Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chicago Record Stores: George's Music Room - Out of the Past Records

Started on the photo essay project. After some hemming and hawing, the warm weather convinced me to leave the crib and start visiting (and revisiting) shops to take some snaps. Before getting into the store details, I've noticed that two stores a day seems to be a comfortable pace. So, what I thought would be 1 or 2 posts will in all likelihood be an ongoing series. I guess that's good for my blogging frequency!

George's Music Room (RIP?)

Made it out to George's around 3:45pm and they were closed... on a Saturday? I could see promo materials inside, but it was too dark to see if they were still carrying product. There as also a PODS container in the back... not a good sign. Going to try contact them by phone this week and will report what I find out. (I did take a couple of pix of one of DZine's murals (before he got all "high art" on us! just kiddin' bro!)

Out of the Past Records

Took the bus up Pulaski to Madison and started walking West (about 5 blocks to Out of the Past). Wow, this stretch of Madison is a rough neighborhood! I grew up on the South Side in a somewhat rough neighborhood and I felt like a white kid from the suburbs. It's been a minute since I've seen folks on the street selling loose "squares" (cigarettes, if you were wondering). I'm not kidding, I think I saw about three drug deals (not to mention the brother drinking beer on the bus on the way back). But, I also saw an 11 year old girl proudly carrying her framed Barack Obama poster home from the store... the juxtaposition gave the "Change" campaign slogan some powerful resonance for me.

Was I on an Obama tangent? My bad... Back to the store. You know good things are in store when Kool & The Gang's Summer Madness is playing through a speaker on the sidewalk as you walk up! Amazing amounts of records... I walked in and in 2 minutes had found the group Change's 2nd Album Miracles (R&B fans will be aware of their first LP, Change which contained the classics A Lovers Holiday, usually referred to as just "Holiday" and Glow of Love... "Glow of Love" featured a then young and unknown singer named Luther Vandross who just... puts. it. down!). So, I immediately broke my "no purchases!" rule, but I was highly disciplined otherwise (full disclosure: I also bought a poster of the Maxwell St. Market (aka
"Jew Town" as we called it back when I was growing up.)

Everyone was helpful a the store, there were folks hanging out, a little kid in there (who stayed underfoot... watch out, little man!). Great vibe. The kicker? These guys probably have close to a hundred thousand records and their online presence? Under construction... Hey, I know a bit of computer stuff... I smell a barter arrangement down the road!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spoiled for Choice - Chicago Record Stores

Inspired by a book I recently read, I'm planning on getting around town to take some pictures of the remaining independent record stores in Chicago.

figured it'd be a fun little project for my upcoming Zoe-less weekend. As I started compiling my list of places to hit, I figured I'd be able to knock it out in a day. I was happily wrong... It's going to be a two to three day project! (despite the dire straits of the mainstream record industry, we've still got over 50 independent retailers holding it down in the Chi)

Granted, this map will probably be a little less crowded next year... but then again, it may be *more* crowded... stranger things have happened.

Anyways, the map-points on the South Side are the target for Saturday, I just have to keep telling myself: pictures only! no buying! (a brotha's got some personal IMF-style austerity measures going on)