen them in department or drug stores, was an unnamed San Fernando valley place where I went in by myself, age 7 with enough money to buy a 45! I picked “Imagine” by John Lennon since I knew he was in the Beatles. But for the vas bulk of my childhood, having no elder siblings, I only saw records in department stores and drug stores. I also remember seeing “cutout” 45s near the checkout counter at the occasional quick mart in my travels across this great land of ours, but I was unsuccessful in getting my parents to pony up the 4 bits for a 45! Just as well, those records, if I had bought them, would have probably warped or melted in the heat of the car. In LA my family used to shop at Gemco and one or two records might have been bought there.

By my pre-teen years I would get the occasional record at Millers department store, or an Eckerds drug store or the old reliable K-Mart. I remember buying Steppenwolf “R.I.P” at Miller’s as a cutout for $1-2! This was when full list was an impressive $5. Eckerd Drugs would also have cutouts [though this word did not enter my vocabulary for another decade or so] but I remember buying Three Dog Night’s “Naturally” at full list! Smitten with their cover of “The Loco Motion” I also wanted the Grand Funk album from whence it came, “Shinin’ On” – the one with the 3-D cover also made it like flypaper to me! In the end I settled for the 45 and one play of the dismal Led Zep rip-off b-side, “Destitute & Losing” gave me the steel to resist that 3-D album cover forevermore. In retrospect, I credit Todd Rundgren for his able production in almost suckering me into buying a Grand Funk album!

In the ensuing years my album stash grew along very modestly with a fruitcake tin of used 45s [usually sans sleeves] that I bought when accompanying my mom to garage sales during summer vacation. Used records entered my life fairly early from garage sales and it would be some years before I discovered that whole record stores sold used merchandise! I remember that even seeing a 45 picture sleeve was vastly exotic to my pre-teen eyes! K-Mart, where by now any record purchases were made, almost never featured picture sleeves on their 45s in the mid-70s. This probably was because record store rackjobbers got the limited sleeves as a perk where general retail stores got by on generic white or label sleeves. Am I right Ron?

I can remember also seeing by this time, albums on a POP rack at the checkout of local quick mart stores like Shop & Go. These would largely be K-Tel releases but when you are a kid, these have enormous bang for buck appeal. I remember wanting one such K-Tel release in 1974 – Dynamite. It’s contents:
The Night Chicago Died- Paper Lace
Takin' Care of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
This Flight Tonight - Nazareth
Be Thankful for What You Got - William DeVaughn
I Shot the Sheriff - Eric Clapton
Hollywood Swinging - Kool & the Gang
Stuck in the Middle With You - Stealers Wheel
I'm a Train - Albert Hammond

Rock Your Baby - George McCrae
Honky Cat - Elton John
Seasons in the Sun - Terry Jacks
Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo - Rick Derringer
Meet Me on the Corner Down at Joe's Cafe - Peter Noone
Save the Last Dance for Me - The DeFranco Family
Rings - Lobo
The Lord's Prayer - Sister Janet Mead
Love's Theme - Love Unlimited
Show and Tell - Al Wilson
On and On - Gladys Knight
Let's Put It All Together - The Stylistics

Wow! A pretty dismal compilation! Why in heaven’s name did I want this? Probably because it was there at the checkout whenever we would buy a gallon of milk. And it was a record. Anything good here? The William DeVaughan number scores high points with me. I loved the Kool & The Gang number then AND now. Heck, I re-bought the 45 a few years ago making this the one track still in my collection 34 years later! Always one of my favorites by them. The Al Wilson isn’t a bad r&b pop number either. The Elton John number was middling EJ. BTO wasn’t too bad... I’m grasping at straws here! What did I hate at the time? Eric Clapton’s Bob Marley cover was my first exposure to reggae and honestly, it never got much better to my ears! I absolutely HATED this song with my 11 year old ears. The same sentiment to Monsieur Jacks! I only found out a few years ago that “Seasons In The Sun” was a Brel cover!! I guess Scott Walker picked much better material! The Stealers Wheel track always struck me as hideously smarmy at the time and I recall finding the double entendre repulsive even as a child. The DeFranco Family were faux Osmonds – please!! Since I was a heathen atheist, Sister Janet Mead didn’t win any stars with me either! Rick Derringer was far too overamped for my delicate sensibilities. At least the groove-crammed pressing sounded just fine on my portable mono record player.

By the late 70s K-Mart was pretty much it for me and records. I could easily ride my bike there and that settled it. The closest actual record stores to me growing up were East-West Records & Tapes on Orange Avenue and a Record Mart on Oak Ridge Road. Each 3-4 miles away. I could not ride my bikes there – Orlando traffic was far too scary for cyclists back then [and I don’t think much has changed].

In junior high I wanted a cassette deck [mono] so I could record songs off of the radio... acoustically! If only I had someone then to tell me what the Aux. jack was for! Recording sessions were closed door where I held the condenser mic up to the radio speaker! One side effect of this was being able to keep my pesky cousins out of my face when they visited. When my door was closed I was “recording” and my room was off limits. I didn’t bother explaining Aux input to my family later! In 9th grade, my dad got me the musical equivalent of the neutron bomb – a Radio Shack portable am/fm cassette recorder that allowed me to tape music AND monitor it -while taping- [by now I had figured out the Aux. In. jack]! I had some cheap bookshelf speakers that I had gotten at garage sales and I filled the room with 4-5 of these and plugged this unit into them for the best possible mono sound.

In junior high school I remember when “hip” teacher Robin Shurtz started teaching English at my school. I was in 9th grade and he came to my English class and gave a presentation on music and I was the only kid there who recognized Alan Parson’s Project. At the time, “I Robot” was out and the lame “Pyramid” was still a year or so out. I was a pre-teen record geek.

The summer between junior high and high school was pivotal – I acquired my first stereo from Sears and it was an all-in-one with cassette and 8-track recording capability! Now I would never need anything else! By this time, getting dad to drive me to the two nearby record stores had to happen. After buying me a stereo, my first album purchased was the excellent “Black Noise” by Canadian progmeisters FM. It says a lot that I can still dearly LOVE this album 29 years later! When most of the progrock I was listening to at this time has fallen by the wayside [particularly the Moody Blues – ech!] this album still gets the juices flowing and I consider it the last, great progressive rock album. Sure the sci-fi lyrics are potential howlers, but the playing has all of the meat and little of the fat that doomed prog! Nash The Slash managed a very credible New Wave career after ditching the band following this debut. The only later album I heard by these guys [“City Of Fear” with future k.d. lang accompanist Ben Mink replacing Nash on strings] just didn’t come close to cutting it!

I suppose I should also mention that my high school had a 10 watt FM station WGAG, [Green And Gold – school colors] and of course I was a DJ there! My befuddled physics teacher, Mr. Howard, was in charge of the program and had to submit at least 5 sets of call letters to the FCC when he began the station a year earlier and of course the FCC in their wisdom.

As a teenager, my parents finally let me ride my bike to at least the Oak Ridge Record Mart and by this time [79] New Wave was it! I remember buying The Boomtown Rats “Fine Art Of Surfacing” there, among others. After graduating high school, I upgraded the cassette in my stereo with my graduation present – a nice Akai stand alone cassette deck I rigged into my system, which didn’t have aux inputs since it could do everything.

While in college I shared a ride with a friend and once a week, I’d have enough lunch money to ask him to stop by Record Mart Warehouse on the way home,. It was a large store with decent imports and by now I had discovered the glory of cutouts! 3-5 records for $10!!! This large store was managed by Don Gilliland, the guy who always worked at the best record store in town. Since it was actually a warehouse, it was the point of origin for all stock in the local Record Mart chain. I first saw import 12” singles here but did not yet fathom them! I didn’t know that they featured different material to the 7” singles that I was more used to seeing. Extended versions?! Not yet in my life.

I also discovered USED record stores around this time [1981] and Retro records had a great New Wave section that made shopping hideously easy! Lots of great stuff from this store, run by Bob Ponder. Now my lunch money could travel further! Let’s see, 1981 brought: cutouts – 12” singles – and used records! All helping my mania extend itself. While a college freshman I met a friend - Jayne and she lived north of Orlando and told me about the wonders of Record City in Fern Park. It was behind the Jai-Alai fronton and she took me there between classes one day. By now I was hooked on the stuff bad and this was a mind-blowing record store – my first. It was Fall of 1981 and John Foxx and Ultravox had brand new singles out in the most extensive import section I’d ever seen! Not just 3-4 feet of goods but a whole long row in the large store! I had enough cash to buy 2 7”ers or 1 12” so I went with “Miles Away” and the just out “Europe, After The Rain” by Foxx instead of Ultravox’s “Thin Wall” 12.” The cutout section at Record City was unbelievably excellent – as large as a typical record store in itself!

1983 saw a new record store appear on the Orlando horizon: Don Gilliland started up Murmur Records. Yes, Orlando was a flashpoint of REM fandom from the Hib-Tone days. By the time they were signed to IRS there were already a few clone bands locally! But Murmur would be Orlando’s premiere record store [new and used] from ’83 to when it closed, following the arrival of Lollapalooza in 95 to our fair city.

By this time, I have fond memories of record buying sorties with my friends like Tom or Charles. There was an element of risk since we often were gunning for exactly the same records and whoever found them first might be the only ones to get them that day.

By 1985 I had graduated college and met my friend Brian who introduced me to the next step in my record buying development: mail order! Brian was an inveterate mail order buyer and between his Goldmine subscription and various catalogs arriving weekly, I managed to piggyback on some of his orders before I went to ordering outright myself. Naturally, Brian knew Ron [the writer of this blog] and it was then when I made my first connection with Citizen Kane.

1985 also brought affordable compact disc technology. I bought my first when Radio Shack was liquidating their first model for the then low price of $500! But the discs themselves were still a rare occurrence on the Orlando scene. I recall seeing about a dozen or so [imports] in the best stores pre-1985. Eventually, the right stores carried decent imports and I bristle at the thoughts of all of the titles I didn’t buy [but wanted] at the time that are now 2 decades OOP and beyond my reach! But CDs in 1985 were a waiting game. The industry first had to fulfill their commitment to provide all of the Phil Collins fans with their precious discs first before the likes of my favorite groups would hit the new format. Remember: there were initially THREE CD pressing plants in the world at that time. Tears For Fears made news by being the first act to release a CD n the same day as vinyl for their hit “Big Chair” album. Speaking of TFF, when my friends staged a road trip to Tampa to see them on tour in 1986, we made the pilgrimage to the legendary Vinyl Fever, touted by my friend Elisa. It more than lived up to the billing and for many years, any trips to Tampa made time for a trip to VF! It was a superb record store at a time when superb record stores were peaking and did not know it.

I soon began the regrettable trend of trading in vinyl for credit at stores where I could get CDs. A lot of these items I would later rebuy, at least when I purchased again the prices were really low! Around 1986 there was an amazing store in Orlando that was ALL CD up in Altamonte Springs, north of Orlando. My friend Tom and I would go there every payday and squander our meager paychecks on the delightful import discs to be had there. They only lasted about two years [I wish I could remember their name – was it Digital Sounds?] but a good 30% of my early collection of CDs came from there at that time. I vividly remember getting a UK import of Tracey Ullman’s 2nd album, “You Caught Me Out” there only to have a CD so riven with data noise that it sounded like a helicopter had bee mixed into the final product! When held up to the light, one could see thousands of pinholes in the reflective plating on the disc – far beyond what the error correction circuits of the players could handle! I remember examining all of my CDs looking for pinholes in the plating and the first disc I had ever seen without any was Kraftwerk’s “Electric Cafe” pressed by JVC in Japan – late in 1986. It hurt to trade that back to the dealer knowing that there was not another to buy. Heck, to this day I have never seen the vinyl on that album – which I had been looking for for a few years already at that point. Fortunately, in the early 90s, our friends at the German label Repertoire released that and many other Stiff label discs on CD, with ample bonus tracks to boot!

1986 also saw my first real trip out of state for musical purposes. Fave band OMD were opening for The Thompson Twins [not exactly favorites at this point in their career] at the famous Fox Theatre in Atlanta so I road tripped there with a friend. Since the show was on a Sunday. we stayed an extra day just to buy records at Wax & Facts in Little Five Points. I only had about $100 to spend and food was overrated, so I brought home some John Foxx, Virginia Astley and Mari Wilson records instead! It was a real trip to get Mari records in a store since I had amassed a large collection through mail order only. Effective, but hardly fun or tactile! Yes, I would soon make the move to full time Goldmine subscription just for the ads. But that remains for PART 2...

10:04 AM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

Just to expand a bit on Jim's very accurate overview of Orlando's record scene - I was here in the 60s and bought almost everything in department stores like J.C. Penneys, J.M. Fields, and for some reason Singer Sewing Machine stores. The first true music store I can remember was Bill Baer's in the Winter Park Mall. Every Top 40 single! Listening booths! And of course TVs and Hi-Fis. Then came the original East West Records in Winter Park which was the first store that I remember that sold nothing but records and tapes. And finally a quick shout out to "Steve's Southern Music" which had EVERY domestic 45 released whether it charted or not and ALWAYS with the picture sleeve. Much appreciated!!

9:25 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Does Jim win for best comment ever?

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Steve's Southern Music

A store in downtown Orlando so I almost NEVER got there. Why? As a child downtown Orlando was a ghost town with everything closed by 5-6. My family never ventured further north than Colonial Drive, being denizens of South Orlando [practically Kissimmee] so ANYTHING north of Colonial Drive was mind-bendingly exotic to me as a youth. The only time I ever saw Orlando north of Colonial was when we were going on a vacation! Only after I procured a car did I investigate areas north of Colonial Drive on a regular basis. I only ever went to Southern Music a few times in the mid 80s. It was a big problem doing that. Why? No parking downtown for a start! But it was FILLED with records and by the time I got there, CDs at a decent sale price .

10:03 AM  
Blogger Duane Norris said...

I worked at the Platterpuss in L B while attending CSULB. We used to have to price those used albums as part of our duties. The standard was if you paid $5 for some used albums you had to price them out for double what you paid for them.

We were told to take the albums that looked brand new and put them in the defective batch that were returned to the various distributors. He would receive full credit for that album on his invoice. It was a way of controlling inventory costs he said.

:o)

9:05 AM  

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