Record Store Report: New Orleans

New Orleans

Another new feature for 2016: Going to do a better job of reporting back about the out-of-town record stores I check out. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Davy, this is just an excuse to work record shopping into the trips you and Mrs. YHT take.”

I have only one response to that accusation.

Let’s start in the Big Easy, where Mrs. YHT and I spent three nights two weeks ago. Taking a trip right before Christmas, one of the most stressful times of the year, may seem a little crazy, and it felt a little crazy when we were making final preparations, but it was awesome. Relaxing, even. We went to a Saints game, ate beignets every morning, walked around the French Quarter a bunch — hand-in-hand, booze-in-hand — and we even got to stop in a few record stores.

We hit three, and while one was atrocious (going to let that one go unnamed), two were excellent. They were:

Euclid Records (3301 Chartres St.)

Euclid 3

What a selection. A ton of new vinyl, lots of used to flip through, a generous New Orleans section for tourists like me, and an upstairs jazz collection that I barely even scratched the surface of. I could have spend half a day there. We were there for a solid hour before Mrs. YHT — very reasonably, it should be said — shot off the “Hey, we’ve been here a while…” flare.

Euclid 2

The person at the counter was extremely friendly when chatting with other customers (OK, so I have a habit of eavesdropping while flipping through records), and he was nice enough to give me a media mailer to keep my two acquisitions safe on the flight home. Those acquisitions:

tUnE-yArDs — Nikki Nack (used, $8)


I passed on getting this when tUnE-yArDs came to the National earlier this year, though I did pick up a few other items. One was this “Water Fountain” 45. I love “Water Fountain” (I’ve embedded the Song Exploder episode about it below), and the 45’s B-side is a Nikki Nack supercut, which started out as fun but gradually made me regret not getting the actual album. Very glad to have gotten a second chance at it. While Discogs says the $8 price point is normal for this pressing — translucent red vinyl! — it still felt like a steal.

Song Exploder 38: tUnE-yArDs

Soul Jazz Records — New Orleans Funk, Volume 1 (new, $32)

New Orleans Funk

Had a minor panic attack trying to decide which volume in this series to get, because they all looked excellent. This is the side of funk I enjoy most — the earliest takes on the genre that linger closer to blues and soul. It wasn’t cheap, but the three discs pack in a ton of great stuff. The day after we got back to Richmond, I had this on from about 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. straight, just cycling through the sides and feeling funky as hell. Looking forward to checking out volumes 2 and 3 (3 is actually on Spotify).

The Meters — “Hand Clapping Song” [Spotify/iTunes]

Skully’z Recordz (907 Bourbon St.)

Skullyz 2

Just a block or two away from our hotel in the French Quarter. So often, stores that are close to the main tourist drag are crap, but I loved Skully’z. It’s tiny — you’d probably measure its footprint in square inchage instead of footage — and that’s definitely part of its charm.

Skullyz 1

You have to work together with the other patrons to make the best of the space, and I got this neat, “We’re all on the same team” vibe while I was in there. Way more fun than the “I’m terrified and we need to walk away very quickly” vibe I got when we stopped in front of the LaLaurie House on the way back to our hotel.

Snagged two things:

Professor Longhair —Hadacol Bounce (new, $23)

Professor Longhair

This was part of the store’s New Orleans section, and I was immediately drawn to the cover art. How badass does Professor Longhair look there? I mean c’mon. Baby YHT actually demands to stare at this record, because she loves the photo so much. It’s a German pressing, and as far as I can tell, it’s still not on Discogs, though I do see an Icelandic pressing. The person behind the counter (also very friendly — almost everyone we met in New Orleans was) said it had just come out the week before.

Not sure if this is the exact right version, but here’s “East St Louis Baby,” which is a dead ringer for Longhair classic “Go To The Mardis Gras.”

Professor Longhair — “East St Louis Baby” [YouTube]

The Shouting Matches — Grownass Man (new, $17)

The Shouting Matches

Found this in the very last bin I was going to look through. I love this album, and I’d been keeping an eye out for it — with no luck — since it came out in 2013. Which is funny, because the person I talked to (Skully himself?) said they’d done really well with it and sold a bunch when it first came out. Seems strangely appropriate that I found it in New Orleans. There’s a bluesy looseness to Grownass Man that reminds me of the atmosphere there. Maybe I’m manufacturing a connection. Either way, it was on my Phil Cook appreciation bucket list, and it may have been the find of the trip. That or Le Big Mac at Cochon Butcher. Holy crap, y’all. Life changing.

The Shouting Matches — “Avery Hill” [Spotify/iTunes]

Dr. John

Dr. John

If you caught yesterday’s post, you already know that I spent a sizable part of last weekend’s visit to PA listening to kickass music with my father-in-law via his new Apple TV. Saturday was devoted to exploring the thousands of radio stations available for streaming through iTunes, but Sunday afternoon had a different focus. While Mrs. YHT and her mom were out shopping — effectively lifting the living room’s usual noise ordinance — Joe and I took full advantage, and things quickly escalated from “Hey, there’s a Dr. John song I wanted to play for you” to a virtual New Orleans music festival.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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Jason Isbell

Here We Rest

Your favorite band is playing in town, but the show is completely sold out. Fortunately, a local radio station is giving away a pair of tickets. You time your phone call just right. You dial the number… busy signal. Shit! You hurriedly dial again… Holy crap, it’s ringing… “Congratulations! You’re our ninth caller and you’re going to see [insert favorite band name here]!”

Sound familiar?

Before last week, I had never won tickets to anything. Like, ever. And even though the scenario I described above may be a little old-fashioned, winning tickets remains one of those those cliched musical experiences (like meeting an idol or catching a projectile guitar pick at the end of an encore) that everyone should have at least once, despite the fact that the interweb has dramatically changed the way ticket giveaways are conducted.

I have Charlottesville’s Starr Hill Brewery and [gulp] Facebook to thank for my very first clichéd, fist-pumping, ticket-winning moment. Last Wednesday, Starr Hill posted a video to Facebook of a mystery substance being pumped into a huge mixing tank alongside the promise that “If you can guess what style of beer it’s going to be, you could WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS to see Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit at The Jefferson Theater this Friday night!” Finally — an opportunity to combine my [cracks knuckles confidently] formidable familiarity with beer and my love of concert-going in a way that doesn’t involve fighting through a crowd to pee halfway through a headliner’s set! Alright! Two guesses later — “Wheat beer” was wrong; “Belgian IPA” was right — I earned two spots at Friday’s Isbell show, which proved to be nothing short of amazing.

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