It was cold yesterday, a cold front dipped in from the north and blanketed the area with the first hints of winter, the first weather band radio reports of any snow at all squeaked out of my weather band as I drove up route 32 bypassing the ugly costly Thruway. IA figured if I saw something interesting I would stop check it out, hike, take some pictures whatever. Well somehow I wound up driving through New Paltz, a rather interesting town. A liberal, hippie enclave carved out of southern Ulster county in the shadows of the Gunks- a most famous climbing area as well as home to Minnewaska state park, unsurpassed beauty with mountain bike trails allowing easy access to it all.
SUNY New Paltz is usually blamed for the liberal trends of the town, but Brockport where I attended a similar sized SUNY school was no such animal. We were more of a suburban Abercrombie type place, with its picturesque main street and stately Victorian homes signaling the past wealth of the area, but there were no organic eateries, natural food stores, Birkenstock bazaars or good record shops. So I am driving down the narrow main street because Route 32 passes right through and I decide that maybe by some chance there is a fine record shop with a good jazz section, and maybe some other goodness that a music junky is without most of the time.
Rhino Records, perfect in one word, perfect besides the lack of metal and ska, but one cannot have it all. I had to pee, real bad, so he let me use his bathroom- telling me he knew what I feel like having to pee yet wanting to browse. CD’s were out of those large annoying security cases, providing easy access to listen to them, rock section had weirdness, not the traditional, of course this was a hippie college town. Merely judging from which sections were large and which bands had large sections one could tell that the patrons of this store were the eclectic artsy type. A large electronica sections, as with Jazz and weird rock. The rock was divided up into letters and bands. Popular bands got their own sections. I have never been to a record store with such bands as these receiving their own sections. King Crimson, Michael Franti, Ani Difranco, Portishead and more of which I cannot think of. It was weird and very cool with great service. Thank you Rhino Records for making my cd collection grow with gusto.
What did I buy you may be wondering? A Beastie Boys compilation of their instrumental tracks- finally- I have been waiting for this, John Scofield- uber jam, Vanden Plas, Charlie Hunter trio- bing bing. It is not quantity it is quality, spending one hour in a music shop shouldn’t yield anything necessarily, it is the enjoyment of the hunt that makes shopping in “real stores” and not on the internet, interacting with “people” and fighting for the listening device that has only one ear of the headphones working. It is the joy of finding that favorite Warrant album in the 99 cent rack, or the marvels of large green Mohawk clad women head banging to Agnostic Front, or the joy of finding a music shop in a small town that you happened to be passing through.