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What was so great about the back of a furniture store?

As Joni Mitchell said, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.  Which I guess is why Record Store Day came to be in 2008.  As independent record stores were quickly disappearing, keeping at least the concept alive was important.  That was also before the present huge resurgence of vinyl, so who knew what the future of record stores was.

So when I was a kid, my local record store was in the back of a place in Chicago called United Furniture Mart.  That sounds weird, but it wasn’t just a furniture store with a few records in the back.  It was a full-blown, full-service record store!  They had all the current records plus a huge collection of oldies.  They even had a jukebox that only cost a nickel per song!  (And no, that wasn’t the normal price of jukebox plays “back then”.)  In fact, if records were illegal, I’d say the furniture sales were just a front!

I went there at least once a week, often to buy records of course, but sometimes I’d just put the bargain price of a quarter in the jukebox to get six songs, and hang out and browse while they played.  Actually, the owner finally called me on that.  Apparently, the super-cheap jukebox was for people to listen to songs if they were interested in buying the records.  Who knew?  But that didn’t stop me from going there — I just made sure I bought a record every time I was there, which didn’t exactly break my heart.

And the guy behind the counter knew about records too!  Sometimes I’d go in there with a particular oldie in mind, and if I didn’t know the title or artist or either, he could fill in the blanks.

So happy Record Store Day!  I’m glad a bunch of people want to keep that tradition alive.  And why not pay a visit to your butcher shop or dry cleaners.  You never know if you might find a huge stash of vinyl in the back!

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