Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Annals of ongoing lamentation over the disappearance of record stores

In the immortal words of Joe Brainard, "I Remember" that I bought my copy of Dick and Kiz Harp's "Again" LP at Londeree's Music store in Charleston, West Virginia in 1962 during the city's annual Dollar Days sale, where a lot of stuff was sold for a buck for one day only. The clerk who sold it to me was named Madge Orchid. I can even recall that she looked like a slightly less attractive version of singer Carole Simpson. For that matter, Madge probably sold me Carole's Capitol album for uno samolian also.

I guess by now that Madge Orchid (if I had a name like that, I could die happy) has probably gone to that big record store in the sky, assuming that there are any remaining up there either. Or maybe in the great beyond, records grow on trees like the watermelons in Jolson's classic "Going to Heaven on a Mule." Or perhaps there just ISN'T any such place as heaven? And that after you die they just put you in ground, shovel dirt over you and you stay nice and warm forever and never have to worry about anything ever again. Most likely, it's the latter. But I digress. . ..

Madge also sold me my first Beverly Kenney LP a few years earlier than '62 for a dollar. My sense is that Madge had very, very refined music tastes, but could not return certain labels for a refund when she was unable to sell them to the populace of the rather culturally backward environs in question. A classic case of too hip for the house.

And then when Dollar Days rolled around, Madge already had all the records picked out for me. I just bought whatever she told me to whether I had heard of the artists or not. Both Kenney and Kiz were brand new to me. It was almost as if Madge was ordering these records for me to buy at a dollar! The copy of Dick and Kiz on the tiny 90th Floor label was probably the only one to've made it out of Dallas, Texas where it was most likely meant to be sold exclusively at the 90th Floor club where the Harps held down the musical fort. (Although I seem to recall someone once telling me that he saw them perform somewhere in Kentucky.) And, now, a half-century later, both of these albums remain in constant rotation here at Oblivion Towers.

And speaking of Carole Simpson---which I did, several.paragraphs ago---her new CD , "Live" (and otherwise)" is now available at CDBaby. Her Capitol album is also scheduled to show up there shortly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had a Madge, only mine was named Paul. This was in mid 1980's small town Missouri--with its endless rows of Metallica and Whitney Houston cassettes on Camelot Music's shelves. Paul owned a little record shop downtown, and would special order import LP's for me. He helped an 18 year old discover Keely Smith, Eartha Kitt, Chris Connor, and Ella Mae Morse. Almost every time I'd come into the shop, he'd say "Hey! I got somethin' you're gonna like..." Precious man.