to when record stores formed the center of the hip culture universe.
Mixed in with the top-notch Sixties artists were some unexpected Eighties pop platters. Priced well, copies of records from Split Enz, Blondie, Heaven 17, and the Motels found new homes.
Back in the car, it was time to seek out the final destination of the day. Across town waited the one big record store on the list that was open until midnight. Saturday evening on Thames Street draws Baltimore's in crowd. Men and women dressed to the nines eschewed coats despite the particularly cold evening so as not to cover their best duds. With so many people parading across the cobblestone road, the nearest parking space was three blocks away.
Between Duda's Tavern and The Horse You Rode In On Saloon, The Sound Garden, in business almost 20 years, offers a wide selection of CDs. Stretching deep into the building, well-organized CDs in all genres are available for casual perusal. The college-town staff, complete with the requisite piercings and black nail polish, provide the kind of aloof attitude you would expect from such a store. If vinyl was the medium of choice--and it was--the place to be was the front section.
Up there, the room is filled with numerous modern vinyl releases. Vinyl records have been the odd highlight in an otherwise dour music industry, but annual national sales of just over one million records keep the discs hard to find. At The Sound Garden, the selection of high-quality records was impressive. The hard-core vinyl-phile will find a rare treasure here.
As the day came to an end, the Juke's headlights pointed north on I-83 and Baltimore faded in the distance. A trunkful of records and CDs, rumbling bellies, and a gas tank begging for a refill were the remnants from a successfully productive day with a singular focus. The anticipation of spinning the black circles and dropping the needle pushes the pair homeward.
We remember so many events by the music that's playing. A road trip with a carload of friends or family belting out songs. Dad at the family piano tinkling out a tune on the ivories. The song playing on your first date, your first dance, or your first kiss. A great music collection helps keep those memories fresh. And stumbling across a great find in an independent record store can be like pulling a long-forgotten love note or photo out of a drawer. I remember when...