Happy In Bag

Monday, April 21, 2008

Some Kind of Record

I acknowledged Record Store Day by visiting a couple independently-owned retailers Saturday. The experience was ok, I guess.

Partly because I haven't bought into the current vinyl revival that's inspired new hope in the ongoing viability of physical product, I couldn't help feeling nostalgic for the pre-internet days when record stores were vital community institutions. Seeking solace, I began compiling a list of Kansas City record stores past and present. I know I've overlooked several key landmarks; please help me to fill in the gaps.

What was the name of the really good but ill-fated store on Westport Road in the mid-'90s? And I can't come up with the name of the great late-'70s store on Broadway or the moniker of the store on Main before it morphed into Recycled Sounds.

As I have no expertise in Latin music, I've left those specialty stores off my list. I'm also excluding mass merchandisers like Target, Venture, Wal-Mart and my beloved Red-X and bookstore chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble. Lawrence merits its own list.

The list: Abba To Zappa, Alley Cat, Autograph, Caper's Corner, CD Warehouse, Classical Westport, Corky's, Dirt Cheap, Disc Traders, Ear Responsible, Exile, FYE, Groove Farm, Half Price Books, JR Disques, Katz, Keeping It Real*, Kent's, Love, Mike's*, Mr. Z's, Music & More, Music Exchange, Musicland, Needmore Discs*, Peaches, Penny Lane, Record Bar, Record Cabinet, Recycled Sounds, Rock Therapy, 7th Heaven*, Sharlie's, Sound Warehouse, Spiney Norman, Streetside*, Tigers, Village Records**, Vintage Stock*, Vinyl Renaissance*, Wax Factory*, Wherehouse*, Zebedee*

*Currently open.
**Exists online.


  • At 10:18 AM, Blogger The DLC said…

    Great list, I've not been to most of the places that are currently open even.

    The national record store day site has a great quote from Shelby Lynne: "You can't roll a joint on an iPod - buy vinyl!"

  • At 11:21 AM, Blogger kcmeesha said…

    I have a soviet-made Beatles album, a co-worker gave it to me long time ago.I wonder if it's collectible.

  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger The DLC said…

    meesha, a good place to check out prices for lps is at http://www.gemm.com/

  • At 1:48 PM, Blogger bgo said…

    When I am not in such bad spirits I will give you my genealogy.

    It started with Kent's Records at 33rd and Troost. It split of into 2 rival stores both on Main Street just a block from each other.

    One was called Sharlie's, the other LOVE RECORDS.

    I worked at the original LOVE RECORDS beginning in 1970!!

    It was registered with the state as Brother Zapp's Records, but somebody painted a cheap sign on the front of the building: LOVE RECORDS.

    Out of LOVE RECORDS, THE MUSIC EXCHANGE was conceived. I was the original manager, and Ron Rooks was not the original owner.

    The late Ed Harvey is spinning in his grave that Mr. Z's, a legendary downtown KC INDIE record store is NOT on your list.

    More later when I am feeling better.

    The librarian formerly known as Stretch.

  • At 3:53 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    I lurve Shelby, DLC.

    What DLC said, Meesha. Check prices at Ebay, too.

    I was counting on you, BGO. Keep 'em coming.

  • At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not sure if these count, but they happen to be two of my favorite spots to blow money when I was younger.

    Groove Farm and Spiney Normans both had records, but they also had all my other needs (at the time) covered.

    Top a trip downtown off with a slice of Pyramid Pizza and you have a suburban boys dream day.

  • At 6:49 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    (Shouting) Thank you, Shannon! I can sleep tonight.

  • At 6:54 PM, Blogger bgo said…


    There is a lot bad history out there regarding both Love Records and The Music Exchange. Despite all my bad habits I truly know what went down. Whatever you have read in print in the past is not the truth.


  • At 1:50 PM, Blogger bgo said…

    Re: Recycled Sounds. The real and original name of the store was Dirt Cheap Records. They started in Lincoln Nebraska and then opened a branch here. Somebody in power, ie landlord, whatever, made them change the name. They didn't like "Dirt Cheap". That's what I know anyway. Ann Winters could tell you more.

  • At 3:44 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Dirt Cheap- thanks, BGO! Boy, do I miss hanging out with Anne, the Conn brothers, Phil B., LeRoi and all the rest- including you, BGO.

  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Anyone remember the name of the mixtape shop that rented space in the now-bulldozed Mission Mall?

  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I worked with Ed Harvey at the late, great Capers Corner along side the eternally evil Ben Ashner (brother of actor Ed Asner, who dropped the "h", presumebly because it was too Jewish sounding back then). Bens favorite thing to bellow at customers was, "Come back, when you have more money! (har-har-har)"
    Ed was the most knowledgeble Jazz fan I have ever met and put up with a lot of crap from us young "whippersnappers" back then. Capers was a terrific "Indie" store and I continue to miss it to this day.

  • At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I worked with Anne, in Lincoln at Dirt Cheap Records….It was owned by Terry Moore….I talked Anne into coming down to KC to start a record store with me, but she included Terry in the deal, and I refused to work with him, because I had worked for him and didn't trust him…..she opened the store with him, and I opened a midcentury modern antique store called "So Kuhl" at the south end of the block (the 1st floor of the 10-40 apartments)…..She became unsatisfied with Terry at some point, and split off, which prompted the name change to Recycled Sounds (Terry sell owned the DC name)…..I rented most of her basement as a warehouse for So Kuhl, and would occasionally have clearance sales down there…..after ending my business, and working 3 or 4 years at Bizmart,I started working at Recycled Sounds for Anne, but had to work elsewhere when she was unable to provide me with health insurance

  • At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you left out "Enormous Horsepower", last location, just east of Main on 39th St…... an alternative import record store in the late 80's


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