Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Baltimore Record Shops - 40 Years Ago

Baltimore has had a long, rich history of record shops.
40 years ago, the city region had over 15 stores selling records. Here's how they were described in a city guide called Bawlamer: An Informal Guide To A Livelier Baltimore from 1974, published by the Citizens Planning and Housing Association.

Athenaikon Music Center (4717 Eastern Ave.)
Greek records, periodicals, and cookbooks. A must for budding belly dancers.

Downtown Sounds (529 N. Howard St.)
In the heart of downtown shopping district. Records and tapes. The sounds were from Broadway to soul.

For The Record, Inc. (Howard & Fayette St., 217 E. Baltimore St., Reisterstown Road Plaza)
Baltimore's discount record shop. Sales weekly, largest collection of contemporary records. Excellent stock of standards, folk, classical, and "old rock". The staff was knowledgeable and helpful in all areas.

Italia Kanta (3512 E. Lombard St. )
A converted rowhouse in the heart of Highlandtown, this store was the place to go for imported Italian recordings. Many selections in opera, regional music, classical, etc. Gifts for your Italian Aunt Sophie could be found here, too.

Kentrikon Music Store (428 S. Oldham St. off Eastern Ave.)
Greek records, worry beads, and books.

King's (817 W. 36th St.)
This hole-in-the-wall shop in the Hampden shopping district specialized in bluegrass, country/western and gospel. A helpful and garrulous proprietor would guide you through the racks. You'd have to look carefully - the store had no sign.

Kozy Korner Record Shop (1723 N. Wolfe St.)
An eastside Baltimore neighborhood record shop, KK offered selections in soul, jazz, and rock. Posters and accessories available.

Music Liberated (210 W. Saratoga St., 1037 Light St.)
Boulder-sized contemporary rock collection. Discount prices on some records and tapes. One of the few all-record shops with a branch in South Baltimore.

Out-Of-Print Record Locators (6114 Gist Ave.)
Want the original recording of Pat Boone's "Love Letters in the Sand", or Mitzi Gaynor's first LP, or how about Doc Watson's first 33 1/3 waxing? Out-of-Print Record Locators may have had it, or, if not, they would have probably found it through their nationwide network of contact. Specialized in original Broadway musical soundtracks, jazz, folk, and "personality" records (don't call, however, for rock, classical or opera).

Radio Center (3118 Greenmount Ave.)
In Waverly's large shopping district, Radio Center offered a fairly large collection of LP's and tapes. Very large numbers of 45 offerings. One whole section of the store was also devoted to sales of hi-fi equipment and accessories.

Record And Tape Collector (409 W. Cold Spring Ln., and other locations in Bel Air, Towson, and Dundalk)
Excellent selection of records in all categories; good place to go for hard-to-find waxings. Sales personnel especially helpful and knowledgeable - they would call their other shops to track down what you want and would order.

Record Masters (711 W. 40th St., The Rotunda)
Besides a good variety of American contemporary, standard, etc., there was a large selection of imported labels.

Soul World (300 N. Eutaw St.)
Vast selection of soul from the "old" sounds of Motown and Philadelphia to the latest releases of black artists. Prices are competitive.

Wollman's (233 S. Broadway.)
A small 33 1/3 LP collection, but a big 45 collection, Wollman's also featured lights, posters, stereo equipment and clock radios. Buy your toaster here, too. To find Wollman's on the Broadway strop, follow the noise pollution emanating from the crackling loud speaker.

Yeager's Music Stores (3300 Eastern Ave.)
For the musically inclined, Yeager's had it all: instruments, sheet music, music books, records, parts and accessories.

Almost all of these are gone now (with the exception of Athenaikon) but a couple stores did make it into the 21st century.

How many Baltimore record stores have you visited recently?

You can find an interesting story about a young late-60s era psychedelic band from Dundalk that involves a few old Baltmore-area shops/hangouts here.

Note: The above descriptions are as they appeared in the Bawlamer guide, except I removed the phone numbers and in some cases I changed the verb tense in the descriptions to past tense lest someone on the internet stumble upon this list and think it's a current Baltimore record shop directory and not a glimpse into Baltimore's record scene 40 years ago. Also, I didn't include a listing for Ted's Musician Shop since it wasn't a record shop.

The Radio Center sign image was taken from Norm's Neon Sign Garden.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Baltimore Bookstores - 40 Years Ago

Over the years, Baltimore has seen a lot of bookstores come and go.
40 years ago, the city region had over 25 booksellers. Here's how they were described in a city guide called Bawlamer: An Informal Guide To A Livelier Baltimore from 1974, published by the Citizens Planning and Housing Association.

Aquarian Age Bookstore (813 N. Charles St.)
As the name would indicate, offered selections in mind-consciousness-body expansion, etc.

Baltimore Museum Of Art (Art Museum Drive)
Wide selection of art-related books, both hardbound and paperback.

The Black Book (2607 W. North Ave.)
Carried a large collection of black culture, black history, and related material. Offered fiction and non-fiction, children and adults sections.

Book Fair (3121 St. Paul St.)
If you were worn out from rummaging through uncatalogued, dust-laden stacks, this neat, well-stocked, well-organized shop may have been just what you were after.

Bookyard (817 S. Broadway)
If you were ready for dust again, the Bookyard offered friendly rummaging for second hand books, both hardbound and paperback.

Cokesbury (516 N. Charles St.)
From Bibles to best-sellers, a fairly wide selection of something to please everyone.

Centre Book Store (805 N. Howard St.)
Another place where the search through the stacks was half the fun. Mostly old hardbacks at reduced prices, featuring a large collection of Marylandia items.

Curlander Law Book  Co. (525 N. Charles St.)
They pleaded "Noli Contendere" to the charge of having the best selection of legal books in town.

Doubleday Bookstore (6315 York Rd.)
Not exotic, but a good solid selection of bestsellers, hardbound and paperback.

John Gach Bookshop (3322 Greenmount Ave.)
Probably the best of Baltimore's second hand bookstores. Well-lighted, well-catalogued, and reasonably priced, it offered a wide selection of second hand books, out of print specialties and some rare finds. For the true connoisseur with plenty of money, Gach offered a separate specialized book service with an exciting rare book collection just down the street.

Gordon's Booksellers (110 E. Baltimore St.)
Offered a full range of hardbound and paperback books. Frequent sale days provided a nice lunchtime outlet for those working in the downtown area.

Johns Hopkins Bookstore (Charles & 34th St.)

Maryland Institute Bookstore (Mt. Royal Ave. & Dolphin St.)
You don't have to be a student to cash in on discounts offered here. Several visits to this rotating selection of all types of art books could yield a prize. Don't have something specific in mind.

New Era Bookshop (408 Park Ave.)
The home of leftist literature in Baltimore. A good and varied selection in that area, and a fun place to browse.

Newman Book Store (212 N. Liberty St.)
If religious biographies and histories and volumes in theology and philosophy were your thing, this was a spot you shouldn't miss.

Peabody Bookshop & Beer Stube (913 N. Charles St.)
Cold beer and old books under one roof take you back to Mencken land, what many would consider to be the best of two worlds.

Pern's Hebrew Book And Gift Shop (7012 Reisterstown Rd.)
If you couldn't find it at Pern's, you could hop back in your car and try your luck at Central Hebrew Book Store (228 Reisterstown Rd.).

Remington's (Charles & Mulberry St., and 2 other locations)
Generations of Baltimoreans bought books at Remington's for the past sixty-six years. It continued to offer a large selection of popular sellers, classics and an extensive collection of Marylandia.

Schill's Book Shop (208 W. Franklin St.)
One of Baltimore's older newstand-bookshops which offered a good variety of newspapers and magazines.

Abe Sherman's Bookshop (Park Ave. & Mulberry St.)
Selection of out-of-town and out-of-country newspapers, and a wide-ranging magazine collection. An interesting offering of the expected and unexpected in the paperback field. Was a Baltimore landmark for years.

The Thirty-First Street Shop (8 Alleghany Ave. Towson)
Dealt primarily in second hand and rare editions, this shop contained over 20,000 volumes at one count. Appraisal services were also available. While looking at books, check out the selection of prints and paintings.

The Thirty-First Street Shop (425 E. 31st St.)
This was a new find for Baltimoreans, featuring an excellent selection of children's books and women's literature and magazines. Also had an interesting collection of plant, gardening and cookbooks with a natural bent, and some crafts and plants too.

Towson State Book Shop (York Rd. Towson)

A Women's Bookstore In Baltimore (12 W. 25th St.)
As its name would indicate, this bookstore specialized in literature by and for women.
Of these bookstores, the only ones that still exist in any kind of form today are ones associated with institutions.

The Baltimore Museum of Art still has a gift shop. And the Maryland Institute Bookstore and Towson State (now Towson University) Book Shop still exist. And there is a chain of Christian bookstores (affiliated with the United Methodist Church) called Cokesbury that has a location in Meadows Shopping Center  (Security Blvd). The Johns Hopkins Bookstore is now a Barnes & Noble.

But that's it. All the rest are gone. Lost to the ages.

However, you can find some great stories about them here.

Note: The above descriptions are as they appeared in the Bawlamer guide, except I removed the phone numbers and in some cases I changed the verb tense in the descriptions to past tense lest someone on the internet stumble upon this list and think it's a current Baltimore bookstore directory and not a glimpse into Baltimore's bookselling scene 40 years ago. I also omitted Goodwill from Bawlamer's list because I don't consider it a bookstore.

Baltimore has  a long history of great bookstores. How many Baltimore bookstores can you name?

Images: both are of  The Peabody Bookshop & Beer Stube.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Baltozine Round-Up: Post Typography, Banjo Pete, Diner, and more

The Baltozine Roundup is our regular blog feature wherein we take a look at what national periodicals are saying about Baltimore-area arts, events, people, and places.

In Fretboard Journal (#25), Peter Szego's article "Building A New Old Banjo" talks to local banjo makers Kevin Enoch and Banjo Pete Ross.
"And while Enoch became best known for his interpretations of banjos from this historic period [turn of the 20th century], in time he researched earlier styles of construction. These days he's equally known for his Dobson-style banjos, which are based on the instruments built by the Dobson clan in the 1870s. Enoch's assistant, Pete Ross, is something of a banjo time-traveler himself. Under the name Jubilee Banjos, Ross crafts gourd banjos based on instruments played by enslaved Africans in the Americas as early as the late 17th century."

The new issue of Print Magazine (#66.4) has a feature called "Killing Time", where they talk to different designers about their favorite projects that never saw the light of day, and Baltimore design team Post Typography is included.
"Even though we alluded to the income gap by splitting the price stickers between low-cost 'clearance' prices and big-ticket items, the main focus of the illustration is consumer spending. (Another drawback is that it might confuse any Time readers who had failed geography class.)"

The new issue of Lucky Peach (#4) is just chock full o' Baltimore goodness. There's a lengthy consideration of Barry Levinson's classic film Diner, including a long piece, "At The Diner" by Brian Koppelman.
"The roast-beef sandwich scene is a synecdoche for male friendship. The whole movie is, really. When guys are afraid to get married, afraid to have kids, afraid to leave their neighborhoods - this is what they're really afraid of losing: the ability to stay up - until morning if they want to - arguing over who gets to eat the second half of a roast-beef sandwich. Because the scene is, at its core, about how much these guys, for all the insults they hurl, love one another. And how much they need to know that no matter what else happens in their days, they can always find each other at night. At the diner."
In "Anthony Bourdain and Elvis Mitchell Eat The Movies", the two discuss the merits of Levinson's film.
BOURDAIN: It was a very well-made movie and I absolutely agree that it's an important movie. I think Vanity Fair was right that Reservoir Dogs would have been a very different picture without this, and certainly there wouldn't have been a Seinfeld. ...

MITCHELL: ... I think one of the greatest scenes in movies of the eighties is the scene in Diner where Daniel Stern and Ellen Barkin are husband and wife, and they're walking in a group after they've seen a movie. One of the guys brings up someone's name, and Ellen Barkin goes, "Who's that?" and Daniel Stern refuses to even pay attention to her. That was such a powerful moment to me. ...
Brooks Headley (of Universal Order of Armageddon)  makes a wedding cake.
"I considered going all weird and Baltimore-specific and using Berger Cookies and National Bohemian beer and Utz pretzels as ingredients, but ultimately I settled on this: an awesome chocolate-cake recipe and an awesome ricotta-buttercream recipe."
And no contemporary consideration of things Baltimore would be complete without David Simon. Here he has an article titled "Pickles and Cream."
"By the time I was born, my parents had moved to Maryland and the shores of that great protein factory, the Chesapeake Bay. Yet I did not taste a raw oyster until I was thirteen, or a raw clam until a year later. And, in my fifteenth year, I finally sat down with a knife and mallet and began breaking apart a dozen steamed blue crabs...."
This issue of Lucky Peach actually made us go back and rewatch, in chronological order, Levinson's Baltimore movies.

In Maximum Rocknroll #351 there's a review of one of our favorite records of the year, Jazz Mind by Ed Schrader's Music Beat.
"Certain moments capture an intensity that leads me to believe that they've laid themselves totally bare as the song ends, which is a compliment and my tiny recognition of the power displayed on a few of these tunes. Overall, it recalls both the mood and from-the-gut mentality of several No Wave heroes." -Mitch Cardwell

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summertime in the City Picks


Thinking of visiting Baltimore this Summer? We've updated our local links for places to check out and things to do.

The Hampden Merchants page has a handy guide to John Waters' picks in Hampden. And for your summer reading, try some of John's favorite authors and books mentioned in his memoir, Role Models.

And there's always our own twitter - AtomicBooks, to follow and now Celebrated Summer Records is finally on twitter -CSRecordshop.

Rachel's Twitter (be warned: lots of tweets about local issues, food and tv.): sugarfreak
Benn's Twitter (be warned: mostly tweets of The Mobtown Shank posts, politics and 4square checkins): mobtownshank

Friday, July 13, 2012

Talking Summer Reading: 012 Edition

I'll be on WYPR's (88.1FM) The Signal this evening at 7PM (and again Saturday at 1PM) to discuss summer reading suggestions, and I have a quite a few - covering fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels.

You can only talk about so many books on the radio, so stop by the store to see what's new - there have been a lot of great books that have come out so far this summer.

And there a bunch of books slated to be released in the second part of the year that are worth getting really excited about too - more than I can recall seeing an a long time.

So please be sure to listen in.

Listen live online.

Monday, July 02, 2012

4th of July & First Friday

FF July, originally uploaded by sugarfreak.

We will be closed this Wednesday for the 4th of July.

But this Friday, come on out for our Atomic Luau!