Chicago area record stores past and present (with photos)

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by larry333, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. fsutall

    fsutall Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I'm making a quick trip to Chicago this week and would appreciate suggestions for used CD shopping within a reasonable distance of downtown. I won't have a car so will be walking or riding the CTA. I know of the Reckless Records on Madison Street and will be heading there. Thanks!
     
  2. spaulding

    spaulding Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Windy City
    Reckless is the one to hit downtown - not much else within walking distance. But the CTA Blue Line will get you to Dusty Groove (the Division stop) and to a larger Reckless (either Division or Damen stops).

    Both well worth checking out.
     
  3. HarvG

    HarvG Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
    Kenmac Records on Devon Avenue in Chicago, from the 2/6/65 issue of Billboard. A pricey place, but a favorite location in West Rogers Park for many decades...bought many of my original Beatles singles and albums there.
     

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  4. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    And there is a Reckless up North on Broadway that is also a good deal larger than the downtown Reckless. If you are into jazz, check out the Jazz Record Mart. It is solidly downtown, near Michigan Avenue just north of the river. They also have a small non-jazz selection too. For indie, experimental small label stuff, you could also check out Permanent Records, but you'd have to look up how convenient that would be via CTA.

    And I'd give a +1 to the Dusty Groove and Milwalkee Reckless recs as well.

    Peek at the different stores websites to get an idea of each store's strengths.
     
  5. KevinP

    KevinP Forum Resident

    Location:
    Daejeon
  6. JayMar

    JayMar New Member

    HarvG is a very close friend of mine and I wanted to add to his post about "Kenmac Records" in Chicago.
    Thinking of those days back in the mid to late sixties reminds me of the emotional connection we all have for the music we love.
    The very first 45 I ever bought there with my own money was "Daydream Believer" followed by "I Feel Fine". The day I picked up my very own copy of "Meet The Beatles" is a day I will never forget. It was the winter of 1966. My Mom took me to Kenmac and she let me pick out an album to buy. Mac the owner pictured above in Harv's post, took my mother aside and assured her that the album was very good and not to worry about any bad lyrics. This was 1966! Carrying home my beloved Beatles through the snow, walking down Devon Avenue with my Mom was a day I wish I could live over again.
    Our entire group of friends were there almost daily, not just to buy but to hang out too. Through the remainder of the decade, Kenmac was our world. Beatles 45's with picture sleeves, new release albums, phonograph needles and one of the best oldies collections anywhere.
    Strangely enough, the back of the store was devoted to "Lionel Trains".
    A very nice man "Vic" ran the counter and knew much more about trains than he did music. Thats okay though because he always wore his blue button down sweater and looked more like a real train conductor than Mac the owner ever could.
    Kenmac was one of many Chicago record stores that gave their sales figures to both WLS and WCFL radio every Friday. Back in those days, both these powerhouse AM stations would print their weekly top 40 surveys for all to read and follow as your favorite song began its chart climb to the top.
    Into the 70's, I helped out a bit doing stock and would ride with their buyer to several record distributors as he would pick out new releases he thought would sell well at the store.
    Kenmac records is a beautiful memory that I hold close to my heart. The music lived and we enjoyed and cherished every single moment spent in that store.
    Today, the store is a middle-eastern owned luggage and electronic shop.
     
  7. fsutall

    fsutall Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Thanks for the suggestions!
     
  8. I was just in Chicago, and the store "Jazz Record Mart" is really nice for Jazz & Blues.
     

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  9. larry333

    larry333 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Park Ridge
    jazzrecordmart2013jan.jpg
    The Jazz Record Mart - January 5, 2013 : Chicago
     
  10. full moon

    full moon Forum Resident

    Wax Trax.
     
  11. steve_miller

    steve_miller Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago,IL
    I used to go in there every now and then, thanks for the tip.


    Haven't made it through all the posts yet. Has the Crows Nest made the list in Crest Hill / [Joliet area] ?
     
  12. kevinsinnott

    kevinsinnott Forum Coffeeologist

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    I think I saw it earlier. Although that store is closed, the Disc Replay nearby is currently among the most energized stores in the Chicago area.
     
  13. AZRunner

    AZRunner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Heather taught a film course I took at Columbia College in the early 80's, Humor and Film. It was mostly early John Waters films if I remember correctly. She was pretty cool.
     
  14. AZRunner

    AZRunner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    My dad owned a restaurant/bar just down the street from Jazz Record Mart. I walked past it almost every day of my childhood as I came up out of the subway station on Grand Ave. I never went inside though because I didn't appreciate jazz as a kid, but I sure remember it.
     
  15. AZRunner

    AZRunner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    There was a small record store on Howard Street just east of the El when I was buying my first records in the early 70's. i can't remember the name. Does anyone remember this place?

    When I was in 8 th grade we moved further west and I bought almost all of my records and concert tickets at the Flip Side on Foster.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. feinstei9415

    feinstei9415 Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    There was a little shack in Skokie on Oakton St. near the Skokie Swift tracks around 1970-1980. They sold imports, pirates (I bought Beatles Vee Jay pirates there such as "Jolly What!"), and boots. Then, down the street (in between Skokie Blvd and Crawford), there was a large record store (I believe that it was called "Skokie Records") that I believe was part owned by Jim Stagg of WCFL.
     
  17. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Oh yeah, I remember both of those stores. I bought many of my records from the little shack you speak of. It was the hip/hippie record store of Skokie. I bought Let It Be with the book there, and the Hey Jude single and the Wonderwall album at the other store you mention .:D The little shack store was sort of kiddie corner from Skokie's first hippie clothing store. That store moved from it's smaller location next to the Skokie movie theater. For a year or so Skokie threatened to become Old Town North.
    ( Old Town was Chicago's hippie area)

    One day, (and it might have been the day I bought the import Let It Be) the three or four people working and/or in the store insisted that I was Steve Stills and wouldn't take no for an answer. I assured them I wasn't but after a few minutes I had to sign my best Steve Stills to a couple things to get out of there. ( true story)
     
  18. kevinsinnott

    kevinsinnott Forum Coffeeologist

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    Record City was owned by Jim Stagg, who'd been a WCFL deejay. One of the managers was a friend of mine.
     
  19. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Clapton-at-House-of-Lewis-M.jpg And,... re Skokie: Unbelievably, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker played a jam thing in a parking lot behind Skokie's House Of Lewis clothing store. For non- Chicagoans House of Lewis was a famous hippie clothing store in Old Town in Chicago. They figured Skokie was happening and opened a store there for awhile.

    I wasn't there because I was off at college. I wouldn't have believed the story but found this picture and the blurb from someone who was there with the photo.

    "It was actually House of Lewis when he played. A small dirt parking lot behind the store. No stage, just moving blankets on the ground. Total '60's. Pure Smack, a band from Detroit, opened the show. I was standing in the crowd (which was amazingly small) next to Bonnie Bramlett when Clapton played with Ginger Baker and a couple others. Jack Bruce was not there. When they played "I'm So Glad" Bonnie said to no one in particular, "****er sure is glad isn't he?" Ahhh, good times."
     
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  20. alchemy

    alchemy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sterling, VA
    In the early 1970's in lived in Iowa. I remember going to Chicago in 1974 to a wonderful record shop, I believe called Uno's Bizzare Bizare. I think it was in Old Town. Does anyone remember this? Is the name correct? Does anyone remember it's location? Any photo's
     
  21. kevinsinnott

    kevinsinnott Forum Coffeeologist

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    Yes, it was a fairly large space on (I think) the east side of Welles just a block or so south of North Avenue. When my wife and I were dating we used to go there and walk around after eating a huge bowl of soup at the Bowl and Roll in the Cave, which was run by a nice couple. We actually considered moving to the neighborhood after getting married, but the area had became unaffordable for our means.
     
  22. kouzie

    kouzie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Batavia, IL
    They've moved again, back to Batavia, and in a space bigger than their Geneva location. Only problem is that it's pretty tough to find. Super nice guys.
     
  23. kouzie

    kouzie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Batavia, IL
    RaveOn (and then later Johnny B. Goode) made a huge impact on me. Growing up in Wheaton, it was a short bike ride away for me. I remember going to JBG one afternoon to pick up some things I had on hold and saw the place was cleaned out. The sign on the door said something to the effect of "Had tax problems. Gone to Canada."

    Looney Tunes on Roosevelt (across from the old Sportmart and a huge Music Warehouse) was also pretty impactful. I once bought a cassette copy of The Replacements' The **** Hits the Fan there that I nearly wore out. Several years later, I had my car broken in to. Sadly, that cassette was the only thing they took. I was pissed, but oddly respectful that the thief had great taste in music.
     
  24. larry333

    larry333 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Park Ridge
    FYE - Downtown Chicago (January 2013)
    fye_chicago.jpg
     
  25. Planbee

    Planbee Negative Nellie

    Location:
    Chicago
    Maybe they've been mentioned upthread, but I just found out about a place called Old School Records in Forest Park. Are they worth a trip for a CD guy like me, or are they mainly vinyl (like most places seem to be)?

    It's depressing having to rummage through other people's discards at Half Price Books, Disc Replay, etc., as my main source of "offline" CD buying.
     

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