I've been collecting music for well over 30 years. Whenever, I have gone to the local music store, I feel like I'm on a quest. Sort of like Captain Kirk on his "5 year mission to seek out new life, new civilizations" or Indiana Jones on his endless quest for archaeological treasures.
In my case, its to find that special sound. I think for music collectors, there is something special about finding, what I call the X-factor sound. You know, that next great musical recording, thats going to blow your mind and become something important in your life. Sometimes the search for that sound can be almost as satisfying as actually finding it. For many this has lead to spending countless hours in record stores. I think everyone, who is in anyway dedicated to collecting music has tucked into their memory, that special record store that in some way is important to them.
Thats' why the small coffee table book, "Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again" by Garry Calamar and Phil Gallo is such a treat. It is a detailed look at those special places, where music collectors haunt. It gives a detailed, well written history of the record shop industry. This includes both the major chains (Tower Records, Sam Goody's Etc.) as well as some of the more famous Independant shops (Bleeker Bob's, Amoeba). But more important this book emphasizes and talks about the atmosphere and community feeling, that any good record store fosters. This is a relaxed atmosphere, where you can just zone-out, search through the stacks of music for hours or just shoot the breeze and talk music with the owner, store staff or other customers. You can't get that doing a download on your home computer.
The book is well laid out and features loads of interesting photos (my favorite is a shot of Elvis Costello & Jerry Garcia giving an in-store concert together). Whats more, throughout the book are all sorts of interesting little sidebars, which feature a variety of interesting topics, anecdotal stories, lists and quotes from musicians and people in the industry.
This book is a must for anyone, who has the urge to collect. I loved every minute going through it. Highly recommended!