alan little’s weblog

record shoppin’ blues

27th September 2005 permanent link

Go and listen to (recently deceased Mississippi bluesman) R.L. Burnside, said Michael Blowhard. So, he [*] having bought me lunch a couple of weeks ago ’n’ all, I did. I found some samples among amazon's free music downloads, and some bits and pieces on allofmp3, listened to them, and was much impressed. So I thought I would go out and buy a CD or two. Note To Music Industry: people who download music and find they like it often then go out and buy CDs.

Or try to.

There are three record shops I go in in Munich. Ludwig Beck is an upmarket clothing store – everything from dirndls and lederhosen to designer jeans – right on Marienplatz in the middle of town. Except that, lurking on the top floor where you would never suspect it, is the biggest specialist classical and jazz record shop I have ever seen. Beck is a pretty good place for a comprehensive selection of obscure stuff, although the prices are high.

Just down the road from Beck is a branch of the German drugstore chain Müller – but this particular branch, for no obvious reason, just happens to have Munich’s second best toyshop downstairs and a big record shop upstairs. Müller’s classical selection is nowhere near as comprehensive as Beck’s, but it’s decent and angled more towards budget labels, so it’s often worth a look too.

Then there is zweitausendeins, a strange little place that specialises in the ultra-budget Brilliant Classics label, and also has odds end ends of remaindered stuff from other labels at very cheap prices. Not the place to go to look for something specific, but good for serendipitous browsing from time to time. Last time I was there I scored a ten-cd box of 1950s and 60s soviet recordings by legendary cellist Mstislav Rostropovich for 17 euros, some of which turned out to be wonderful.

Ludwig Beck’s jazz section seemed like the obvious place to start looking for R.L. Burnside, but no. Disappointing. There were only a couple of sheves of blues, and no R.L. Müller is just down the road so I checked there too. I had never looked at jazz or blues in Müller before, but it turns out they have quite a big blues section, in which R.L. and his Fat Possum label mates are present in large numbers. Hurrah.

Big wow. Alan had to look in two shops before he found the CD he wanted. Is there actually some kind of point he’s meandering towards making here? Bear with me.

[*] Michael, not R.L.

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