Take These for a Spin

Stepping into a record store can be a bit intimidating for the casual consumer or the vinyl virgin. So much music … where to begin?

Kind of Blue - Miles Davis

Kind of blue changed jazz for quite some period. The whole lineup is just spectacular.
— Rick Leannais

Stepping into a record store can be a bit intimidating for the casual consumer or the vinyl virgin. So much music … where to begin? In the spirit of National Record Store Day — an annual celebration of vinyl and its independent purveyors around the world, happening this year on June 20 — we asked owners and staff at nine local shops to share their recommendations for records worth adding to your collection. Happy hunting!

Are You Experienced - The Hendrix Experience

John Kerr, 65
Owner, Wazoo Records

Now Spinning:

Three-Way Mirror, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, and Joe Farrell (Reference Recordings, 1985)

“I like just about everything about this record. It has really good vocals. I’ve really gotten into Brazilian [jazz] music in the last few years. It’s something I missed the first time around, late ’60s early ’70s in its heyday, so I’m trying to catch up.”

First Record That Blew My Mind:

Are You Experienced, Jimi Hendrix (Track, 1967)

“It was one of two records that I owned. I played it constantly for days and days in a row. It’s pretty mind-blowing.”

All-Time Favorite:

The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Velvet Underground (Verve, 1967)

“To me, that was the beginning of modern music. It was at the time of Warhol and the Factory scene and all that — this explosion of pop culture. That was the album that symbolized all that to me.”

What's Going On
Photograph by Kailey Howell

What’s Going On, by Marvin Gaye — An album everybody knows, and if they don’t, then they really need to listen to it right now.
— Windy Weber

Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen

Raymond Hayosh, 38
Co-Owner, Found Sound

Now Spinning:

Live at the Harlem Square Club, Sam Cooke (RCA Records, 1963)

“We play it in the store a lot, and I play it at home a lot. It’s a great live record. It’s really raw and it sounds really good on vinyl.”

First Record That Blew My Mind:

Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen (Columbia, 1984)

“My dad used to work at a body shop in Detroit and he always had a random box of cassettes. Born in the USA was in there and I just put it in and I don’t know — something clicked. I think maybe because it was my choice as opposed to the radio and whatever my parents would play.”

All-Time Favorite:

Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys (Capitol Records, 1966)

“It sounds like it came from another planet. It’s like a pop record that sounds really happy, but it’s somber too. The production on it — there are strange sounds on it.”

McCartney II

Ray Cronk, 45
Owner, Rock City Records

Now Spinning:

McCartney II, Paul McCartney (Parlophone/Columbia 1980)

“It is a very out-of-the-ordinary offering from a very familiar artist. It’s developed a reputation as something of a cult classic. There are songs on it that sound fairly modern. There’s a B side that came with it called ‘Secret Friend’ that I’m particularly obsessed with.”

First Record That Blew My Mind:

Destroyer, Kiss (Casablanca, 1976)

“I was 5 years old, I had already been kind of a budding rocker, but that was the first [record] that was mine, that I just played mercilessly. That band runs very deep in my musical DNA. I still go see them with my aunt who gave me that record. I took my 3-year-old to see them last year. He loves them, he loves pretending he’s spitting blood and breathing fire. Incidentally, my shop name is derived from that. The first song on the album is ‘Detroit Rock City.’”

Life of the Plants
Courtesy of Rhino

Jim Dwyer, 57
Co-owner, Encore Records

Now Spinning:

Life of the Plants, Ivan Lee, Lee Scratch Perry, and Peaking Lights (Stone Throw Records, 2019)

“Lee Scratch Perry is a unique, creative individual and he’s one of the masters of dub music. Now, he’s a crazy old man who’s still making cool records.”

All-Time Favorite:

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Brian Eno and David Byrne (WarnerBros., 1981)

“I got into that record through Talking Heads. It was a gateway into Brian Eno’s fabulous catalog. But also, in a way, it sort of invented modern sampling. It was my introduction to African and Arabic music, which you know, growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, and going to a Catholic high school — kind of blasé. … Bush of Ghosts pointed the way to other intellectual curiosities. The title of the record is from an African novel, so I read the novel. Then I got interested in Arabic music as well and started to explore all of those possible categories. It opened a series of doors for me.”

Black Pumas
Album art courtesy of ATO Records

Joe Lalich, 48
Co-owner, The Detroit Record Club

Now Spinning:

Black Pumas, Black Pumas (ATO Records, 2019)

“It’s that legit throwback soul that to me is timeless. It has that timeless quality and it’s raw soulfulness.”

All-Time Favorite:

Kind of Blue, Miles Davis (Columbia Records, 1959)

“It’s so horribly cliché for a record store owner to say Kind of Blue is a favorite. But it’s legendary for a reason. We always talk to people about how these records are legendary and live on for a reason — they stand the test of time.”

E2 E4

Windy Weber, 47
Co-owner, Stormy Records 

Now Spinning:

E2 E4, Manuel Göttsching (Inteam, MG-Art, 2001 reissue)

“He was the guitar player for a German band called Ash Ra Tempel. In the early ’80s he went into the studio. Before he had computers to work with to make music, he did a bunch of work with sequencers. He came up with these interesting loops. Then he played his guitar on top of them. When he finished the piece — it’s an hour long — he thought ‘You know, this is really excessive and this is too flamboyant of a piece of music, and I really shouldn’t share it with people and I should throw it away.’ The truth of the matter is that this piece of music hugely influenced what happened with techno music around the world. So if it wasn’t for this piece by Manuel Göttsching, the music landscape today would be a very different place.”

All-Time Favorite:

Vini Reilly, The Durutti Column (Factory, 1989)

“I love this record. I think it’s phenomenal. [Husband and co-owner Carl Hultgren] gave me my very first copy of it in 1989 with a dozen roses. I still have that copy and it still has the card in it from the roses that he gave me. We’ve been together now for more than 30 years. I now have four copies of this album, because most of them were manufactured with a pressing flaw and the last song skips. But I have always kept that first one with the card from the roses.”

Yuseff Latef's Detroit
Courtesy of Rhino

Brad Hales, 45
Owner, Peoples Records

First Album that Blew my Mind:

Yusef Lateef’s Detroit, Yusef Lateef (Atlantic, 1969)

“It has always been a favorite album for me with all of its local references and songs dedicated to certain places and parts of the city. There’s even a song about where we’re located, Eastern Market. That one is kind of a personal favorite.”

All-Time Favorite:

I Have No Choice, Johnnie Mae Mathews (Big Hit Records, 1967)

“I think it’s a beautiful piece of music. She was the first female African American record label owner ever. Her story gets written out of the history books a lot. She’s portrayed as the villian who had the Temptations before Motown did — and then she tricked them and bought a new Cadillac and things. But it’s not really accurate. She was actually a very important and inspiring figure in Detroit music and was a pioneer just as much as Berry Gordy was if not more. I think this is her most beautiful song. She’s a personal hero of mine as a pioneer and high-quality producer and label owner.”

Blue Train

Rick LeAnnais, 53
Co-owner/president, Dearborn Music

First Record that Blew My Mind: Blue Train, John Coltrane (Blue Note, 1958)

“That’s the record that started me into jazz. The line-up, everything had that perfect sound when I heard it.

All-Time Favorites:

Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen (Columbia, 1975)

“Basically it’s a complete story. The whole album has a continuous feel to it. It’s like he’s telling a story through the whole thing.”

Harvest Moon, Neil Young (Reprise, 1992)

“When I first heard it back in the ’90s it had a complete feel to it. I guess it would be Neil Young’s writing.”

The Cars
Courtesy of Rhino

Lorna Provonsha, 59
Owner, Solo Records

First Record That Rocked My World:

The Cars, The Cars (Elektra Records, 1978)

“The first time an album blew my mind was truly The Cars’ first record. I got to hear it on Friday night, New Record Night,  where we would all sit around and wait to hear it from beginning to end. I was just waiting. ‘There’s got to be a song I don’t like.’ The whole record blew my mind because it was good from the first time I ever heard it.”

Notable Mention:

Any Led Zeppelin record

“Any Led Zeppelin record is always going to be my favorite record. Part of the reason is the great memories that go behind it. It was high school for me. I loved a boy so much. We were together the whole high school, for four years. He was daring and willing to take chances at experiencing new things, and I was always afraid to. I had never done and tried so many cool things and had been to so many concerts. I always remember Led Zeppelin was always the music playing in the background for sure.”


Kiss, by Kiss. It’s just superheroes come to life.
— Joe Lalich

Manhattan Research Inc.

Heather Craig, 26
Manager, Solo Records

All-Time Favorite:

Manhattan Research Inc., Raymond Scott (Basta Audio-Visuals, 2000)

“I like Raymond Scott. It’s a compilation of his jingles and just general oddness. Some of it sounds whimsical, some of it sounds scary like he is having a mental breakdown, but it all stays up. It all stays interesting and it never gets boring.”

Dearborn Music
22501 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-561-1000

The Detroit Record Club
28834 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-565-8683

Encore Records
208 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-662-6776

Found Sound
234 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale; 248-565-8775

Rock City Records
14401 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-831-0864

Stormy Records
13306 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-581-9322

Solo Records
30118 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-0581

Wazoo Records
336 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-8686