Tuesday, 14 April 2009

No Hep Cats....


is the, tongue in cheek, title of a Chuck E. Wiess song. It's not true, Wiess is totally a hep cat. The hep cats who are still around wouldn't let me within 10 feet of them, I don't exactly exude 'cool'. Perusing the window display at Red Cat Records I barely recognized a single CD, ergo, it's probably where cool guys go to buy music. 

NB. Most of the people reading this are asking 'who the hell is Chuck E. Wiess when he's at home, I've never heard of him?' In actual fact, everyone has heard of him. According to Ricky Lee Jones, Chuck E. was in love with her. Chuck E. Wiess and the God Damned Liars are mentioned in half a dozen Tom Waits tunes. (apologies to all the folks who already knew this)

It's nice to see independent music stores still in business. Once was I couldn't go into a record shop without coming out with 4 or 5 LPs or CDs. I don't want to even talk about cassettes, I consider that an dismal era in the history of recorded music. 

I have hundreds of CDs but rarely buy them now. I generally download the specific tunes I want from iTunes and I'm not really doing my bit to keep them in business. 

During the time when I was buying a lot of LPs and CDs the place to go in Vancouver was originally Kelly's Music but they were put in second place by A & B Sound and eventually Kelly's was history. When A & B started out they were definitely the best place to go to pick up a James Last LP, some German polka music or one of those awesome Telefunken or Grundig stereo/radio combinations with the big white buttons, turntable tone arms the size of baseball bats, lacquered wood finishes and a dozen different radio frequencies. 

As time passed A & B grew into 'the' best place to buy albums in Vancouver and remained in #1 spot until the last five years or so when they slowly faded and recently vanished. I can honestly say I did do my bit to keep A & B Sound in business. I don't think there was any place in the world this side of a Bangkok Street Market where CDs were better priced. 


13 comments :

Lois said...

I'm glad to see there are still places like this!

Rob Inukshuk said...

I loved A&B and spent a good few hours in there buying Albums and cassettes (yes it was that long ago)and CD's. Sad that it's gone, but that's the way the music business has changed.

Virginia said...

Now I have Ricky Lee's song stuck in my head!! I love old record stores too. I have a box of LP's in the basement that I can't part with , warped or not! And ITunes?? I"m doing my part. Nice post today!!!
V

Halcyon said...

I am also glad there are some independent music shoppes left. And I love the NO KENNY G sign. Hee!

altadenahiker said...

I was in a liquor store on Sunset once when Tom Waits walked in. He said to his friend, "I can't decide whether to have an orange soda or a premium beer." True story.

Wayne said...

Karin, there are a whole lot of Waits fans who would consider that one encounter the high point of their lives and who would have dined out on that story for years.

I'm going to try dining out on it myself. Thanks

Ken Mac said...

great history of your local recorded music scene. I love that Rickie Lee Jones song about Chuckie, a classic. And talk about hi fidelity, that is an incredibly well recorded track.

Kim said...

Loved this post. I've been systematically loading our CD collection onto iTunes. It will take me a couple more years but I keep plugging away at it. Once I get a better idea of how to download the "good" quality downloads from iTunes I will probably purchase more than a smattering of songs. I sold all my vinyl that hadn't been issued on CD to Bop Street Records in Seattle when we moved here. One of the records I couldn't part with was a little gem of Ricky Lee's called "Girl at Her Volcano," and my original copy of Wait's "Closing Time" which was long a sentimental fave. His contemporary stuff I've got in Mp3. Now that vinyl is making a come back with the under 30 crowd it is nice to see their ears longing for analog sound.
Loved seeing the no KennyG notice in the window. He's a native Seattlite, BTW, a graduate of Franklin High.
A&B was the only entity I'd ever purchased from that got hacked into and notified me that my credit card info had possibly been compromised. . .sad to hear they are gone altogether.
-Kim

HAN said...

nice music store... full of tunes...

Laurie said...

I'm still a CD person. I just like the idea of having something that opens, with liner notes, that I can actually play on my old CD player without having to burn a CD first on the computer.

My daughter is going to be so embarassed by this in years to come. I'm sure her dates will look at my old CD player and say, "I've seen one of these in Wikipedia!"

Love this post, W. And you'll always be a hep cat to ME.

altadenahiker said...

I like seafood.

Jackie said...

That No Kenny G sign is hilarious! Well spotted!

Virginia said...

As your producer/manager I'm just wondering if and when you plan to get off your toosh and post something again? It's WEDNESDAY, not the weekend W! Could we see a little action around here????