So, ladies and gents, my attempt to do a Bay Area record store crawl was not a failure. It was a success! Even if it was all by myself and only in the East Bay. From the beginnings of the day, it looked like it was gonna be less about buying records and more about just taking pictures of long lines one must wait on to buy records on Record Store Day.
Already running late, I debated whether it was even worth it to wait in this line just to get in.
I realized I didn’t really have the time or patience for this long ass line, and I’m not really that into limited Ghostbusters remixes and shit like that…sooooo…luckily, at the end of the line, on the next block, is the world famous Amoeba Records
Amoeba was nice. It was crowded, but there were some good finds right away like this bad boy for 6 bucks:
I snatched up this one, some Yarborough and Peoples and a New Birth record and decided to hit the line and pay. But when I went to find the end of the line, it was pretty much all the way around the inside of the store. So, even though I found some gems, I decided to keep it moving and hope every record store wasn’t a 2 hour line.
Feeling like an alcoholic on New Years Eve, I was beginning to think record store day is nothing but amateur hour. But I kept the faith and decided to head to a smaller, more unsung, but high quality record shop on the west side of Berkeley called Dave’s Records.
Dave’s was completely awesome. It is a small shop on San Pablo Ave. Not the huge selection of Amoeba, but I would say the quality of selections were superior, and the prices were very reasonable. You’re not going to find the Record Store Day novelty releases here. You’re not going to find much Hip Hop or new EDM stuff. But you will find a great selection of Soul, Funk, Jazz and Rock. Call me old fashioned, but those tend to be the things I search for while record shopping. I’m not concerned with how rare or obscure a record is, as much as I care that it is jammin’. I buy records to listen to and play (and sample), so this is my kind of store. No frills, just the classics. The guy behind the counter was super-cool too and I really felt welcome there. Great record shop. Bought a bunch of shit there. I will definitely be back for more. Besides, it’s right down the street from my favorite place to record, Fantasy Studios, and my favorite place to get drunk after recording, The Missouri Lounge. Much love to Dave’s Record Shop!
Ok. By now, it’s 2:00pm. I’m coming to grips with the fact that I’m not going to make it to San Francisco to do any record shopping. And, to be honest, I can’t really afford too many more shops. So I decide to make one last stop in Oakland, near my crib.
I avoided the temptation to go grab fourth meal at Taco Bell and went straight to 25th and Telegraph to one of my new favorite record stores Econo Jam Records.
In all honesty, the name had me thinking it was gonna be corny. I was wrong. A few hipsters, but it wasn’t crawling with them, and the people who worked there were really friendly and inviting. The girl behind the counter liked my Ricky Henderson T-shirt, my Michael Henderson purchase (Slingshot), and the guy behind the counter seemed to notice I got a bargain or two from the Oddball section. It was a very welcoming crew though, and I was glad to give them my business on this Record Store Day. It is a small shop, but they had plenty of the classics and a lot of the limited edition Record Store Day releases. No real hip-hop section, which was a disappointment, but funk, jazz, soul, rock and punk they had plenty of. The store was very well-organized, and although things were a bit pricey, there were some GREAT bargains in there too. I will definitely be back soon.
All in all, it was a great day. I didn’t go to as many spots as I wanted to and didn’t have the giant posse I envisioned, but I did get to know a few new spots, bought some great music and supported the very places that I hope to see my own music sold in one day. I also got inspiration to do another record store crawl on a different day of the year. This next one is gonna be planned, catered, sponsored and on a day where the lines are not 2 blocks long to get into the record shops. But I have to say, I’m blessed to live in the Bay Area, a place where record culture is not only alive, but thriving.
So just remember, my brothers and sisters, even when things don’t go according to plan, you can still sit back and listen to the records you just bought on one holiday and enjoy the sounds while smoking yourself into the next holiday (4/20). Slick Shooze Style. What a plan. I’d say everything is about perfect right now.
Much Love Yall