Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Musical Adventure

I have a dirty little secret to get off my chest: I went through a seriously intense iTunes infatuation. You know, it's midnight and suddenly you just HAVE to hear an old Johnny Cash song, and you realize you don't have it amid all your musical collection, so you fire up the ol' Mac and bingo -- one credit card charge later there it is. You don't even have to put on shoes! But then there's the hangover: the credit card bill arrives, and you have nothing tangible to show for it. No cd, no case, no liner notes. Nothing to feel and hold and show your friends.

Then I started thinking what if everyone bought their music that way. What would happen to all of the (few remaining) record stores? (And yes, I still think of them as record stores, which I know dates me, and I don't count the little music alcoves in the major electronics or variety stores.) Unfortunately, we know what would happen to them: they would go away. And I know I don't want to see Music Millenium go away. (Or, for that matter, Hot Poop, Walla Walla's only bing bang record store. But I'll save that post for another day....)

Music Millenium -- "A place where the music and the people still matter," according to the tag line -- is a local treasure. The store opened on March 15, 1969. Started by Don MacLeod, his wife Loreen, and brother-in-law Dan Lissey, it is -- I believe -- the oldest record store in existence in the Pacific Northwest. It began as 800 square feet on the corner of 32nd and East Burnside, then added the Classical Millenium annex and the 23rd Avenue store (the latter recently closed).

The store offers new and used CDs, records, and DVDs, along with various music and movie related paraphernalia such as posters and some not-so-related extras. There is just nothing like giving yourself an hour -- or more -- to browse through all of the various sections, finding bargains, discovering old friends, and, best of all, happening upon new treasures. Browsing on line just isn't satisfying and doesn't lend itself to the same kind of serendipity that you get in person. So yesterday I treated myself to just that kind of ill-afforded but immensely satisfying serendipitous trip through the store. This is what I came home with (and yes, I realize it's ridiculously eclectic, but that's how I like my music): some early Josh Ritter, a Lily Allen sampler, The Be Good Tanyas, Cat Power, the latest from Amy Ray and Marcia Ball, the Portland Cello Project, and a blues CD from Joan Armatrading. Now that's what I call satisfying! Amost as thrilling as a spontaneous stroll through an independent bookstore. : ) If you haven't been music shopping for a while -- or even if you have -- treat yourself to a visit to Music Millenium!

1 comment:

  1. Sally,

    You inspired me! Here's what I picked up over the lunch hour today at Millennium:

    * Ready for the Flood, the new CD from former Jayhawks Mark Olson & Gary Louris;

    * Inspiration Information by Shuggie Otis

    * Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label (an amazing series that gathers lost records by little-known, under the radar soul and r&b labels)

    * Bob Martin, Midwest Farm Disaster (this came out in 1972, and I've been looking for it on CD ever since I heard a couple tunes on KBOO about ten years ago. Think Nashville-era Dylan meets John Prine. Great stuff.

    Long live Millennium!



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