Every year as we prepare for our block party on Record Store Day, we clear out all our storage spaces to put out thousands of records for free on 39th Avenue. Dozens of boxes of LPs, 45s and some 78s (they get messy and easily broken with such a big crowd). By the middle of the day the thousands of records are gone!
Sometimes they’re albums in poor shape (and we’re pretty conservative about what’s good enough to go into the shop) and other times they’re records which are simply ones we see so often and don’t need any more copies of them (think Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass). Yes, there’s a lot of junk in those boxes, but there’s also some finds for the diggers. After all, we can only check over the boxes so carefully, and besides, leaving a few gems in there makes if more fun all around.
Another interesting feature is that in past years some artists who have surpluses of their albums stored in their practice spaces have given us a couple dozen to mix in to the free records. So sometimes the free boxes contain brand new albums!
This year we’re going to try to get the free records out a little earlier than the start of the live music on the stage outside, which Charlie Parr will be kicking off promptly at 11am. We can’t really guarantee the time because the setup for the stage and sound gear will take priority over the boxes of free records — but we do certainly have more boxes than ever before this year!
The goal of course, is to try and reduce the waste. Hopefully the records will find their way into collections and onto turntables, or maybe just as material for artists which is often the fate for old records nobody wants to play anymore. One thing we have always appreciated about our block party is that people don’t leave a mess on 39th Avenue or in the surrounding neighborhood for the residents there — we especially appreciate this because its the neighborhood where we live, too.
Anyways, here’s your first ‘heads up’ about the free records, which this year should be more plentiful and interesting than ever before. We’ll try and post some pictures of them as soon as we can start organizing them into boxes.
Here’s a fun bonus to today’s post: Last year our “Official Hymies Records photographer” Craig Willford was invited to climb onto the roof of the Frattallone’s Ace Hardware across the street to get some shots of the block party. This year we’re working on a plan to get him onto the roof of our building too!
Don’t worry dear reader, we make sure he’s safe!