December 8th, 2017

Today the skies were clear and blue with lots of sunshine so Meghan, Addy, and I went for a stroll in the local downtown after a trip to the doctor. There are a ton of shops to browse through and many restaurants that I would love to come back and try to hit a few of each visit.

It’s been a good visit with a lot of excitement, but it is time to go home and take care of a few things. Addy was a week early and I missed my last day of work so when I get back they might have a few more hours of work for me.

It will give Meghan, Loran, and Addy a chance to get into their routine, too. Loran started the new job that he has been working so hard to get so it has been a great week for the family.

I’ll be taking my time on the way back. If I see something interesting I will have time to stop. There is no need to be in a hurry (other than just getting home). I’m not real sure what the highways are like yet and I could run into some weather. Another thing is these short winter days sure cuts down on driving in the daylight and with the animals out crossing the highway I want to avoid an insurance claim. Or worse.

One of the places we went into was a real old-school record store. It is just like the ones we used to visit in Kansas City when we were growing up – stores like Exile Records, Kief’s, 7th Heaven, and Caper’s Corners. Good times until major retailers ran most of the mom-and-pop indie record stores out of business and completely effed-up the music industry.

Caper’s had a ton of memories for me. They sold vinyl and cassettes as well as incense, posters, assorted “tobacco smoking accessories”, and concert tickets. We spent many nights in the 70’s camped out in line pulling an all-nighter to get the best concert tickets available when the stores would open the next morning. This is before all the ticket “brokers” (actually legal scalpers and called “brokers” because you would be broker than you should be after buying tickets for illegal prices). It really was a great time being out there with the rest of the collective tribe. We’d show up around closing time and party and stay awake all night to get our outrageous-priced major act tickets for the princely sum of $10!

But the times change and so did buying tickets. Just as I was getting into concert work (and no longer had to buy tickets!), Ticketbastards really started screwing the concertgoers and the brokers started gaining popularity plying their ill-gotten gain legally somehow. Hell, I remember seeing more than one of the “scalpers” at the shows getting busted by undercover cops for scalping, yet the brokers are somehow legit “businesses”.

I do miss the feel of those record stores even though I no longer have a turntable. It was always a treat to get to KC to visit those places when young, and then after I got my license to drive I went quite often. The last truly great record store I went in was in Lakewood, CO but it closed in the late 90s. There was another one in Denver on Pearl St. that was pretty good as well, but Caper’s was the one I remember the fondest.

Buying a new album was always a big event for my friends and I and one shared with great enthusiasm amongst us. We’d get together and comb over every minute detail on the cover while listening to that crystal clear new vinyl. Those gatefold sleeves were even more incredible to open and look at, sometimes with even the lyrics printed inside or even a triple fold-out. A few had really cool now-collectible inserts – the Cheech and Chong “Big Bambu” album with the giant rolling paper, Alice Cooper’s “Billion Dollar Babies” that was a giant wallet with a billion dollar bill and “School’s Out” that folded out into a desk. The paper sleeves would have new releases on the same label, and Warner Brothers record sleeves had their “Loss Leaders” which were double albums with various artists for $2!

CDs are such a packaging letdown and the younger generations really missed out. CDs took the music industry by storm in the 80s, but even though the music was there the artwork was not. With the advent of digital downloads even more is being missed out on. I embrace the technology of it, though, and love the convenience. Even though I no longer collect vinyl or CDs I do look back fondly on those vinyl days and all the things and memories that came with it.



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