February 2014 Update:
Missing Link Records is missing. They had to move out due to a rent increase and as of this moment they do not have a new space. I will update this info when they do. Also, Vitamin Planet/Vinyl Planet has permanently closed, due to high rent. So sad. So many property owners have no soul, no appreciation for preserving the integrity of a community and enabling an independent business person to thrive. We've lost so many wonderful small businesses to greedy landlords.
I would however like to add a shop in Santa Rosa that I visited twice this past week and mysteriously overlooked in my original post: The Last Record Store. It's adjacent to a good health food store so you can fortify yourself before going through the long rows of vinyl. Cheers and happy hunting!
Marcel and I recently took a drive up to Trinidad in Northern California to visit family...and explore. Of course as collectors we were obliged to stop at thrift shops along the way and rescue the many treasures waiting to be found. Now besides my focus on vintage goodies Marcel is tracking the scent of vinyl, still in the vintage category, so we visited a string of record shops along the way.
One of the highlights was Missing Link Records in Arcata. The energy here was so warm and friendly, and so real. We could sense right away that this place was going to have some good finds. Yes!
It's a homey little shop complete with loveseat and so many piles around the edges that I had to look hard to find where I had put down my coat when we were leaving. Like our home. One of the owners, Adam, was there with his musically sophisticated son Henry (part-time DJ, part-time toy tractor operator). Very sweet peeps. Henry likes to hang out in the glass display case that he made into a little fort. This shop has great prices and killer taste. We love it!
Soul Boy Henry:
Mr. and Mrs. Missing Link holding a smaller Henry:
above photo: Buck Curran, Aroborea
Next we headed over to People's Records on the plaza in Arcata:
This shop has a big inventory with a wide variety of new and vintage. I shop by mood and that day I was feeling a funk/soul vibe, thinking I was out of luck, I didn't see that category. I was there for about twenty minutes when I realized that underneath the bins, along the floor, running the entire length of the shop was the funk/soul section. You know the saying: Be careful what you wish for!
They have an incredible selection. I was able to find my heart's desire that day, Revisited by the band Love (who have some of the best album cover art ever). It includes one of my faves, Alone Again Or. Somehow I got into collecting versions of the song. I also have it on vinyl by The Damned and Calexico. Here's the original by Love:
The Works, a big shop with lots to discover:
Must check condition, good boy:
Continuing our drive down Highway 101:
"There must be more out there..."
We ventured south to Main Street Music in Willits. I think we only bought two records here. It's still worth a stop. They're noted as having the cleanest bathroom in town and it's true.
Pushing on, we cruised down to Ukiah to Dig Music. This is a fun place. Records start at 50 cents and they do record repair for scratched vinyl. Great memorabilia on the walls and a cool selection of patches and buttons for sale. Michael the owner was very pleasant.
They host live music and it's a favorite stop for musicians who are in town. Rod Stewart's daughter recently sat a spell at the vinyl listening station (we always appreciate a station).
Mad River from Oakland, California performing at Dig Music:
From there we drove further south to Petaluma where we were tickled to find Vitamin Planet - slash - Vinyl Planet. Yes, they sell vitamins and vinyl. Music and magnesium! Also a small but eclectic offering of used books, some real gems. I picked up a 1976 paperback called Country Lesbians: The Story of the Womanshare Collective (in Grants Pass, Oregon). It's fascinating.
Great records at unbelievable prices, shhh. Nothing is alphabetized so plan on spending some time flipping through. We bought about forty records here, our biggest haul on the trip. Phil the owner is a very sweet person. We had a nice time here.
I found so many great and unusual records. Can't wait to go back!
While in town we decided to swing by the Goodwill. Marcel found a couple of good records and I found some beautiful antique bed linens and a vintage Scottish cashmere sweater.
"Ah, he got the velcros..."
So Marcel is now collecting vinyl? Hmmm, I seem to have gotten carried away. I did mention he bought some too, right?
It was that visit to Robert Plant's house way back when that got me hooked...heh.
P.S. Check out Marcel's Tumblr
August 2014 Update:
I have two San Francisco record stores to add to the vinyl roadtrip. GROOVES at 1797 Market Street (tel. 415-436-9933). They advertise records, posters, tapes, and books, but I also noticed some t-shirts, and vintage board games and lunch boxes.
This is one of those shops where every square inch possible is packed with inventory. You wind your way through stacks of vintage vinyl, from kitchy 50s vocalists to lots of great obscure 70s grooviness. Great prices and friendly staff can't be beat.
This is just one corner of the store:
Next up, the infamous Amoeba Music on Haight Street (they have 2 other locations in Berkeley and Hollywood). It's housed in an old bowling alley where they "stock hundreds of thousands of music and movie titles from every genre imaginable." They're not kidding: that's hundreds-of-thousands. You could easily spend all day here. They don't have the slogan "The World's Largest Independent Record store" for nothing.
24,000 square feet of music love, and you don't have to rent shoes.
Also on Haight Street check out Recycled Records.
"The pursuit of second hand records has been expanded into the hunt for the best in all manner of entertainment memorabilia from circus poster to theater programs, and to the acquisition of everything from19th century sheet music, to rock posters and rare travel books."