Princeton Record Exchange!!!

So, I was invited along on a trip this past Memorial Day weekend to the incomparable Princeton Record Exchange, 20 South Tulane Street, Princeton, NJ 08542, what can I say? HOLY CRAP!!! This place offers a mind-boggling amount of material of all genres, rarities, classics, out of print, brand new and flat-out-unheard-of. Those in the know (everybody but me apparently) will not be surprised by my reaction because I do not doubt that any music obsessive whom has set foot in that joint for the first time (after the first hour) recognized the enormity of the collection and more importantly the WORLD OF MUSIC (echo, echo, echo). wow. Now I must explain that it’s not as though this is a huge space…it’s not. But there is a huge collection crammed into a medium-sized space. My friend/producer, James, thankfully drew a rough map of the layout of the joint despite his wife and his sisters’ jests over a pre-spree lunch. The minute I saw the layout of the place I began sorting through the ever-present list in my head of new releases, old releases, genres I’m interested in and have been accruing over the course of however long it has been since I last went to a record store….CD shop? Media outlet? Hell I still call ’em record stores…that’s what I’m there for, regardless the format (CD’s are cheapest) I still call ’em record stores. New releases are easiest, if they don’t have what you’re looking for some other place will but the Princeton Record Exchange has everything…it’s just a matter of the hunt.
Once I enter the place with a triumphant cry of “records” in my best metal falsetto my focus narrows onto the immediate list but the peepers are quickly enticed by various sundry goods which have been lying dormant in my consciousness. James played Virgil, occasionally dropping wisdom on me like, “they have baskets”. Turns out I needed a basket. The 2 hours we spent there felt like 5 minutes. You have to narrow your focus for what you want to hear and yet open your mind enough to allow for other possibilities to drift in. Prior to the trip James received an email from the store alerting him of three very large jazz collections coming into the store from I think North Carolina? Philadelphia? Jersey? I forget where they came from but those jazz shelves were bursting with goodness, not to mention the stacks BENEATH the shelves!!! A cornucopia of great jazz listens. I love Duke Ellington and I cannot recommend highly enough his live concert at The Whitney! Loose performances of such beautiful compositions, Duke was a class act but quick with a joke too! James/Virgil may have directed me to that one. It helps to have someone super-knowledgeable about music in general and many specific genres as well to guide you through the stacks and shelves! Be not tempted by CDs you’re pretty sure will only get a cursory curious listen, go for the gold! Play the long game! What music will you turn to again and again? It doesn’t always work out this way….as with any journey nothing ventured, nothing gained. I did not properly prepare for this trip i.e. go through my collection and find the CDs I no longer need, listen to and or want (next time) to trade in. But that’s an excellent aspect of the store, the exchange. James got over 80 dollars for the CDs he brought in….takes some of the sting out of the bill on the way out.
Suffice it to say it was an intense, excellent visit. I highly recommend The Princeton Record Exchange. Princeton is a lovely berg and The Bent Spoon has some of the best innovative ice cream flavors ever! I had 3 scoops (hey they’re small!) strawberry/marscapone, banana/butter pecan, and chocoltae/habanero!!!! yummmm
Now when you get home with your loot and you’re deciding which album to spin first you must employ the same tactic that you used in the store. In other words, employ your instinct and intuition. It was a full, fun day, had dinner, now home and winding down….feels like jazz to me….not the Cannonball Adderly/John Coltrane that might have too much pepper….Duke Ellington at The Whitney did the trick!
Til the next time dear readers, enjoy your listens!!!


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  1. Pingback: The Who/The Buzzcocks | Philip Lynch Music

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