Once upon a time, I remember getting a Captain Kangaroo record for my birthday which I was allowed to play on a portable record player in our basement. I was thrilled. I started combing the house for music, ransacking my brother's rock n roll as well as my father's forgotten 45s. Finally I ventured out and bought my own vinyl which was a different rite of passage altogether. I started out humbly enough with a 45 of "Uncle Albert." I even put my name on the front so it wouldn't get lost at some frenzied slumber party which it never did.
And don't get me started on mix tapes. We were suddenly free to make up our own segways culling this song or that from albums. My College Park housemates and I were all into it. Alan provided the Doghouse with a near professional reel to reel soundtrack, while Dougal was amassing enough live recordings of the Dead to cover his bedroom wall, and Chauncy turned me onto innumerable bands which I first heard blasting out of his second story window on Guildford Road.
Tapes were presents, tapes were apologies. They were vital for road trips, break ups and celebrating just about anything. When the CD came along claiming superiority, I howled in dismay. NO. I wasn't going there. I dug my heels in for years, but finally succumbed to that overwhelming tide thinking there was no turning back. Boy, was I wrong.
Flash forward to now. What remains? Much to my surprise- all of the above. Despite Walkmen and iPods and blueteeth, vinyl has been reclaimed, and on a recent trip out West which included haunting record shops, I saw the good ole cassette tape in its own section clawing its way back as well.
Joe's Record Paradise, a DC tradition, opened in 1974, and although they have moved numerous times, their clientele has always followed. Joe's is not just a store, but part of our history and has always attracted musicians and deejays as a hang out or even a place to play. Their latest home however, was almost derailed by the Man ( i.e. the Montgomery County Government.) The opening was seriously delayed by red tape and financial issues which still plague Johnson Lee. Please don't wait for "record store day" to drop by 8700 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. Your patronage can help make sure rock n roll doesn't die- at least not in this little corner of the world.