Record Shopping Road Trip: Square Records – Akron, Ohio
[…continued from last post]
So once we reached Akron, on a Thursday, we had a free day before we needed to head to Cleveland [45 min away] for the Mott The Hoople show on Saturday, April 6th. I had not been planning to buy records in Akron, as I said, but the line had been crossed in Charleston, West Virginia the day before. My brakes at this time were in need of replacement since I live on a mountain and every time I go anywhere, it is a guarantee that my brakes get quite a workout. They chose to start squeaking the prior trip to Knoxville. I didn’t have the time to take care of them in the few days between trips. But it was important to have them taken care of right now. The noise was annoying. Friday was an open day with no plans so that seemed to be the time to get the service done. I got to the shop around 8:00 a.m. and was out of there before noon.
Afterward, it was noon and I was hungry. My wife had already eaten and the afternoon was open. Time to go to Time Traveler and see what was there this time. But it was important to eat first. Since my wife had fed while I was away on the brake job, I went off alone to West Akron in search of food and records. I found the Lebanese place I wanted to eat at: Aladdin’s Eatery. And a block up the street was Square Records; a new place to me. It was sitting adjacent to Cheese + Chong’s – an all mac-and-cheese restaurant! I was already set on Lebanese, but I can say that on another day I might have taken the bait. I ate first and ambled over to Square Records.
The window said it was of genus Record Storus Americanis. Your basic 50+ year old storefront with faded ephemera in the window. A closer look revealed the sort of coloration I like.
An Elvis Costello + The Attractions promo stand up at the right for “This Year’s Model” was appreciated, but I was in Akron. What mattered most was the front and center shrine to these holy men.
That’s right; a copy of “Freedom Of Choice” by DEVO! Akron, take me home! The shop was not busy on a Friday at lunchtime. I saw new and used CD/LP stock, so this was not one of those places… yet. I hit the CDs and looked for a few items that have been on my shortlist; primarily any CDs by The Coup and Janelle Monae. Both are thin on the ground and things were no different here. Once I scanned and stopped looking for specifics, there were some decent used CD material.
I was amazed to see Bryan Ferry’s Olympia” for a dollar! I already had the boxed edition, but the standard CD for eight bits was a no-brainer. Besides, the card sleeve in the box is not immediately on-rack. I was happy to see a Phil Manzanera solo album, “Primitive Guitars.” I have never heard his solo material; having only Roxy Music and 801 so this was a long time in coming. Then I saw a late-model Prince album from his TAFKAP period, “Chaos + Disorder.” That got bought as it was unheard material that I rarely see. And finally the Luaka Bop Shuggie Otis DLX RM of “Inspiration Information” was the most exciting thing here! Shuggie Otis was an artist that I was being led to in much the same way that I had been led to Scott Walker in earlier years, and I had never seen this before. Even better, it had Otis’ original version of the mighty “Strawberry Letter 23” on it as bonus material! Sold!
I then moved to the used LPs. There are no new LPs that I have on my want list. I had begun digitizing my wife’s David Werner collection over a year ago, but her copy of his debut album, “Whizz Kid,” was pretty trashed. Of course I would find a better copy of it in an Akron store! WMMS in nearby Cleveland was probably the only radio station outside of those in Pittsburgh [Werner’s local] and NYC that probably ever spun that album! A check of the wax looked much nicer. And they had a POPS 12″ of three tracks from his 1979 album on wide groove 12″ that would yield the best possible remaster. It’s mine!
I also found a want list 12″ with Funkadelic’s “One Nation under A Groove” US 12″ that gave the album cut another four minutes to stretch out. The LP cut sounded like it began with a hard edit. Maybe this had the buildup to that point? Finally, I saw a Canadian Split Enz compilation called “Beginning Of The Enz” from 1977! Certainly something new to me. My good friend Mr. Ware collects Split Enz. He probably didn’t need this, but if he declined it would certainly do my Record Cell no harm!
The store also had some 7″ 45 boxes. I was not seeing the sort of material [UK 7″ from 1977-1984] that I relish, but then I came across this as seen at right. Yow! A whole box of “70s/80s Punk + New Wave” salted with “also local Akron/Cleve” too! Be still my beating heart! I ripped into the box to find maybe eight 45s that were not recognizable. Maybe one or two off-brand issues from Clone Records. A huge disappointment when I was expecting to see early Pere Ubu and DEVO material [probably long gone by that time]. Heavy sigh. And at that time I overheard the owner talking on the phone to someone, telling him that he no longer bought CDs, so cue another heavy sigh! Looks like I got here just in time. I asked the owner how long he had been in the shop and he said 16-17 years. So in the five or six times I’d been in Akron in the 21st century, this was the only time I’d ventured to West Akron and had stumbled upon Square records. The run here was well balanced and slightly over $30.
Square Records | Akron
- David Werner: Whizz Kid – RCA Victor – APL1-0350 – US – LP – Square Records/$4.00
- David Werner: David Werner – Epic – AS 628 – USP – 12″ – Square Records/$3.00
- Funkadelic: One Nation Under A Groove – Warner Bros. Records – WBSD 8803 – US – 12″ – Square Records/$4.00
- Split Enz: Beginning Of The Enz – Chrysalis – CHR 1329 – CAN – LP – Square Records/$4.00
- Phil Manzanera: Primitive Guitars – Editions EG – EEGCD 14 – US – CD – Square Records/$5.00
- Shuggie Otis: Inspiration Information DLX RM – Luaka Bop – 72348-50473-2-9 – US – CD – Square Records/$6.00
- Bryan Ferry: Olympia – Astralwerks – ASW 06428 – US – CD – Square Records/$1.00
- The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince): Chaos And Disorder – Warner Bros. Records – 9 46317-2 – Square Records/$6.00
At least I was not going hog wild, since I still had another store right in front of me this gray Ohio afternoon just minutes away.
Next: …Never Let Me Down