Today was Record Store Day. For some reason, I found myself to be more interested in RSD this year than in years past. There were at least couple of things that I wanted and I tried hard to talk myself out of buying them. I was unsuccessful. I bought some records and had a good time in the process.
My Record Store Day started last night. My friend Wayne told me he was going to The Attic in Millvale at midnight. The Attic is the only store in town that opens at midnight and people typically line up hours early to get first dibs on the hot releases. I had no interest in going, so Wayne said he would look for a couple of things for me. I was looking for Phish’s Lawn Boy 2LP and Scientist’s Scientific Dub 3x 10″ box set. Well, when Wayne texted me the prices shortly after midnight, I told him to forget it. I thought that might have been the end of my Record Store Day.
Early this morning, my wife, to my surprise, was actually interested in waking up with me and my daughter and going to an estate sale in our neighborhood at 8:00. Although that sale was uneventful, the timing worked out perfectly for us to hit the coffee shop and then drive over to Bloomfield in time for Sound Cat’s 9:00 opening. The line was about 50 people deep and I jumped in. Sound Cat is a pretty small store but somehow, when they opened the doors everyone squeezed their way in. The overall enthusiasm for records was unbelievable. People (mostly guys in their 20’s and 30’s) were tearing through the bins scattered all throughout the store. On the end cap about 10 feet inside the door, I see a lone copy of Lawn Boy. Of course, the dude right in front of me grabs it. So, I hear someone saying that there were more copies in the back of the store, So just as I start squeezing my way through the crowd, a girl hands me a copy and says, “Here. I was holding this for a friend but I don’t know where she’s at.” Score! The price was high but not as high as at The Attic. So, then I made my way over to the next closest RSD release rack and the Scientific Dub box set was right in front. Also expensive, but as my wife put it, “Just do it. This only happens once a year. Don’t worry about the money.” My wife was actually talking me INTO buying records. I love you, babe! So those ended up being my only purchases of the day, but it was all I was really looking for so it worked out. Sound Cat even had custom numbered bags for the first 33 purchases of the day. Mine was number 20/33.
For my next stop, I had to make it over to Jerry’s in Squirrel Hill. Jerry doesn’t sell new or reissued records, but I had gotten those purchases out of the way and I figured a RSD wouldn’t be complete without hitting one of the best record stores in the country. The vibe in Jerry’s was perfect. If Sound Cat was like coming down the stairs on Christmas morning and running to tear into a pile of gifts under the tree, then Jerry’s was like Christmas dinner with family and friends, food and drink, and music and laughter. I don’t go to Jerry’s a quarter of what I used to, but they still treat me like family. As I looked though the jazz section, one of the guys said “Hey man! Happy Record Store Day! Go in and grab a hot dog and a beer!” Yeah…hot dogs and beer! All on Jerry, no charge. Every day is Record Store Day at Jerry’s. Today was a celebration. I kind of felt bad not buying anything, but it really didn’t matter. It was a great vibe.
Later in the afternoon, I decided to take a ride down to 720 Records & Cafe to see what was going on. I knew there were DJ’s spinning vinyl there all day, and I wanted to check out what records, even non-RSD items, they had. There wasn’t much there today. Their jazz selection was especially light, which surprised me a little. I did get to talk to one of the owners, DJ Selecta, as well as one of the baristas, who had fun playing with my daughter while I looked at records.
On my way home from 720, I made one final stop at Unifaun Records on Butler Street. Unifaun is an interesting little shop consisting of all used vinyl and very friendly owner named Larry. He has a bunch of rock stuff like the Stones, Dylan, etc. but not a whole lot of jazz or reggae, which was all I was really interested in buying used today.
Overall, I had a pretty good day looking at records. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of jazz releases for this RSD. There were a few Miles reissues, but not much else. I should have tried to make it over to Mind Cure in Polish Hill to check out his used jazz selection. But, as I said above, I got the 2 things that I really wanted, got to talk to some really cool people, and got a free beer and hot dog. Happy Record Store Day 2013!