Ric Ocasek on Newbury Comics, Boston:
They carry more alternative records. Even when a Tower opened on the corner, Newbury was always my favorite. I also like the multimedia aspect: They have books, some alternative books. They even sell some poetry.
(Ocasek’s new solo album is Fireball Zone.)
Chris Takino on Fallout Records & Skateboards, Seattle:
The best punk record store in Seattle — actually the best record store in Seattle. They have comic books and music books and it’s also a skate shop. It’s been here for years and years. They have their own record label — really energetic and community oriented. Fallout’s great.
(Takino is a receptionist at the Sub Pop record label.)
Steve Daly on Garage D’Or, Minneapolis:
There’s always a good selection of seven-inch singles, and it’s one of the few stores that continue to get imported pressings and CDs. There’s generally a good selection of new and used CDs, and still some vinyl.
(Daly is label manager at East Side Digital.)
Peter Buck on Wuxtry Records, Athens, Ga.:
I used to manage the Wuxtry downtown, and I have fond memories of my working days there. It was like a little hub; all of us would drop in every day. It’s one of my favorites — I still get an employee discount.
(Buck is a guitarist with R.E.M.)
Ed Ward on Waterloo Records, Austin, Tex. Waterloo is perceived as being the store that has the depth of community involvement. It even started a label, Watermelon, that records local talent. They’re real involved with what people in town listen to. Every time I’m at Waterloo I run into musicians: Kim Wilson [of the Fabulous Thunderbirds], Charlie Sexton, or somebody. It’s not a collector’s store. But it’s exactly what’s happening.
(Ward is coauthor of Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll.)
Groovy Man on Wax Trax Records, Chicago:
This was the first [area] store to have a good selection of imports. We used to call it Club Wax Trax; there were always six-packs around in the early days, on the night shift. It was a happening place. It still is.
(Groovy Man is lead singer of My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.)
Lorrie Morgan on Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Nashville:
Ernest Tubb Record Shop is my favorite record store. The two newer branches in Nashville, on Music Valley and Demonbreun, are probably more accessible, but the Broadway store is the one with the history. I once found some old bluegrass tapes there that my late husband, Keith Whitley, made years ago. One was from the time when he and Ricky Skaggs played bluegrass with Ralph Stanley, and the other was from Keith’s days with J.D. Crowe and the New South. I was really thrilled to find those. I treasure them.
(Morgan’s latest album is Something in Red.)
Jim Dickinson on Poplar Tunes Records, Memphis:
The old, original Poplar Tunes is still the best overall. It’s a one-stop and they have a ”Memphis” section of old soul and a lot of blues records. It’s not a collector’s store, but it’s better than anything else in town.
(Dickinson is a record producer.)
— reporting by Scott Isler