My first love affair with a record store was with Odyssey Records on Cannery Row in Monterey. It was right next door to Doc Ricketts place, the man made famous by the John Steinbeck novel about the legendary Row. I’ve always been a big Steinbeck fan, and I loved hanging out around Cannery Row. I had dancing classes at a studio that’s now an expensive fish house called The Sardine Factory in the area for most of grade school. As a result, I knew Cannery Row pretty well. I also knew the studios of KMBY were in the Bear Flag Building where Flora’s whorehouse really was. That’s where my first love of radio started, but that’s another story.
In my little hometown, you could walk from my house to Cannery Row in less than an hour, so that was a common destination for me. It was rich in history and smells. There was a coffee roaster sort of near Doc’s place, a candy store, a tea house, an import place, and the Outrigger which was a fancy place that my folks would take me as a kid. The smell of the working canneries, which my mother described to me when Monterey Bay was full of sardines, was no longer there. There was just the smell of the ocean and the things that lived in it. Odyssey Records had a smell that I loved wafting out the door…incense.
I remember that I first noticed Odyssey when John and Yoko’s “Two Virgins” album was released. The reason I remember it clearly was because they were both naked on the cover, and Odyssey had the poster with all their parts proudly displayed in the store window. I stepped into a world that I loved. The smell of incense, really great music on the big speakers, racks and racks of dreamy vinyl, and the walls covered with posters. There was a black light room for the special posters painted in Day-Glo and I bought The Endless Summer poster there. I wish I still had that poster because when I met the artist, Jon Van Hamersveld, he told me that the original run of those were worth pretty good money. Plus, he could have signed it for me.
So, I spent many hours wrapped in the womb of Odyssey, discovering music, and buying what I could with my babysitting money.
When I moved to Portland in 1976, I found Music Millennium. The store had the same vibe as my beloved Odyssey, and the smell was pretty much the same. Incense, candles, paraphernalia, posters, t-shirts, stickers and lots of lovely vinyl. Odyssey is no longer on Cannery Row. The old location is now part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but Music Millennium is still around at the original location of SE 32nd and Burnside. Thank God for Terry Currier for keeping the banner flying high! Thank God Portland is weird and proud of it. Thank God we can actually celebrate National Record Store Day this Saturday, April 20th, at an actual independent record store that has been around since 1969 serving the needs of Portland’s music fanatics.
Plan on making a visit to the store this week. You don’t have to wait until Saturday, but if you do, you’ll get in on some freebies, and coffee and muffins if you wait in line before the store opens at 8am. While you’re there, register for the KGON prize pack: Doors CD’s, John Densmore’s new book, and a secured place at the front of the line to get the book signed in May when he visits the store!
In fact, I think I’ll head there now. Just because I enjoy being there, and I know I’ll find something I can’t possibly live without.
Whenever I'm in the old hood of buena park, ca., I purposely patronize the only small record store there or anywhere down there that i'm aware of -as it is always a pleasant surprise to see the place still operating. I want them to succeed, as so many small time record stores are not making it.
Music Millennium my favorite record store
Ive been going there for years from back in the day when everything was on vinyl to now for CD's. Get them new or used for cheap. Great place, and its on the East side of Portland my side of town.
Afraid they're a thing of the past, searching through the 45's quickly for a song you just heard on the radio or maybe memorized by the 1000th time you heard it on the radio, paying up your hard earned 75cents-from babysitting for 50cents an hour. I never thought I'd live to hear myself sound like Grandma and Grandpa about how things changed, but this is one thats probably LOST on my Grandkids, what? Work for 50 cents an hour? record? whats that? Album, vinyl? what? The could use a computer before they were potty trained. Boy am I dumb.
I discovered so many great albums and artist just from browsing at the record store. Once in a while you'd find a great collectable as well. It's just not the same with on-line retailers.
While growing up in Orange County, southern California, there was a not so well known but way-cool record store on the corner of Beach and Ball. Beggars Banquet. And if you slipped past the Tapestry curtain into the back room, you were greeted by hundreds of Bootleg albums. Yes, those were the days...