This is one of my favorite days of the year and has nothing to do with either of our children’s birthdays, or that of my wife or our anniversary. Today is National Record Store Day. We used to have a shop here where I live in Norwich, Connecticut, University Music (with a rumored second location in Willimantic).
University Music is long gone as is the Norwichtown Mall that surrounded it. The Norwichtown Commons has a lot of nice and new businesses (hopefully thriving) but no record shop and so far there’s no record store in Chelsea, which is what some of us who don’t call downtown Down City (no idea why) call downtown. Maybe someday, but certainly not today, which in case I haven’t mentioned it enough is National Record Store Day.
I could go to the chain store out in the Crystal Mall and maybe before the day is over I shall, but I’m headed into New London, The Whaling City, to browse the bins of The Telegraph, an absolute must when coming to New London (it and the train station are my two reasons for going there; your mileage may vary but not by much).
As a Scarlet Knight at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey I used to trek out to East Brunswick on Route 18 into a house someone converted into The Record Setter, a vinyl shop so amazing it defied adequate description.
Just one example of why independent record stores rule: I’ve been told five hundred copies of Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (Morocco) were ever pressed (the first release on Rolling Stones Records).
I own it on vinyl and eight track (!) and on cassette (until it was stolen out of our VW Beetle in Offenbach, Germany). All of them were tracked down and sold to me by the folks who operated The Record Setter.
The Telegraph is owned and staffed by people who love music because they make music, selling it is their day job to support their avocation. Lots of independent record stores today are having special events, and sales and other patron thank-you’s (no pony rides, I checked) but it’s we, who listen and love music, who should thank those who eke out a living in the retail jungle.
I don’t care what kind of music you say you like (yes, Justin Bieber I’m looking at you-not listening, just looking) except maybe Rastafarian Country and Western, Polka-Swing or Thrash-Gospel. Today is the day to let the freak flag fly and go find your local independent record store and put some of your money where your mouth is and help someone somewhere who’s been making music for themselves for all these years become an overnight sensation.