| Ric's Recollections
257 Lakeshore Road E.
Jan 29/17 - 25 years of Ric's Recollections
The Times, They are a Changing
Bob Dylan’s song title so aptly describes the record industry over the last 30 years and it was easy to get swept up in all these changes.
I started selling records, cds and tapes almost 30 years ago and have witnessed many of these changes. In the beginning, I sold at a flea market to “test the waters” and see if anyone else really felt like me that vinyl lps were really good sonically, and that the new format, cd, was just something new that would sit in many audio collections right beside the vinyl lps. Music fans had already gone through the tape debacle, (remember the 8 tracks?) and the creation of cassettes. The tape medium could sound really good, unfortunately, the tape got “eaten” or stretched or the unexplained fading out of sound that eventually caused consumers to look for another medium. The CD was billed as “perfect sound forever” and many people bought into that. Being an avid record collector, I was late to get into the cd market and besides, lots of people were getting rid of their vinyl.
I opened Ric’s Recollections 25 years ago this February in Port Credit. The reason I opened the retail store was my enjoyment of music, the collecting aspect and the ability to “turn on” customers to “new” old music. I wanted to share my knowledge with eager vinyl enthusiasts and learn from them as well. The first store was a small 300 square foot shop at 321 Lakeshore Rd E. Inside this little space, I carried about 1000 cassettes, 500 used cds and about 12,000 lp records. In the beginning, I didn’t carry 45s and to this day, still don’t carry 78s. Inventory wasn’t necessarily easy to get, but as people “up-graded” titles to cd, some rare lps became available. I tried learning something new about records each day and believe it or not, retained a lot of neat trivia and info about the lps.
Ric’s Recollections became a “fixture” at the collectable fairs and all the time I was trying to learn more. There is just too much to learn, I wish I had started sooner!
I outgrew the original shop after being there 10 years but managed to stay there (and keep it relatively neat and tidy) for 18 years. Hard to believe compared to the current space. We moved to 257A Lakeshore Rd. E. about eight years ago. It’s a bright and spacious 1000 square feet ( 3 times the size of the old store) With this move the cassettes were phased out, cds were increased and 45s became some of our stock items. I truly believed that lps were still a viable medium and in fact, found that more and more people tended to agree with me. Really rare albums are once again seeing the light of day. The argument now seems to be about the remastering process used for these new lps. (analogue is what you look for) The tape era was essentially over and the cd business was starting to show some cracks. I never expected the demise of cds would happen so rapidly.
The current “scene” in the music business seems a bit precarious as well. There are a few things to give concern; the streaming of music has become the norm for casual listeners and background. Hipsters are buying vinyl at a frantic pace and I fear that they won’t realize how good the sound can be. They don’t value the experience and may jump out of the market creating a glut of product. This could become the “perfect storm” that manufacturers find themselves sitting on millions of dollars of unsold LPs. This happened during the 80s and real music fans suffered ( try and find original Tragically Hip or Tom Petty lps from the 80s)
The internet has made collecting lps and the knowledge required, easier so that anyone could become a “dealer” with a learn as you go attitude.
Some of the older, more established and better greater Toronto area record stores have shut down and it’s a shame that they have been squeezed out of the market. Remember, these “old guys” have been around for quite a while and have lots to share.
I was honoured to be selected by a major on line publication as top ten record store in the GTA. I guess 25 years isn’t too long to wait, after all, there is a saying; “good things come to those who wait”
Happy 25 year Anniversary Ric’s Recollections !!
PS. I wrote this article a week before the HMV announcement. Shakey times indeed
PPS. Just in, a nice blues collection and awesome audiophile collection