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Hoodoo Man

Garnicks Records est. 1930's

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So quite recently I started to frequent Garnick Records, a local record shop established in the 1930's that sells used records mostly for $4 each or so. The place is packed the gills with stacks of records, tapes, CDs cassettes, and some 8 tracks. They also repair TVs and record player.  Back in the day they were an authorized repair place for Zenith and other major brands. When my wife and I were chatting with the owner in his office after dropping off my new to me 1950's turntable from a Zenith console unit I noticed a Certification for repair technician completed in 1966....  their FB page lists them as one of the top 5 record stores in the US  not sure if that is accurate but their inventory is huge with stacks everywhere of all media types.  mainly records but CDs, tapes, 8 tracks DVDs and some VHS....  Its a cluttered hot mess run by 3 elderly guys who have worked there forever all of whom are amazing story tellers.  Below is a stroy Bob Garnick told me about Garth Brooks circa 1990 when the album "No Fences" came out and was red hot.  I shared the story below on another forum so I am simply pasting it here.  I was with Bob for over an hour and lost track of the stories he told me over the course of that time but there was Elvis, Areatha, Jerry Garcia, Ben Orr of the cars and other stories he told me that blew my mind. Bob is a natural story teller and really needs to write a book about his time in the music business. IF there is interest I can share some more of these stories with you. No Petty or Mudructh but he is good friends with Van Morrison's keyboard player and met Dylan as well...

 

 Many years ago when Garth was uber hot with "Low places" Garnicks which opened in the 1930's and is still open today was one of the first record shops to offer used CD's at a cheap price. The Capitol records rep saw they were selling used CD's - this was back in the ~25 per CD price days. Garnicks had maybe 2-3 copies of the Brooks CD for sale and a dozen copies of the new CD for full price on the rack as well.

The sales rep lost their mind and accused Bob Garnick of ripping them off; "Garth won't receive any royalties for the sale". he cried. At the time Garth got 2 dollars or so per CD sale making him a millionaire many times over. The rep cried foul and berated the shop for stealing from them and their artist (other CD's from other labels were also for sale at the time but Capitol was hot with Pink Floyd and Garth plus many other bands.) Bob had been in the business for years and was a big name at the time but only a single shop in a small city in MA. They distributed tickets for The Dead and other bands directly as well as shows for the Boston Garden and other local venues. Bob was selling used CD's for 10 bucks or so but did not have many for sale and thought little of the exchange as records had been being resold for decades there so he saw no issue with selling CD's.

A few days later he got a phone call. "Is this Bob Garnick? yes? Hi Bob, this is GARTH BROOKS, Bob what you are doing is illegal and you are basically stealing from me and my label. If you don't stop selling my CD's used, I have instructed Capitol records to stop distributing to your store." blah blah blah our lawyers will be in touch yada yada. "so Bob, will you be removing those CD's from your sales floor?" Bob replied "No Mr Brooks, I will not be doing that." lol.gif

Can you imagine? A major artist, the biggest of the day calling a small record shop in a small market in maybe the 5th biggest city in MA; calling a record store over 3 copies of a cd being sold used???? Basically over him losing 6 bucks at most? Mind you they were a mid sized store in the days before chains dominated things and moved other stores out of business. Bob is still moderately irate but now more amused than anything about the events back then. He called the bluff and continued to sell used CD's and Capitol records product as Capitol was more worried about loosing distribution at the store than Garth being mad over six bucks... Its not like this was Boston, NYC, LA or a major market....

Bob after telling me the story wondered if Garth would remember making the call back in 1990 as well as Bob does.... How petty can you be??? jawdrop.gif

From Wiki:

Quote:

Singles[edit]

Some of Brooks' most famous songs appear on No Fences, including: "The Thunder Rolls" (CMA's 1991 Video of the Year), "Friends in Low Places" (Academy of Country Music's 1990 Single of the Year), "Unanswered Prayers" and "Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House". A cover version of The Fleetwoods' "Mr. Blue" appears on the album. The album itself was named Album of the Year by the ACM in 1990. It reached Number 1 on the British country music charts (earning Brooks his first gold album in that country) and remained charted for over five years.

The track "Victim of the Game" was later covered by Brooks's friend and future wife Trisha Yearwood for her 1991 eponymous debut album.

Brooks later re-recorded the track "Wild Horses", and released the new recording as a single in early 2001, reaching #7 on the country chart.

25th anniversary reissue[edit]

In September 2015, it was announced No Fences would be reissued later in the year to commemorate its 25-year release anniversary. The release would include a new version of "Friends in Low Places", featuring George Strait, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, and Keith Urban singing along with Brooks. The album release has since been delayed due to royalty disputes.[8]

 

 

http://www.vinylhunt.com/stores/1187

https://www.facebook.com/GarnicksMusic/

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So I went in yesterday to see if they had made progress on my Turntable and came away with a Masters Degree in the Zenith Cobra player my console unit has in it.  The Zenith cobra was a high end record player built exclusively for and by Zenith, only the Wurlitzer Juke box use the same needle cartridge from 1945-1948. The cartridge has not been made since the 1970s and David Garnick the elder brother has not seen the red and green cartridge sold for the past 5 years, the only "commonly available" cartridge these days is for 78's  but that is too big for the head of my player.  The Cobra uses a idler wheel in lieu of a belt and the idler wheel on this player was also an exclusive custom part.  Most idler wheels can be rebuilt as they were made for the VM (voice and music) turntables that were the OEM for the re-badged turntables most manufactures used. 

David had worked as an electronic specialist for military contractor Raytheon in Lowell MA for many decades when he was approached by a friend than new Dave was from the Garnick family and loved music. He was tasked with establishing a full manufacturing shift for Symphonic Electronic Corporation (SEC) who for decades manufactured 45 rpm record players and 3 & 4 speed record players in Lowell, Mass.  This amazing guy was a Korean war veteran and worked two full time jobs, Shift supervisor at Raytheon building state of the art electronics and building record players for SEC.  Garnicks was a major Factory service center for Zenith, SEC and VM and this guy has been working steadily on electronics of all sorts for longer than I have been alive by a wide margin.  When he had told me by phone my Cobra could not be repaired I was a little skeptical and figured he had not dug deep enough for the parts and I can go online and find them.  In hindsight he went well above and beyond what any reasonable shop would do in an effort to get the player fixed. so now I am of a mind if he says it can't be made to run again I should believe him.   

Dave went on to share which manufacture did what for the war effort and how one company made the site for the B52 bomber and another made munitions instead of juke boxes and how no Juke boxes were made between something like 1942-45. Also he was a paper and tin collector for the local war efforts and he had a white arm band to help identify him so people would give him stuff for the war effort. He had a term for it but I can't recall what it was as my brain is still on overload from all the stories.. Dave can be found in a ton of videos online as he is a legend in the repair business but he has never been compensated for all the documentaries he has been in.. 

This shop is truly a treasure, I talked more with Bob G. while Dave was helping another customer and he gave me an amazing Carl Yastrzemski  I can add later, as well as a quick story about the time he was playing craps in Vegas with Sammy Davis Jrs wife, not realizing who she was until Sammy showed up with his entourage and personal photographers and told her 'Lets go and get the hell out of here.' 🤣 

 

Stolen online:

Symphonic Electronic Corporation manufactured 45 rpm record players and 3 & 4 speed record players in Lowell, Mass and New Brunswich, NJ during the mid fifties through mid sixties. The Lowell plant was abruptly shut down, moved to Puerto Rico and later acquired because the manufactured appliances could not pass UL Approval.

Symphonic, headquartered in NYC employed hundreds of high school and college kids on the production line in Lowell. It was the place to work especially in the summer as they ramped production for retailers preparing for the Christmas rush. Philharmonic Radio & TV was a subsidiary of Symphonic.

At the Lowell MA, plant Symphonic was buying RCA's RP-190 record changer from RCA's manufacturer, Crescent

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I've talked the most with Bob at this point and his stories have yet to disappoint.  He's got stories about Aretha, Judy Garland, Jerry Garcia and many many others. He stressed that he never asks for anything autographed from anyone in all the time he has been at this (although he has been given many singed things.) His daughter is also in industry and lives and works in LA with some big stars but she like her dad (according to Bob) is never star struck.  So years ago Bob and his family were flying back from Florida after a hurricane. They had gone down to survey the damage and take a mini vacation. Bob usually flies coach but was upgraded to first class as the flight was overbooked and he had status with the airline. First class is a 2 x 2 configuration.  I'm no baseball fan and I don't know if I can pick Yastrzemski out of a line up but as a native New Englander alive for over 40 years I know who Yaz is.  A hall of famer who is arguably one of the best to play the game. Bob's wife actually spotted Yaz and told Bob to sit with him and the daughter and wife sat next to Bob. The entire time the plane was being boarded passenger after passenger came and asked to have napkins or anything paper signed. Yaz politely obliged each person and dutifully listened to each person that approached. Its probably hard to not enjoy being adored by hometown fans. This was after he retired from playing the baseball.  

Bob is Jewish and had asked for a Kosher meal and thus when they started meal service he was one of the first people served. This was a few decades ago so it was a nice roasted chicken that smelled as good as it looked. Yaz was possibly surprised not to be served first as he was a star but was not at all upset. He politely asked what he had and Bob explained the Kosher meal. Yaz went on to talk about how he used to work for a Jewish family (Red Sox owners) but does not say beyond that. Goes on to tell how well they treated him. The conversation meandered and they talked about everything under the sun, everything that is except baseball. Toward the end of the flight Yaz asked Bob where he lived and indicated he was not far from Yaz's house. Do you need a ride Bob? I have a car service picking me up and I'd be happy to get you and your family home...  No thanks, my car is in central parking Bob replied.  Just before the door opened Yaz shook Bob's hand and told him what a pleasure it was to speak with him and how nice it was not to talk about baseball for a change.  It'd been years since he played and had other business interests, potato farms in ME among them. Everyone and their brother wants to talk ball with Yaz but Bob who'd met all manner of famous people for years didn't care to talk about that and treated Yaz like a person and not a star which was deeply appreciated.  Can you imagine sitting with Tom Petty or Mike and not asking about the band? 

Quote

WIKI: Carl Michael Yastrzemski (/jəˈstrɛmski/; nicknamed "Yaz";[1] born August 22, 1939) is an American former Major League Baseball player. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.[2] Yastrzemski played his entire 23-year Major League career with the Boston Red Sox (1961–1983). He was primarily a left fielder, but also played 33 games as a third baseman[3] and mostly was a first baseman and designated hitter later in his career.[4] Yastrzemski is an 18-time All-Star, the possessor of seven Gold Gloves, a member of the 3,000 hit club, and the first American League player in that club to also accumulate over 400 home runs.[5] He is second on the all-time list for games played, and third for total at-bats. He is the Red Sox' all-time leader in career RBIs, runs, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, and games played, and is third on the team's list for home runs behind Ted Williams and David Ortiz.[5]

In 1967 Yastrzemski achieved a peak in his career, leading the Red Sox to the American League pennant for the first time in over two decades and being voted the 1967 American League MVP. Yastrzemski also won the Triple Crown that year, a milestone which was not accomplished again in the Major Leagues until Miguel Cabrera achieved the feat 45 years later in 2012.[4][6][7]

 

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So the next stories are Bob stories again. Bob seems to know famous people and David seems to know everything historical. So years ago when Ben Orr was not yet famous he was dating an A&R rep who happened to cover Garnicks. Ben was a struggling musician and his future wife IIRC was also not exactly raking in the dough. The pair of them would frequently visit Garnick, nearly weekly according to Bob and come with cases of "promo only" copies of records. Not judging anyone but money exchanged hand and promo copies were left behind in bulk to the tune of several hundred dollars.  Enough for groceries and possibly rent.  This went on for some time and was not brief, finally Ben joins the Cars and they hit big. Bob gets comp tickets from someone (not Ben). He is well enough known at the time to get nearly backstage.  Bob and his wife had a marvelous time at the show and Bob wanted t introduce his wife to Ben who he has known and helped for years.  Bob passes his card to some security dude and within minutes the guard is back and Bob is awating greatness with he and his wife whisked back stage.  Well that was not the case. Ben said something to the effect of Who the F is Bob?

On the flip side of this story is Jerry Garcia.  The dead were a very unique band in not only set list selection varying by night and jamming. They had the deadheads who toured and followed the band endlessly.  The dead had something called 'glitter graphics" to combat forged tickets in the days before Ticketmaster and ubiquitous fees and such. Boston was a big market for the dead as they loved to play the garden. It had the advantage of being indoors so they could play any season there. According to Bob the band was fairly hands on and involved in tickets as much as was piratical as they wanted to see tickets in the hands of fans and not scalpers and such so they were selective where they sold. 

I have a passing appreciation of the dead myself, have a few CDs, not a fan but enjoy the long strange trip vibe.  So please excuse me if I get any of this wrong. The dead had people looking for miracles and those  deadheads who followed the band made a living selling trinkets and such outside the venue. A 'miracle' of course is the elusive ticket for the show not bought in advance and not costing too dear.  So for whatever reason Bob did not have a ticket and decided to look for his own miracle as he'd heard amazing things about he shows. He brought his wife who was not a fan of the band. She was more of a Wayne Newton gal and was a reluctant partner for the trip.  Bob tried a few of his connections near Boston but it was a sold out show. Finally he went to the back door of the garden and rapped on the door. A security guard came out and Bob handed him his business card and asked if someone might have a ticket for him. His wife embarrassed to be asking for tickets encouraged Bob to leave.

Mind you he'd never met Jerry or any band members in the past.  This time despite not knowing the band they immediately usher him in. Bob had a reputation for fair ticket sales and selling very close to, if not at face value when he could have charged a premium price and nobody might be the wiser.   To his shock he is ushered to the side stage near if not in the front row. Jerry himself quietly came by and chatted with Bob at length before the show. His wife commented he might need a shower as well he was well, Jerry and hygiene was not as important as music and love.   Bob has no clear recollection of what year the show was but it was most likely before the early 80s  as Ticketmaster seems to have blown up around 81-82 and started in the late 70s.  As the show was going Jerry took the stage and gave Bob a hearty welcome 'Bob Garnick of Garnick Records' to the crowd to the cheers of fans who had bought tickets to this or other shows.  It was pretty magical for Bob and his wife. 

I suspect there is an old  Boston Garden Bootleg out there circulating with the greeting on it. Similar to Tom saying 'Hi' to his Dad in the crowd in Gainesville before "Take out some insurance"  Can you imagine? Getting booted by Ben Orr when he was helping the guy and Gerry is treating him like a visiting king? 

81XPrdBCFsL._SY500_.jpg

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So how about the King? Yeah lets hear about when Bob met Elvis..... Scene: some hotel in NJ,  Elvis is in the building. Its a music industry event and Elvis is in the room, sitting by himself and everyone is somehow intimidated.  So Bob who has met all manner of celebrity is like; "the guy looks lonely." So Bob grabs a tray and a seat and he is riding with the King. Easy conversation, about most likely; nothing. They are soon joined by other record industry types now that Bob broke the ice...

Now that was a short and nearly unbelievable story. One I would think my dumb uncle would tell  this one while drunk to impress a girl at the bar....  I can't imagine Bob would make this one up. Maybe having heard it from someone else and telling it like it was his story to tell.  But I dont think that is the case.

But with all the stuff Bob has told me, I almost feel like I belong in the 'Big Fish' movie when I speak with him... :) 

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Lowell is a very historic town. Some call the small Mill town an hour from Boston 'the Birthplace of the industrial revolution' as the Mill buildings there, fair or not were the first factories to accept women and children as workers.  Lowell, the city,  is designated a national historic park as a whole and we recently (2018? ) had a quarter minted in recognition of this. Its a mid-sized city roughly the 5th largest in MA and has a large melting pot immigrant population.  It also is the home of Jack Kerouac and Whistler (the painter of Whistler's mother fame) lived in Lowell along with Ed McMahon from the Tonight show.  They city has several museums and a number of concert venues so we get a fair share of musical acts in town and Garnicks has a reputation for having a lot of older out of print stuff in stock.( My wife and I are very amused by the new tag line there "there is a lot to like about Lowell."    Like, not love.... )

So Garnicks naturally has some flow of artists to the shop. Judy Garland was there years ago. The Platters and many many others.  In her latter days, Aretha Franklin played the summer concert series fairly often. One year she came in the shop and was somewhat bossy but left without buying anything. The place is very old and extremely cluttered and as we know Aretha was a large woman, we all tend to gain weight with age, no big deal. 

Bob is rail thin not that it matters too much. So after Aretha left the shop there was another guy that stayed behind who Bob took to be a fan of hers.  He made an idle comment about how beautiful she was in the 60's and how it was a shame her weight had gone up so much as she had well documented health issues due to her weight.  The reply much to Bob's surprise was something to the effect of "yeah, Mom has gone up in weight a lot, but she can't help it.'  A very red faced Bob apologizes profusely as the comment was not meant to be mean.  Her son indicated Aretha was looking for her own older out of print records and Bob says he can look in back and let him know.  

A couple of hours later, still embarrassed for his slip to the son, a limo pulls up in front of the shop. Out comes Aretha walking hurriedly, looking to be in a huff.  Bob hears her enter the shop and in her loud unmistakable voice she calls out "Where is Bob Garnick!"  Bob replies 'over here' and is formulating an apology for this diva, the Queen of Soul he has apparently insulted enough to warrant a dressing down.  She walks up to him and says 'My Boy says that you...' (waiting for it to come at him, he braces for the blow) 'have some of my old records? Where are they? I don't have all day!"   

A very relived Bob says right this way Mrs Franklin and shows her the stock which she happily buys.  

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1 hour ago, TomFest said:

I can believe Aretha was no nonsense. Loved her bit in The Blues Brothers movie.  What a voice she had.  I always kind of assume that artists already own all of their own back catalog of records, but obviously not.

If you think about it Aretha or Tom surely had some copies of stuff to give visitors but they need to replenish at some point. These guys sell wicked cheap, most catalog titles are 4-5 dollars a record here. So its a bargain bin really and a way for her to save money...  

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These are mighty fine stories!!!

Plus you can never have too much of the good stuff, I guess, whether it's your own or someone else's. 

Maybe their complete-ist collector antennae perk up when they're near lots of possible gold. Frustrating when it's too messy to find stuff. I'm definitely Team Aretha on this one!  

Embarrassing about saying anything that might be taken as an insult... to her son. Blush! 

I'm another dedicated fan of "Blues Brothers" movie. (As surely all right-minded music fans are!) Ray Charles' music repair shop, Land Of 1000 Dances dance sequence, ah, it's all good. 

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3 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

These are mighty fine stories!!!

....

I'm another dedicated fan of "Blues Brothers" movie. (As surely all right-minded music fans are!) Ray Charles' music repair shop, Land Of 1000 Dances dance sequence, ah, it's all good. 

Thank you!!  And B.B. is one of the best movies ever made! Too bad they NEVER HAD A SEQUEL....  I named my dogs Jake and Elwood and when we lost Elwood our youngest pup was named "Carrie" after Jake's un-named Girlfriend.  Truth be told our Carrie takes more after Steven Kings version than the Mrs Fisher.... the sequel though:  It does not exist as far as I am concerned.... but sadly I recently learned I may need to finally watch it as the original Hoodoo Man Mr Junior Wells is actually in the movie! The one thing they got right with the original is casting Ray Charles, Donald Duck Dunn, Matt Guitar Murphy, Blue Lou, John Lee and too many others to mention  in prominent roles in the film.  Cab Calloway is priceless in this flick! and yes, Bob has met Cab Calloway... 

Back on topic, years ago when the record store newer they actually had (if memory of the conversation serves 4) listening booths in the store. There was a night club that would draw Big Band era musicians to Lowell and the places reputation was well established even in the 1940's and 50's!   So when Bob was but a wee lad the greats like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and others would come by during the day while killing time before they went on stage to listen to the latest and greatest records in the booth. So it was not uncommon for visiting musicians to swing into the shop.  Bob showed me some pictures when my wife and  were in a couple of weekends ago. He had canceled checks from Ben Orr, play bills from the 50s and 60s in a binder and the store used to have a panel truck to make local deliveries as they were a TV and record factory service center even back then.  

I could tell Bob was a bit wistful when he mentioned time the young and beautiful Judy Garland once appeared in the store unexpectedly. This was  to the delight of the even younger Bob who was almost certainly smitten by the young woman. Not a lot of details on that as this one was more an aside that was told around the time he was telling me about meeting Aretha and Mariah Carry who was apparently just awful to be around, Bob being a gentleman gave no other details on Mariah Carey

Its almost unimaginable what has gone on in the store over the last 90 years or so! 

 

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I wonder if celebrities understand that when they behave badly, those stories live forever.  Or maybe they don't care.  Of course the opposite is also true - when they are kind to someone "beneath" them, those stories live forever too.

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Well I met Ron Blair and Steve Ferrone at the celebration in LA back in October and I hold them in high esteem.  I know someone on here met Scott Thurston once and he was not very cool and that story is still mentioned.... So you are right for sure about both things being memorable the good and the bad.  Ive met a lot of artists over the years in small venues. Amy Mann, John Hiatt, Jr Wells, Buddy Guy and Joan Osborne.   

Not sure how many Aimee Mann (till tuesday) fans are on here, but she had two solo albums at the time I met her.  She was very kindly signing things for people and she is a very  pretty woman and has an amazing voice. I was a little star struck when I met her, so when she asked how to sign my CD I said 'to Jeff'. She asked do you want me to say anything else? and flustered I said, I don't know, maybe I'm with stupid or whatever.... Whatever and I'm With Stupid are the names of her albums....  It took me showing my frined Dave the cover a few minutes later to realize what I asked her to do and she never batted an eye. Even posed for a picture with what may be a slight smirk...  It took Dave about 10 seconds to start mocking me as that is what friends are for.... ;)  

Now back to record store stories.  I did buy a new record player from them yesterday and got a short history lesson there about the unit and its origin. The player a Caliphone 1450K was the mainstay of american schools for decades. If you had a slide show with a record that beeped you likely listed to it played on one of these. I'm told by David that they retailed for 800 new in 1950 so were top of the line state of the art. Sadly as records were phased out most schools tossed the players in the trash. A million made and 950,000 tossed in landfills. David went through it tip to top and cleaned, lubricated and adjusted everything to like new. It sits on 4 spring vibration dampening feet and can play 78, 45, 33 and 16 RPM discs!  It has a built in speaker and an output jack for external speakers and a microphone input for a microphone! So it is the original Karaoke machine I guess. I bought a headphone to RCA jack today so I'm looking forward to hooking it up and giving something a spin... 

This is David the oldest brother on the left and Robert or Bob  on the right. You can see the clutter all around behind them.

49210161671_0b25090724_c.jpg David and Robert

Here you can see the stacks of CDs, Albums and various record players Juke boxes and TVs in various states of repair or for sale. 

49210388457_a86d098447_c.jpg

This is down town Lowell a few blocks from the shop on a lovely snowy week day. 

49209679323_fd1a1f6761_c.jpgLowell 

49209679238_09cd396c1f_c.jpg Lowell City Hall.

 

5205348520_d960dd8987_b.jpg 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Shelter said:

^ makes me think of Kerouac..

Face-palm....  yeah, Jack was in the shop a lot when he was a stoner and before he got famous.  This park dedicated to him is a 10 min walk from the shop. I am not a huge fan, found his writing to be too meandering for my tastes but he is likely one of the most famous people to come out of Lowell...  Bob only mentioned him in passing thus far so no real story to share other than he was defiantly a customer given it was the only record shop in Lowell.

 

general-of-view-of-the-jack-kerouac-comm 

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So as luck would have it, I needed to go to Lowell last night and I was able to again visit with David and Bob.  Got a few more stories and traded some CDs in for LPs.  In regards to Kerouac, according to Bob he did not spend much time in the store as "he was a bum that walked the city streets picking up and smoking cigarette butts and didn't have money for records."  David who was sitting nearby chimed in "Yeah but he used to go to the same bars as me and he was a bum until he made it big with that book of his"  Bob continued the story saying how the city of Lowell really milked Kerouac name with the park and getting people to visit Lowell to see the above park, Bob went on to mention how it was strange how 'rain coats keep popping up that were owned by Jack on ebay, but I never saw him walk around in more than one"    Bob was also disappointed that Dylan never came into the shop as he has played Lowell a number of times over the years as recent as the last few months. 

I know either Robert Plant or Jimmy Page came to Lowell specifically to see the park recently as it made local news at the time so its sort of a big deal for the city...   more to follow as time permits. :) 

 

Oh, Paul the middle brother has been in FL since my wife and visited together for the first time a few weeks ago. Hopefully the snow does not prevent him from coming home after being there since thanksgiving as I'm sure he will have some stories to share as the middle brother.  The place opened in 1934 and they had three locations at one point. Bob is glad they are down to one now. He started working there in get this..... 1956 with Paul starting in 55 or so and David starting to work there in 1954....  mind you it was only part time for Bob in 56..... 😂 he didn't go full time until a few years later and has worked there continuously since then...  I spent 14 years in one job and hated it. I guess the big difference is Bob loves what he does. they ship about 50 packages at a time on ebay so they are doing something right.... 

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Its been very hectic lately and my son now has his license so my excuses to visit the shop have thinned out some.  I managed to slip out of town and over to Lowell on New Years Eve Day.  Happy to say Paul has returned from Florida and the balance has once again been restored in the store and the brothers can chide on another in equal measure again.  Its amazing watching these brothers work together. They are so alike and different at the same time but they have been working together forever more or less, a quick scan above does not show me writing this before but the oldest one David has been there off and on since about 1955, David started about 1956 and Bob started about 1957.  Their Dad started things in 1934 and ran the store with them for years. They expanded to as many as three stores at one point with Bob's wife running one location in Nashua, a Mill town about 15 miles upstream on the Merrimack Rive. This was their second biggest store back in the day  the other being in nearby Dracut with Bob holding the center and keeping tabs on all three locations.****

Alright how about something about Richard Wayne Penniman AKA, Little Richard? If I'm not mistaken and I won't bother with google search Little Richard (LR) preformed the wedding service for Tom and Dana so there is a nice Tom Petty connection there.  Years ago Little Richard lived in a hotel in L.A. and as famous people often do he had an entire floor he rented full time. Bob was a long time fan of LR and happened to know that he was living in the hotel near his destination. He was in L.A. to visit his daughter for Thanksgiving.  His daughter is in the movie business and has worked for loads of "A listers" like Barbara Streisand and she knows all manner of people in the business like Ray Romano who she introduced her Dad to.  I believe the hotel was near the LA Hard Rock which was also having some kind of event Bob was attending in addition to having Thanksgiving with her. 

Bob checked in the hotel and his wife was off with his daughter shopping, with plans to meet for lunch later in the day. The hotel was somewhat posh and as he road the elevator up to his second floor room, he asked the Bell Hop if LR was still staying at the hotel.  Bob's enthusiasm is infectious and I think Bob is as big a fan of LR as I am of Tom and the boys. The bell hop says yes he does, and Bob asks excitedly if he can meet him.  The bell hop says he is expecting LR shortly and be in the lobby in 20 min or so.  Bob gets settled into the room and quickly heads downstairs.   Within moments Bob sees LR enter the lobby with a pair of Mr T like body guards as he was advised to do he gets in the elevator and Bob feigns surprise at seeing LR and asks if it is indeed him. 

Now I think anyone reading this will agree LR is still a star but his moment in the limelight is a memory for him. He still has plenty of star power and a personality as big as his is hard to miss.  However LR is delighted to be recognized and the two more or less became fast friends.  LR ever the gracious host to a guest he was not expecting, offers a tour of his suites each littered with gold records, awards and memorabilia from his career.  LR invites Bob and his family to have Thanksgiving dinner with him! Bob knowing his wife will not be happy to have a stranger for Thanksgiving graciously declines the offer. LR not to be daunted says then you must have lunch with me! So they arrange to meet up in a couple of hours for lunch with his daughter and wife. They have a lovely kosher meal with a special menu LR has requested knowing his guest is a vegetarian in addition to being Kosher.  The food is amazing and the conversation rich. Of course LR pays for the meal again ever the gracious host.  

Bob is rarely if ever star struck but Little Richard brought out the kid in him and the excitement was contagious as I said. This story quickly morphed into the time he met Rudy Vallee.  Rudy one of the original teen heartthrobs of the 1950's still liked to tour extensively into the late 70's and 80's.  Years ago there was an auto repair shop behind Garnick's Records.  Rudy's van needed some work done and coincidentally he had an issue with some of his PA system and the shop working on his van sent him over to Garnick's to effect repairs on his amplifier and help pass time while the van was worked on and before his show later that night in town.  

Bob of course was delighted to have him in the store. Now in addition to being a delightful person Bob is an amazing salesmen. I personally bought a copy of Elvis's Moody Blue on Blue vinyl despite not needing to own it in the least. So while Rudy is having his amp fixed by Paul, Bob sells Rudy a Television as they were a major seller of TVs just like Best Buy or Target are today. Now in addition to being a fan of Rudy's Bob knows his mom is a huge fan of the guy, so Bob gets Rudy to call and talk to his mom who totally geeked out talking to a living legend and idol of hers from when she was a somewhat young woman.  I believe his Mom spent her fair time in the shop and for sure his Dad who started things knew as many famous folks from the big band era like Count Basie and Duke Ellington who used to tour venues in cites like Lowell later in their career. Bob's mom called him slightly miffed later as the call obviously was very unexpected and left her somewhat flustered. 

For most people the story would end there but Bob finished it by telling me Rudy brought the TV with him to his NY apartment. He apparently split his time in NY and VT and Lowell was somewhere in between the two and I believe he was preforming in town when Bob met him at his store. Well some years later Rudy remembered where he had bought the TV and when it had an issue he called Garnick's and asked Bob to send one of his older brothers to fix it for him in his NY apartment. Some people would have blindly complied with a stars request as Bob had gotten the favor of a call to Mom from her idol. But Bob being Bob, he politely declined the repair job and indicated where he could get it repaired locally as Bob seems to know everybody everywhere..  

 

 

***I have to be honest at this point I have more than less started the ball rolling on writing a proper book about this place and will more likely than not start a blog somewhere to help share the stories and things will be originating from my Scriviner writing program. So this is the last entry directly on the forum, for sure I'm looking at a niche market for the book but its interesting getting the stories from Bob and David and putting them into written form and I think there should be some market for it...

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1 hour ago, TomFest said:

I was going to say - I enjoyed reading all of this and maybe the guy should write a book!  Looks like you had the same idea!

he knows there is so much there. a wealth of history and artifacts in the vault but he is not a writer. I actually gave him about 5 pages of the martial above "(slightly edited) to read my last visit. They are working on my new record player (it was running slightly fast and the table was not turning as freely as it should)  and it should be ready fairly soon as its a simple fix. 

He has started trying to sell me the store and I am very tempted but could never give fair market value as they have over 100K records and tens of thousands of cassettes, DVDs, CDs and VHS- almost every format you can imagine.  He asked what I have in my wallet and offered to take my credit card to pay for the place. If I did not want to move away from the area I would work on making it happen. Sadly his daughter is in the movie business, enjoys the music but lives in LA and I dont think wild horses could get her to run the store with the life she leads out there...  I fear they may close for good at some point which guts me....  It wouldn't be work but I want to live in the woods in a cabin down below...  I could run the place very happily but have other dreams at the moment... :( 

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All of this is so fascinating! 

This makes me chuckle: 

"Now in addition to being a delightful person Bob is an amazing salesmen. I personally bought a copy of Elvis's Moody Blue on Blue vinyl despite not needing to own it in the least."

Followed by: 

"He has started trying to sell me the store... "

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I had a chance to visit the store earlier this week after dropping the first 6 or so pages of the book with Bob.  Clearly the brothers talked about this as they were just a little bit "off" that visit; Paul was Paul and unchanged but I've had the least opportunity to chat with him as he was in FL on vacation from Thanksgiving up until quite recently just before new year. David on the other hand seemed very anxious to tell me stories, more so than normal and he told me two: one about NYC Times Square while he was on leave in 1958 and the other was a history of the Seeburg juke box, which I have since verified with Wiki as true. He has been working on those since they came out and has been working on older models since he was 9 years old!   Not to be vain but generally when I go into the store Bob is flitting around endlessly like a pin ball but this time he stayed in his office for the first 45 min.

When I finally went to him he was a little strained at first so I got to the point and asked about the pages, he loved them but was nervous about talking to me "on the record" with a recorder going which is fine.  He eventually opened up and told me a wonderful story about Chuck Berry that I need to write out and a few other stories about artists I was less familiar with from the Doo Wop era but none the less interesting and turns out the music was great. Anyone here familiar with "Mash Potato and Gravy?" Well Bob was friends with the singer and he used to not only book musical acts but also plays multiple instruments and would back the people he booked if they needed a rhythm section when they came into town.  He also told me more about Chris Farlowe who visits the shop a few times a year. Chris has sung extensively with Van Morrison, and just about anyone else from the era in addition to having his own hit albums. I need a few days to get things written out to share but it looks like the project should move forward. :D  The good news is I brought a note book and was able to jot down notes as we talked so it should be easier to get things written out more accurately moving forward.   Not to mention being good friends with "Bowser" from Sha na na and telling me a bunch of backstory about him and his work to preserve doo wop and protect musicians names..

Stay tuned music history fans!   If anyone here would be interested in reading pages as I produce them and helping with me getting the right amount of detail I am open to sharing with a couple of people.  I already have one advanced reader here and I greatly appreciate any feedback to make this a better project. :) 

Jeff 

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On January 2, 2020 at 11:33 AM, Hoodoo Man said:

I have to be honest at this point I have more than less started the ball rolling on writing a proper book about this place and will more likely than not start a blog somewhere

That's really great (Hoodoo) man! I hope you have fun writing it and it turns out good etc.

cheers

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Thanks, this one is nearly writing itself. If you enjoy the stories above you'd like the book as they are basically a little bit expanded and slightly refined (my wife has better punctuation and grammar than I ever did, I can spot most misspellings by looking for the red squiggles under them but some times its so bad google can't make suggestions for me....

The other changes I had to make were removing reference  to the board in the posts above for obvious reasons... even though neither Bob nor I ever met Tom I have sprinkled him in here and there For Real. ;) 

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