Vinyl collectors, music aficionados, audiophiles and musicians will be uniting at record stores across the world on Saturday, April 19 for Record Store Day, devoted to celebrating independent record stores and the mighty vinyl record. Here in Halifax, Taz Records (1521 Grafton Street), Obsolete Records (2454 Agricola Street) and Black Buffalo Records (5687 West Street) will be participating in the celebrations with limited edition releases (Taz posted a list of all the records they’ve requested on their website, the confirmed list will be up by the end of the week.)
The festivities run from 9am-7pm, so wake up early to snatch up these rarities before they’re gone. “Sometimes we might just get one or two copies and it could be gone instantly,” says James Reid, part-time sales clerk at Taz. “Last year people started lining up at 6:30 in the morning,” says Billy Donnelly, full-time sales clerk at Taz and father of Jimmy Donnelly (owner and manager of Taz).
“Records make up about three-quarters of our sales nowadays,” says Donnelly. “I won’t name names but we do have one customer who comes in here who has 150,000 records.”
Some may think that vinyl is becoming less popular but it’s quite the opposite.
“With an mp3 you don’t have the artwork, you don’t have the liner notes and you don’t have that physical record either that you can hold and show off to your friends,” says Kevin Beal, owner of Black Buffalo Records. “So I think that’s what the appeal is to a lot of people.”
With these steady sales, you can rest assured that our beloved record stores (Taz is the oldest record store in Halifax—operating since 1983) will be sticking around and keeping our collections stacked for years to come.
“I think Taz is good at least until the year 2400,” says Donnelly, laughing. Having celebrated their 30th anniversary just last year, Taz has built up quite the following. When bands are in town, many make a point to visit the old record store. “Bands like Fucked Up have come through here,” says Reid. “And even Van Morrison,” adds Donnelly.
And for RDS there will be many bands stopping by Taz Records to provide live music all afternoon, from 11am-4pm. The lineup includes: Adam Baldwin, Cousins, Monomyth, Tim Crabtree, Old & Weird and Uncle Fester & Ambition (feat. Ghettosocks & Cam Smith).
Aside from Reid and Donnelly's love of music and records—they love when musicians stop by to pick up a record or to play a show.
“There have been so many great moments at Taz,” says Reid. “You just never know who’s going to come in or what’s coming next.”
“One of the funniest experiences I’ve had was when a group of kids—they were about 15 years old and there were half a dozen of them—came in and I saw one of them run over to his friends and say with great wonder: ‘hey guys, did you know that with vinyl you get music on both sides?” says Donnelly. “That was one of my favourite moments.”
Vinyl junkies will have another opportunity to find some vinyl rarities at the Halifax Record Fair, Saturday, May 3 at the Maritime Hall (2901 Windsor Street).
“The original owner of Taz, Bob Switzer, organized the first Halifax Record Fair back in the ‘80s and there was a group that brought back the fair in the early 2000s,” says Beal. “Then there was a void of a few years without any fairs so my partner (Phil MacDonald) and I started it up three years ago and we’re on our seventh one.”
There will be 30 different vendors at the record fair from as far as Montreal, but most are coming from Atlantic Canada. Beal says the best of the best will be there—an event record collectors will not want to miss.
If you don't stock up, what will you leave your little brother when you move to San Francisco to become a stewardess?