From October 2014

Hail Josey Records! Dallas Makes a Musical Comeback with a Real Record Store

The opening of Josey Records in North Dallas is definitely cause for rejoicing. This 15,000 square foot music emporium is everything that a record store should be. With literally hundreds of thousands of new and used albums (vinyls as the kids call them), cds, cassettes and 45s there is no place else in the Metroplex that can top Josey for price, selection and atmosphere. (Yeah, yeah, there’s Forever Young but their prices are so insane it’s not even worth considering them).

My brief visit on Josey’s first day of business yesterday left me ecstatic in my enthusiasm for this music lover’s fantasy outlet. In addition to the amazing selection, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the owners have truly created not just a place to shop, but a place to hang out and share one’s love of music with fellow like-minds. Josey Records features a huge open and airy space with room to spare. I am told that live music will soon be a part of the Josey experience and in the the mean time, the space features a delightful art gallery, a huge DJ booth and a fantastic little lounge where one can sit and gab with friends. I am also told that a coffee and juice bar is in the plans.

Josey also offers a no risk buying environment with about a dozen turntables set up in the front of the store where you can audition records before you buy them. I am not sure if you can listen to sealed new records or not, but I would bet that the staff have play copies available of most major new releases for customers to audition.

What I loved most  was that customers and staff alike were hanging out talking, sharing their favorite records with friends, and everyone seemed to be having a great time just being around so much music and energy. Josey Records is the most positive thing to happen to the Dallas music scene in a decade and I for one am happy to have found a new home away from home.

Viva Josey Records! Long may she prosper!

Spinster Records: High on Fashion, Low on Content

The Dallas music scene has cause to rejoice with the advent of several new independent record stores catering primarily to the ever growing vinyl crowd. I had a chance to sample Spinster Records in the trendy Bishop Arts district this afternoon and found a store with a friendly staff and a very fashionable look that was sadly weak in content and organization.

Located on Davis Street just to the west of the main Bishop Arts drag, Spinster is a beautiful store with an old school feel of lots of bricks and wood. Sadly, the selection of music is at best weak and is a disorganized mess. I was met with random titles that were displayed with no rhyme or reason. When I asked how things were organized I was told “by price”. No one shops for music based on price point.

The store displayed a modest selection of new records, most of which were devoid of price stickers. The used selection was nondescript and populated with mostly run of the mill titles. I can’t imagine people flooding to what is supposed to be the hippest new spot in one of the city’s hippest neighborhoods desperately seeking an old Carpenters or Barry Manilow title. Let’s just say that I went in with the intention of spending money and had a very hard time finding something to buy.

On a positive note, Spinster does have an excellent selection of turntables both new and vintage and accessories to go with them. This is a good thing as it’s high time that Audio Concepts got some competition,

Conversations with the staff revealed the existence of lots more stock as yet undisplayed, but if one wants to make a big impressions, one would think that the store would have a grand opening with all of its merchandise on display, well organized and properly priced. While I will continue to support Spinster with future visits, I will need to see some fast and vast improvements in the inventory to make me a regular customer. Right now this handsome little record store looks like the owner’s expensive hobby instead of a serious music outlet.


The Permanent Cost of Needless War

On two occasions this week I have heard stories and interviews about soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder. This is not a new malady and documented cases of it, although called by myriad names, date back to the Civil War. Yet in recent years, we have sent our fine young men and women to god-forsaken places to fight needless wars; wars built on lies and greed that served no purpose but to stoke the egos of idiots like George W. Bush and the pockets of Dick Cheney and his corporate ilk.

In our nation’s more respectable past, we have gone to war with the consent of the congress and when the interests of the freedom of the world were at stake. No literate American can deplore our efforts in getting rid of Hitler, Mussolini or Tojo. Not only were these wars just, but they were won with the participation not just of our military, but of our citizenry as a whole. During WWII our entire country observed the blackouts to protect our coasts, gave up creature comforts and dealt with the rationing of goods in order to keep our country and the free world free.

This isn’t the case today. We have allowed our leaders to start conflicts, predominantly in the middle east for one reason and one reason only. Oil. And oil means production and production means profit and profit means greed.

The conversation that has struck me most came from a young college football player who had served in our most recent conflicts on multiple tours. He spoke of his feelings when at half time there were ceremonies to honor our veterans. But what does it mean to say “thank you for your service”?

When any person tells a soldier thank you for protecting his freedom, it begs the question: “Was your freedom ever at risk?” The answer is clearly no. Despite the horrendous aftermath of the September 11 attacks, not once since the Second World War has the freedom of any American been in jeopardy. Not because of Korea, nor Viet Nam and certainly not Iraq or Afghanistan. The only thing at risk was the wealth of a privileged few. A few whose own sons and daughters were never at risk of harm.

Over half a million young men and women have returned home from our greed wars permanently scarred from the horrors that they witnessed and in which they participated. They did their duty and they knew that a military life was dangerous, of course. But is the life of one young man or woman worth the low cost of a gallon of gas? Is your “freedom” any more secure because we have allowed our government to wage wars of their own invention? No it is not. It is not, because your freedom was never once at risk.

It is high time that we call into account the real criminals in these conflicts. Saddam Hussein never harmed an American. And Osama bin Laden got his wealth from the oil that we buy from Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan. As five hundred thousand soldiers come home to permanent and irreparable emotional damage, let us consider who the real threats are to our freedom. They are secondly the politicians who start a new profit war every decade. But the most egregiously guilty people in this whole affair are those voters who continually put these fools into office, and worse yet, let them stay there.

Mirrors my friend. Mirrors. Look into yours and accept the blame. Then look ahead and make the change at the ballot box. The power lies in the people.  Let’s take it back!