Sunday, December 28, 2008

Paradise' is heaven to vinyl record lovers

ESCONDIDO — A group of young people hanging out listening to records in a record store sounds like a scene from a bygone era, but there is such a place in Escondido.

Gary's Record Paradise Volume II on West Felicita Avenue still sells a wide variety of vinyl records along with CDs and tapes. Although the store has moved several times, owner Eustaquio Kirby has kept the name Gary's because the makeup of the store has remained nearly the same since it was opened by Gary Goldstein in 1977.
Kirby, 50, helped Goldstein in 1986 and became owner in 2004. He said his customers range in age from 13 to 95.

“They come to me because I carry a lot of stuff that no one else does, and that is the key to this store,” Kirby said.

The market for vinyl records is growing, and some bands are releasing new albums on them, because digital music doesn't capture the full quality of the music, Kirby said.

“Vinyl has a resurgence because a lot of people who are doing this download thing are getting tired of the way it sounds,” he said. “Vinyl is analog. Analog is a natural sound. When you digitize, it takes away that ambience. The lows aren't as low and the highs aren't as high.”

Last Saturday evening, six young friends hung out at Gary's, listening to music and buying records. Jorge Lopez, 19, who will be going to Palomar College in January, lives a block from the store and is a regular.

“I come in the store almost every day,” Lopez said. “I like looking at the new stuff that comes in, and I like helping out. I like the Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Deep Purple.”

Isabelle Medina, 15, is a student at Orange Glen High School. “I come in randomly. I like punk,” she said.

“Most everything in the store is under six bucks,” Kirby said, although he did score a big online sale with one record.

“The highest I ever got for an album was a Beatles 'butcher cover,' ” said Kirby, who sold it for $12,036.23.

The Beatles' 1966 “Yesterday and Today” record became a collectible after the original cover was recalled because it depicted the band in white butcher jackets, holding slabs of bloody meat and doll parts.

One record that Kirby will not sell was made by his father, Harold Kirby. He was the bass player with a group called the Strangers, and their hit was “Caterpillar Crawl.”

Although he sells on the Internet, Kirby said he prefers the interaction with people in his store.

“When somebody is happy with what they get that makes me happy,” he said. “I just wish more people would get happy.”

One of those happy customers is Doug Best, a former Escondido mayor who hosts Doug Best Swings radio show on KKSM-AM 1320 at Palomar College.

“He refers people here and they come here to get my Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw,” Kirby said.

Best, who has worked in radio since 1950, said Kirby “really knocks himself out” for customers.

“When I can't find something,” he said, “I go to Gary's.”


1 comment:

  1. wow they have lots of vinyl lps and great old times.