What it really is, is a second hand record shop on 48 E. 12th St. now and newly kitty-corner from the Strand Bookstore, but on 12th. Now, as some of us have ruefully discovered, vinyl is where it's at, regarding recorded sound; and CDs, by and large, are the Muzac of the studio world. You know: the latter skip all the grace notes and have the highs and lows of a mental patient on Zoloft. Were they in a car wreck, their brain scans would be flat.
Forgive my grotesqueries; I am remembering with embarrassment how one year I let my across-the-hall neighbors con me out of a very good turntable, because I "didn't think I'd need one any more." The things we do for love: my love got me a cruddy CD deck which I hardly every use. Oh, if you record straight from the vinyl you have half a chance of mucho mejor qualidad; but, waaah! I miss the vinyl jazz collection I sold many years back to make my rent one desperate and dreadful year: a first pressing of Miles' "Sketches of Spain," for starters...
Anyhoo, vinyl is at Second Hand Rose* with a vengeance, and the collection is excellent, though not cheap. I spent the wretched, pouring rain Saturday we just had hanging out with Shelley and Gene and their daughter, Amanda, listening to old Jimmy Yancey records, Billie Holliday, and some Nina Simone. Something about watching the rain come down in sheets outside the shop door, and hearing Jimmy unravel tunes on his piano, so bluesy, so oddly comforting. People coming in for the first time--Oh WOW!, or "Do you have--" Suddenly the latter realize they aren't at Tower Records or their local reverbatorium and they flee, confused. Secondhand RECORDS?
Yup. And lots of conversation, a good story or two (ask Gene about the time Miles Davis came into the store when it was uptown, or about his ambivalent association with Chet Baker) and, more often as not, a greeting of "Oh, hey, I just found something that I think will be right up your
alley--" In my case I am like a hog in doo-doo: it's a bebopper's paradise. But you might be a Loretta Lynn fan (one did, indeed, wander in while I was there), a Classic rocker, a Motown Mama, a Soul brother or sistah. That's cool. After all, how many music stores can you wander into and wallow so freely in the stuff you love?
*Well, they still eschew the notion of having a website, but jazz fans, blues people, and other lovers of fine quality peoples' music can contact them by phone--212-675-3735--or email them at email@example.com. Oh, the Strand? Clique, as they say!