So after we left Grimey’s, it was time for Charles to be somewhere else. We dropped him off and continued downtown to the next stop on our shortlist.
I ran across this store online and they touted 4 stories of records, each 180 feet long, accompanied by this enticing photo.
One look at that shot and you can be excused for thinking “even if it’s 60% country music, there’s got to be something of interest there!” Let me be the first to burst your bubble. Each floor is indeed 180 feet long, but only the first floor is open to the public. For the photo above, they must have moved all of the stock on the top three floors into the bins on the first for the glamour shot shown above. As I moved through the floor stock, the bins were only about a third full, and of that 80% was naught but country music!
Their tiny rock ghetto was comprised of albums from 1974-1984. Weird stuff you haven’t seen in decades. Maybe never. Stuff like Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes. All in the original shrinkwrap and costing at least $8.98. Ninety percent of the price stickers were as vintage as the records. If you are pining for that mint, still sealed copy of Rod Falconer’s “Victory in Rock City,” this was your store!
There was basically no New Wave to be found here. It took about 2 minutes to look through their entire rock section while my wife waited outside. The vast bulk of their country stock was not rifled through. We quickly made an exit. I should mention that the store was smack dab in the hideous dark heart of NashVegas central on the Broadway strip. Just a few steps down the street was the famous Ernest Tubb Record Store. That was all country music… period, but it was jam packed with those new fangled CDs, and only had a smattering of vinyl. At least the prices were fair. The next record store would be later on our schedule for that Saturday, and we only found it by chance.
I had seen listing of Phonoluxe in some online review aggregator. They sure as hell don’t have a website! We were driving to our selected dinner restaurant [Ethiopian @ Gojo, since you asked] when we passed it on the way. We weren’t starving so we gave Phonoluxe a shot. While it wouldn’t make me forget Grimey’s, it went a long way towards erasing the bitter taste of Lawrence.
Inside I found two large rooms of music. CDs were in one side and vinyl was in the other. I hit the vinyl first while my wife scoped the CDs. I found what looked like a section of late 70s/80s vinyl but a quick view revealed exorbitant prices. $20 was a common price point and unless I find music high on my want list, I’m not remotely going there. With no stock catching my eye, I quickly moved on and found their alphabetized vinyl stock more fiscally palatable.
I pawed through A-Z and while there were lots of nice records I’d want to buy there, as it turns out, everything that caught my eye was already under my roof. The prices were palatable in this part of the store. Most records were $2.00-5.00. Fair enough.
I ended up only buying one record, a Scritti Politti single that I thought that I might need. While I had the UK 3″ CD single of “Boom! There She Was,” the US 12″ appeared to have additional mixes of interest. It was marked a decent $2.50 so I bit.
As it turned out there is a lot of intrigue surrounding this single. The UK CD3″ has the “Sonic Property Mix” of the A-side clocking in at 6:56 and the US vinyl of the same is labeled 8:55! The 12″ has an additional dub version and features a 5:00 “Extended Single Version” of the A-side. The CD3″ in comparison features a 4:19 “US mix.” Hmmmmmm. Grist for the Scritti BSOG mill, for certain!
I looked at the CDs but wasn’t moved. My wife did better with several Laurie Anderson discs and a movie she’d wanted to revisit for a while now. This store also had a smattering of tchatchkes and memorabilia scattered throughout and the overall effect reminded me of Orlando’s Rock & Roll Heaven; only with far fewer interesting records, higher prices and of course, no Ray Ehmen!
So for the first time in Nashville, the word is by all means hit Grimey’s. It will suck hours out of your day. If you have time for Phonoluxe it may be worth a trek. Your mileage may vary. The proprietor even garnered goodwill by marking down the Scritti 12″ to a dollar at checkout! The stores downtown on the strip are plagued by a lack of rock [and affordable parking]. By all means, give them a pass. Only go to Lawrence if you really want to simulate a trip in time back to a 1978 record store that really sucked!