Yesterday, I found a copy of one of my favorite albums at a local antique mall/indoor flea market. You never know what you're going to stumble upon at one of these places. I didn't have a lot of time so I flipped through the 6 or 8 crates of records pretty quickly. I happened to find a VG/VG+ original copy of The Byrds LP Mr. Tambourine Man in Mono for $5.00. Except for a little wear around the edges, mostly on the bottom front cover and a stamp on the name and address of a previous owner on the back; the record is in great condition. There was no sleeve inside promoting the other albums for sale, but so often those are replaced or gone anyway.
The stereo copy of the album would have the 'Stereo "360 Sound"' logo on both the top of the front cover and the red label on the record. This one has neither and has the correct corresponding catalog item number of CL2372.
This is one of my favorite albums of all time and as I was excited to find a nice copy. Now, I just need to spring for that USB turntable I've been wanting so I can hear the difference between the vinyl and the CD reissue from the late '90s.
This find got me thinking about a question I had started a post on months ago, but never got around to finishing. Unfortunately, the question "Where do you buy records?" becomes harder after each passing year. With the influx of iTunes, Amazon, and online retailing the brick and mortar there are less record stores than ever. Independent record stores have been closing for years and still continue to close.
Not only do independent record stores have to compete with the internet, but the big box stores carry music too. Target, Borders, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart and K-Mart, have music sections, albeit only compact discs, though much more limited in overall scope than in years past. Out of these stores only Best Buy carries vinyl, but only in very small selection and quantities.
Here's a list of you local independent record stores -
Apop Records - St. Louis
CD Reunion - St. Charles
CD Warehouse - South County
Euclid Records - Webster Groves
Phono Mode - St. Louis
Record Exchange - St. Louis
Slackers - 10 St. Louis Metro Area locations
Vintage Vinyl - University City
Then, there's the semi-monthly St. Louis Record Collector's Show held in South St. Louis bringing dealers from in town and out of town focused on mostly vinyl LP's and 45 RPM records, but also selling compact discs and DVD's. Plus, there are tons of various online retailers ready to sell you vinyl and ship it directly to your door.
However, you can also find some diamonds in the rough in places like antique malls like I do on a regular basis. You have to be a bit more careful with these to look them over and do your research, but you may still find some nice pieces. Further, there is a monthly flea marke at the St. Clair County Fairgrounds, Belleville, IL.
Finally, you can search sites like Craigslist, ebay, or etsy for some finds. Many folks are nice here, but some don't know anything about the worth of records and could be overcharging wildly so be careful.
St. Louis is lucky to have some great independent record stores to supply more than just "hit" tunes to the music loving public. Get out there and buy some music people! Please leave some comments if you know of some other local outlets.