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Apr 22 / Elizabeth DiNovella

Record Store Day 2012

This week lots of pals were buzzing about Record Store Day. It’s a day to wander down to your local record store (if you are lucky enough to have one in your city) and splurge on music. Labels release special albums for the day, and re-issue old favorites, too.

I got a sneak peak of the fun when I was down at WORT-FM a few days ago.

Sometimes the vinyl can be as beautiful as the music.

At my neighborhood record store, Mad City Music, the day was by all accounts a success. The Flaming Lips LPs sold out quickly. Thirty people were waiting in line before they even opened doors this morning.

One of the biggest finds, to me, was the Lee Scratch Perry box set. It was gone by the time I got to Mad City. So I decided to indulge myself with a classic: Horses by Patti Smith. Horses, with its striking portrait of Smith, taken by Robert Mapplethorpe. Horses, produced by John Cale at Electric Lady Studios.

I didn’t care if it was digitally remixed. I just wanted it on vinyl.

Twenty years ago while digging through crates in Venice Beach, I found this gem. I bought it, but never left California with it. Instead, I gave it to the pal I was visiting. I hadn’t found it on vinyl since, though I wasn’t exactly looking for it, either.

In her National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids, Patti Smith writes about what things were in her mind when she recorded this album:

“The gratitude I had for rock and roll as it pulled me through a difficult adolescence. The joy I experienced when I danced. The moral power I gleaned in taking responsibility for one’s actions. These things were encoded in Horses as well as a salute to this who paced the way before us.”

The gratitude that Smith writes about is palpable in this record. I think all of us who were down at Mad City today feel a certain gratitude to rock and roll for pulling us through our difficult adolescences.

When I went to counter, I showed Mad City’s Dave Zero my selection. “I couldn’t resist,” I told Dave.

“Yes,” he said, “how could you resist?”

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