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Record Stores Keep On Spinnin’


by Stephen Becker 17 Apr 2009

It’s cheap and easy today to purchase music online or at a big box retailer. That’s why there are only a handful of independent record stores left in North Texas. On Saturday, several of them will celebrate National Record Store Day with special events and concerts. KERA’s Stephen Becker recently hung out at one store to find out how it continues to thrive.

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INTRO: It’s cheap and easy today to purchase music online or at a big box retailer. That’s why there are only a handful of independent record stores left in North Texas. On Saturday, several of them will celebrate National Record Store Day with special events and concerts. KERA’s Stephen Becker recently hung out at one store to find out how it continues to thrive.

STORY: It’s Friday afternoon here at Good Records.

As some ring in the weekend with happy hour at their local bar, many Dallas music lovers head to the Greenville Avenue store for a different kind of buzz.

Almost everyone in the store today identifies themselves as regulars, which doesn’t surprise Good Records owner Chris Penn a bit.

PENN: “You have your Monday guy, you’ll have your Tuesday guy and you’ll see a lot of the same guys. Has Jimmy been in on Friday, has Brian been in on Saturday? We’ll talk amongst ourselves, amongst the clerks, and we kinda know when they’re coming.” [15 seconds]

Around 4, Carmen Cohagan stopped in with a group of friends. She walked out with a mix of vinyl records and CDs.

CLIP: What did you find today?

COHAGAN: “Um, I got a Beck album, Adele and Beirut.”

She says that she had planned to stop by one of the big box retailers …

COHAGAN: “But I figured they’d disappoint me with their selection. This place is awesome, they have everything.”

And there is plenty here that is unique.

On the ground floor amid flyers for upcoming shows, you can flip through CDs. You won’t find every album in the Billboard Top 10, but you’ll find everything from indie darling Bonnie Prince Billy to the newest album from Denton band Riverboat Gamblers.

The stage near the rear hosts in-store concerts and doubles as a CD listening station.

Upstairs, you can scour racks of vinyl records, finding rarities like a 5 LP set of the early recordings of the Legendary Pink Dots.

And in the back corner, you can thumb through copies of CMJ New Music Monthly and The Sound Projector.

It’s clear from talking with those in the store today that they didn’t just drop in while running errands. Good Records isn’t the kinda store that you run in and out of.

It’s the kind you make time for.

Jan Cornelius says he makes it by the store once a week.

CLIP: “So what’d ya get there today?”

CORNELIUS: “Let’s see, from U.S. and Canada, the Monks, which was an early, pre-punk band from ’64 to ’65, and Peter Bjorn and John, Living Thing.”

CORNELIUS: “The guys play so much good music in here that you can just go up and ask them, ‘What’s that?’ They’ve turned me on to a lot of bands that I’d never heard of.”

Some of the bands that the Good Records clerks recommend are local acts who sell their CDs on consignment at the store.

STINNETT: “My name is Clay Stinnett, and I play drums for the Dallas band the Boom Boom Box.”

Stinnett came by to see what time his band would be playing Saturday during National Record Store Day.

On Saturday, Good Records will host concerts from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. The Boom Boom Box plays at 4.

Between the gigs it hosts and the music it stocks, the store plays an important role in connecting local bands with an audience.

STINNETT: “You can always get the music at the show, but if someone wasn’t able to come to a show or if they came from out of town, they can always come here and find it. Me, personally, I have three different records in this store.”

As nightfall approaches, many of the shoppers head off to dinner or a date or even a lazy night at home.

Regardless of their destination, most of them leave with the soundtrack to their weekend in their hands.

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  • Karey

    Great story on the wonderful atmosphere in record stores. I appreciated the comment around it being more of a destination than an “in and out” locale. Good record stores (including Good Records) have a life of their own that you can feel the moment you walk through the door. Excellent story.

  • I love the fact that that girl bought a Beck album.