All these horror stories of record shop owners reminds of those shops where
folks were outstandlingy king and generou. Gryphon Records and its stellar
manger, Raymond Donnell, was everything a insecure, unknowledgeale and poor
record enthusiast could have asked for. We met by telephone back in the
mid-80's when I was starting my serious record collecting (and music study)
and Raymond became a very great friend and mentor. Long before the
internet, I would get a phone calll or a post card saying "This just in and
I thought you might like it" and I usually did. When I moved rather
precariously to NYC in the late 80's and had to sell of half of my
Furtwangler collection Raymond was there to help. Unfortunatey he passed
away a couple of years ago (I have since moved from NYC and had only been
spottily in touch). Also helpful and memorable was Albert ten Brook (I
think) who was once at Academy and then later had his own business called A
Classical Record. He too now is dead. The folks at the long-gone Rose's
Records in Chicago were always kind and helpful as were, and still are, the
folks at Princeton Record Exchange.
So some nice memories amid the shoulder-crunching ouches I recall.
On Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 5:36 PM, Don Tait <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I hope this gets posted all right. I seem to have problems about doing
> that. But I mean well.
> The message about Dayton's in NYC rings a bell for me. I remember being
> in Manhattan in 1974/5. A friend took me to Dayton's and other stores.
> Wasn't there also Darton's? And the Seventh Avenue Record Exchange. A
> shop with all of the records on shelves behind the counter. I was
> eager to get Victor LM-1760, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Milstein,
> Munch, and the BSO. A short-lived LP, even then long out of print. The
> proprietor had one and pulled it off the shelf. After some conversation he
> "$20.00." I was a penurious kid then, and had to say no. (I later found a
> copy for much less.)
> I was told later that the owner of the store had been murdered by some
> robber who came in during the day and instead of just letting him get away,
> the owner chased him out onto Seventh Avenue, with which the robber shot
> him to death.
> I remember that his widow went on with the Seventh Avenue Record
> Exchange for a while thereafter. My friend and I were in NYC then and old
> LPs came
> up at Ludus Tonalis. Someone said, referring to the Seventh Avenue widow,
> "have you checked with the spider lady?"
> Steve Smolian and perhaps others will know the entire, correct stories.
> Don Tait
> Back in the late 70s, Dayton's in NY could be even worse. You could browse
> but all the choice items were behind the counter. When I asked if they had
> such-and-such a record, the salesman glared at me and said, "It's going to
> be at least $25 if it's behind the counter. Are you prepared to spend that
> much to make it worthwhile for me to get up and look?" I said forget it and
> left. Another time, I overheard a customer calling on the phone asking for
> Marc Blitzstein's opera, REGINA. The same salesman yelled, "You couldn't
> afford it!" and slammed the phone down. They went out of business soon
> Dave Weiner
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michael Biel
> Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 5:50 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] music man murray record collection & Murray
> Gershenz, music collector extraordinaire, is parting with his entire music
> On 8/20/2010 10:57 AM, David Seubert wrote:
> > The Record Collector is owned by Sanders Chase. I've only met him once
> > so I will refrain from commenting on my impressions of his character,
> > but there are plenty of people on Yelp who have no shame about such
> > things.
> > http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-record-collector-los-angeles
> > David Seubert
> And a further reference from one of the writers to this page.
> I'm glad this discussion came up, because after seeing his little spot
> on the Modern Marvels Retro-tech program I was going to suggest to Cary
> that perhaps a panel on LA area record stores like this one be done at
> ARSC. On the program he did do rants exactly like the web comments
> describe, but I didn't realize that this rant was repeated for every
> customer!!! When a store's stock is too big, when it starts to be a
> collection rather than store stock, it usually means that the owner
> doesn;t really want to sell and thus the prices are too high. He has
> been in business since 1974 and has been in this expensive location
> since 1999 so he must sell SOMETHING. I think it should be illegal for
> a store to have unpriced merchandise as a policy. Sure with a large
> stock there might be unmarked items, and certainly there are things
> which become more valuable over time, but to NEVER mark a price on
> merchandise should be illegal. He looks like he would size you up to
> see what you could be convinced to pay, but also looks like the kind of
> guy who would not give someone a break and might get his jollies by
> having stuff that you saps can't afford.
> I am trying to think of what I could ask for to get his scent off of my
> trail, but I know that is I ask for some items I REALLY do want, the
> price will now double. I do have three strong specific wants, and I
> suppose I could as for a similar item on the hopes that maybe the ones I
> want might be in the same bin.
> I've encountered stores like this in the past -- no browsing, must state
> specific wants. What they don't understand is that if I ask for a
> specific record either they have it or not, If they have it I buy ONE
> record. If the don't I buy NONE. If I browse I probably buy dozens.
> First time was in NYC in the 60s when I was in high school or college.
> It may have been Meltzer';s shop in midtown. When challenged I said
> "Danny Kaye The Court Jester on Decca." It was already rare and I DID
> want it. "Got it" he said and he disappeared in the back. I browsed
> for a minute and he came back with it. I started to look at the disc
> and he said "No need to take it out, it's in perfect shape." "How
> much?" "Five bucks." I took out the cash and then walked out with just
> one record. I might have bought more. And I never bothered to
> retturn. The other time it hapopened was in Chicago, on the North Side,
> in a store I remember having to walk down a few steps to. It was a
> Saturday, place was empty. "No browsing. What you want?" I gave him
> a title. "Nope." Gave him another. "Nope." I started to browse
> again. "No browsing." I walked with no records. I can think of very
> few instances when THAT happens!
> I'll probably spend my record buying time during ARSC LA in Amoeba. Leah
> found some great stuff there in just the one hour before they closed.
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
> On Aug 18, 2010, at 1:07 PM, Rod Smear wrote:
> >> Yes, I know of him. He's on Melrose now. Same old.
> >> rod smear
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> >> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Cary Ginell
> >> Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 11:53 AM
> >> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] music man murray record collection & Murray
> >> Gershenz, music collector extraordinaire, is parting with his entire
> >> music library.
> >> I remember the store on Highland. I think it was called The Record
> >> Collector. It was chiefly classical records, and a good supply of it
> >> at that. Not the bottom-of-the-barrel stuff that Murray housed. The
> >> Highland shop did have a few 10-inch jazz and folk LPs, which I
> >> scarfed up at a decent price because the snob who ran the place
> >> looked down his nose at them. It was like in the Three Stooges short
> >> where Moe, Larry, and Curly are thumbing through a stack of hundred
> >> dollar bills: $100, 200, 300, 400, 500, oh! here's a five," and they
> >> toss it away.
> >> Cary Ginell
> >>> Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 13:22:09 -0500
> >>> From: [log in to unmask]
> >>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] music man murray record collection & Murray
> >>> Gershenz, music collector extraordinaire, is parting with his entire
> >>> music library.
> >>> To: [log in to unmask]
> >>> I recall the excitement when first moved to LA at the prospect of
> >>> going to
> >>> Murray's. Then I went. Dashed hopes. Only to be outdone by the music
> >>> shop
> >>> on Highland at Santa Monica, with a shopkeeper even more arrogant than
> >>> Murray. I hate to see record (and book) shops close but when their
> >>> "owner"
> >>> behaves as these folks have, give me the internet any day.
> >>> Alan Carrie
> >>> On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 12:23 PM, Cary Ginell <[log in to unmask]>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>> The point differentiating "stock" from "collection" is well-taken
> >>>> in this
> >>>> case. To my knowledge, Murray as never been anything but a
> >>>> shopkeeper. He
> >>>> has no private collection to my knowledge and really isn't all that
> >>>> concerned with the finer points of discographical research as are
> >>>> serious
> >>>> collectors. He never worked hard to make his a better business. He
> >>>> just
> >>>> opened his doors and expected to sell his schlock for whatever
> >>>> ridiculous
> >>>> prices he posted on them. He has been reviled in L.A. for decades
> >>>> as being a
> >>>> grumpy, mean, brusque, and difficult person. The last time I
> >>>> visited his
> >>>> shop was maybe 25-30 years ago, when it was on Santa Monica Blvd. near
> >>>> Western, a bad part of town even then. What he's got now is most
> >>>> likely the
> >>>> same stuff, only rifled through even further. There may be some
> >>>> choice items
> >>>> that he set aside (some of which he has displayed during
> >>>> interviews), but I
> >>>> can almost guarantee that they are a miniscule percentage of his
> >>>> holdings
> >>>> and certainly not representative of all that is there. If his
> >>>> business were
> >>>> doing well, he wouldn't need to find a new profession at his
> >>>> advanced age.
> >>>> He could have just dumped what was left and gone off to some island in
> >>>> blissful retirement. But creating a new image of himself as a
> >>>> "lovable old
> >>>> coot" on TV shows is easier for him and probably earns him a much
> >>>> better
> >>>> income than selling records. If these records end up in a land fill
> >>>> somewhere, they probably won't be missed.
> >>>> Cary Ginell