FREDFLIX: more great record commercials of the past

Remember all those music collections where the announcer would say “So you Don’t forget, mail before midnight tomorrow!” at the end? Well a lot of these fall into that category! Once again from the marvelous archives from FredFlix over at YouTube – his collection is awesome and mindblowing, and this is no exception!

A Visit to BookSmith MusicSmith, Orleans MA

Waaaay back in September 2016, during our annual vacation on Cape Cod, we took a trip out to Orleans to visit what’s touted on their Facebook page as the “largest independent book and music store on Cape Cod”. It was quite a ride on the bus – nearly 2.5 hours from Hyannis because of the constant stops – but we finally made it to BookSmith MusicSmith.

Nestled away in the Orleans Marketplace (which looks a lot larger and less a strip mall when looking at their website), this homey little store was one of those delights you have to search out on your travels.

I had a nice discussion with the clerk on duty (I’m terribly sorry, but I didn’t get his name) and he told me that the store had originally been part of the BookSmith chain in MA (the only one left is Brookline Booksmith in Coolidge Corner), and when the original owners sold off the store, they had elected to keep the name. He also generously said we could snap a few photos of the place as well…here’s the sign out in front of the shopping plaza…

Here’s the entrance…that’s Kim coming out the door…

They have a great little room devoted to used vinyl and cassettes…oh MAN I could have spent all day in here…they had a TON of 45s…

Their main floor is also quite impressive…great selection of CDs to choose from…

And from another angle…

and the bookstore section was pretty good too…excuse my fat finger on the lens, please…

All in all, it was a fun trip out there – although it took a while to get out to Orleans, which is about 3/5ths of the way out to the outer edge of the Cape, the trip down was beautiful. The roads are surrounded with trees and fields, with a few houses and businesses dotted along the way. The trip back was also nice, but we had to wait in the hot sun for about 30 minutes to catch the bus home – unfortunately there were no trees in the immediate area. We also found another independent record store across the street from the shopping center, a place called “Instant Karma” but alas we didn’t get a chance to go in and peruse a bit…we’ll have to do that another time.

Thanks to BookSmith MusicSmith for agreeing to let us feature you – we loved the store, which is a vital link for music and books in the outer Cape! You can also check out their Facebook here!


A Visit To Spinnakers, Hyannis MA

spinnaker 01We’ve spent the past week vacationing on Cape Cod, and yesterday, I finally found the time to drop by Spinnaker CD, an independent record store in Hyannis. I first fell for the store when we first visited it two years ago; it’s an “old school” record store, with half the music area filled with vinyl, the other half with CDs. And I wish I had the time and money to spend a whole day perusing the incredible amount of stock they have. Because we’re on vacation, I didn’t have time to actually pick up any music, althougspinnaker 02h I did pick up the latest season of “Supernatural” on DVD for Kim, and some newly issued collector figures from the classic 1985 film “The Karate Kid“. But I asked if we could feature them, and they said “Sure!”

When you first walk in, there is a huge area with tee shirts, and posters, and the long checkout counter, and a wall of DVDs. The tee shirt selection, as you can see in the shot on the right, is HUGE, and the posters, which are out of the shot, are in a large bin to the left and behind the picture. There’s also used CD’s along the leftmost wall running the length of the room divider. The photo is standing with the door to my right in back of me. Turn to your left from the photo above, and you enter Spinnaker’s main music area. And it’s a GLORIOUS sight. I could (and plan to someday) spend HOURS in this place going through boxes and boxes of 45s that are under the two left most bins – it is a treasure trove filled with literally THOUSANDS of old 45s waiting to be mined for that one streak of gold. spinnaker 03As you enter the second room, on your left is a selection of turntables, most of them manufactured with the annual Record Store Day in mind. Almost all of them have a USB port cable, to make it easier to digitize your vinyl collection. And to the right of the door is the CD area, filled with current cds, all stored in longbox-style anti-theft devices to fit the LP racks. And still more teeshirts are hung above as well. In the distance, along the back wall, are several racks holding posters.

And then on the other side in the far aisle….oh glory be!…there’s a FULL WALL of nothing but vinyl, mostly old but some new, and a rack on the front wall with new vinyl singles, most of them look to be imported. And some spinnaker 04on the inside of the aisle as well. This is where I take one exception with the store – they’ve used cut down old 45s as dividers, attaching them to the plastic dividers to divide the sale vinyl by letter. I HATE it when stores use old records like this…but admittedly I checked the titles on some of them and I doubt anyone would actually be looking for them…but you never know…naughty Spinnaker…heh heh…I have to admit, though, it does make a very cool looking display; didn’t think to get a shot of it, and didn’t want to get greedy with photos, either…they were generous enough to let me take a few photos and I didn’t want to overdo things. I also didn’t get much of the vinyl display on the above shot, sorry…

As I noted above, I could easily spend HOURS, possibly even DAYS perusing the box after box of 45s they have stashed under both sides of the far aisle.  I love albums, but I’ve always been partial to 45s and this place…well, it’s like catnip to me. I’ve decided that sometime next spring, when I can save up some money and find a day when I can make the 90 minute bus trip up and back from South Station in Boston and have no other luggage to bring, I’m going to come down and spend the entire day mining this store for some gold.

Thank you to the staff at Spinnaker CD for generously allowing me to chat with them for a moment and grab some quick photos; maybe when I go down for my exclusive shopping trip, I can take a few more…

If you want to check it out, Spinnaker CD is at 596 Main Street in Hyannis MA; their bag says they do “new and used CDs – DVDs and Vinyl – Tee Shirts – Posters and Pop Culture” and I can attest to all of those…can’t wait to come back again…:-)

The Rack Jobber Rumble

RACKFrom Business Dictionary:

Rack Jobber: Wholesaler that provides racks of merchandise for retail locations and split the profits obtained from sales between the two parties.

Many of the smaller stores I frequented as a child and teenager had record bins serviced by “rack jobbers”. The store wanted to sell records but didn’t want the hassle of doing the ordering and inventory themselves, so they hired a third party vendor to do it.

When I was a grade schooler, we lived in the small berg of Utica, Ohio, population about 2000. It was situated at the intersection of US Route 62 and State Route 13, near the Licking/Knox county line, exactly 13 miles away from the two local mid-sized cities and county seats – Newark (county seat of Licking County) was 13 miles south, Mount Vernon (county seat of Knox county) 13 miles north. We were 33 miles east of Reynoldsburg and Whitehall, then the easternmost suburbs of Columbus, the state capital.  Two places in Utica sold records: the local Ben Franklin store had a bin for a few albums and 45s; Ritchie’s Ice Cream Shop, which was a grungy but family friendly old-fashioned malt shop-type of place, had a few 45s and a selection of children’s’ records (yeah, I know…it’s weird). They even had old-fashioned “listening booths” in the back that had been closed and used for storage by 1970, so they obviously had at one time sold far more records than you would think.

When I was a teenager, home was Harrington, Washington, population 579 (it has since dropped below the 500 mark). No one in the town sold “real” records, though the drug store had a small selection of K-Tel compilation albums and a few 8-Track tapes (what’s THAT, daddy?) from about 1977 on. To get current stuff, you had to hit the small rack-jobber units at the drug store in Davenport (13 miles north…what is it with this 13 mile shit, anyway?) or one of the drug stores in Ritzville, 28 miles south.

And the Variety Mart.  Ye gods, the Variety Mart.

The Variety Mart in Ritzville was this odd little store right downtown that sold…well, a variety of things, hence the term “variety store”. They were a “general store” type of place. Garden seeds? They had it. Lawn furniture? Sure, right out back. Knick knacks for your living room tableau? In the glass case over there. Toys for your tot? In the ‘toy city’ aisle.  Ceramic garden gnomes? Try out with the lawn chairs. A hot plate? Definitely. over with the kitchen appliances.

And records. They had one small bin. But they kept it stocked with the latest singles and most of the current albums as well. It was right next to the checkout counter. And I gave them a lot of my record business – at least for 45s –  from the time I was a freshman until junior year, after our car broke down.

But it wasn’t necessarily the selection at these two places that always intrigued me. It was the labeling.

Rack Jobbers usually put a cardboard or plastic divider behind each 45 with a name and artist so you knew what you were buying. And presumably so they could keep track of what they were putting in each store. But not all of them were perfect, and some of them obviously weren’t paying the closest of attention, leading to title cards like these (ALL of these were actual title cards, I SWEAR…complete with their goofs…and if you can’t figure these out, shame shame SHAME on you, heh heh):

If I Were Your Wowman” by Gladys Night and the Pipes

The Rapture” by Blondie (and conversely, “Blondie” by The Rapture)

Samantha Sang” by The Emotions (more on this one in a mo…)

Boogier Wonderland” by Earth Wine And Fire

The Bells” By Stay Awhile

Escape the Pina Colada” by Ruben Homes

I could go on and on but you get the idea, I’m sure… half the fun shopping these places was finding these gems. Even as a small budding record collector, I knew my stuff – and this kind of error, well it WAS sort of annoying as hell to me, your average 8 and 15 year old respectively.

But….They were also FUNNY AS HELL.

Sometimes it was made worse  by the fact that the rack jobber had printed labels with mistakes on them, usually printed on the kind of label placed in jukeboxes of the day. Handwritten errors (“If I Were Your Wowman“) were forgivable, and probably only in that one location; printed ones, like “Samantha Sang” by The Emotions, were UNFORGIVABLE. Because it meant that the jobber had placed the same wrong pre-printed card in all of his accounts. I saw that one at Ritzville’s Variety Mart, and even in the large Pay N Save stores in two completely opposite locations – Spokane (where I usually shopped) and Bellevue (a suburb of Seattle where I was visiting my aunt).

Hey Mr. Rack Jobber…I know your job probably drives you nuts. But the song in question wasn’t some obscure title – it was a friggin’ top 5 hit written by Barry Gibb, for pete’s sake. And all over the radio, played so much I heard it at least 8-10 times a day. It was “Emotion” by Samantha Sang, not the other way around. For pete’s sake, PAY ATTENTION. Dumbass.

The job of the rack jobber these days is to keep places like your local CVS stocked in current cheap CD compilations and low priced hit DVDs. But back in the day, they helped supply me with some much needed music. And quite a few chuckles along the way…”Samantha Sang” by “The Emotions”….REALLY?  Harf HARF HARF!!