A colleague of mine (Joburg's Darling) recently spotted some guys at Taste of Joburg selling what appeared to be recycled record players, with modern features like iPod docks and USB ports. As a child of the nineties I’m a sucker for ‘retro’ stuff so without any hesitation I rushed off to check them out, so that I can let you guys in on what seems to be a record renaissance taking place in Johannesburg.
Crosley are Re-inventing the Game
So, the fancy record players my colleague excitedly told me about are manufactured by Crosley and are in fact not revamped or up-cycled vintage record players, but rather newly built and fitted units featuring everything from a record player to USB port, iPod dock, FM radio tuner, SD Card Slot, built in speakers and even a CD player just to top things off. Their top selling unit, the Troubadour, even allows for users to record their favourite records to any of the other featured formats with the push of a button, making this a great way for record collectors to back up and enjoy their collection on the go.
Crosley do a wide range of retro music players from the small and understated to robust and authentic looking juke boxes. I remember desperately wanting a juke box a few years back and finding one at a vintage store in Melville, only to find that it was ridiculously overpriced (and that it was also in fact broken and would still need a LOT of work and money to get it back up and running!) So, if you ever dreamt of having a juke box, like I always have, it’s now within your grasp and you won’t have to spend your retirement fund and donate a kidney either.
So they sell awesome music players that include record support, but how does that help you when you only have that one dusty old copy of the Grease soundtrack that your mom kept aside for you as a birth-rite? The answer is simple: they sell re-issues of a bunch of really cool titles. I saw ‘Tupac – All Eyes on Me’ which is an absolute classic to have on record, as well as Bob Marley and Beatles albums, not to mention the odd new release like Bruno Mars, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. Give them a call on 011 465 3746 or visit them at store 12B, Fourways Crossing Shopping Centre, Sunrise Boulevard, Fourways.
Buying Records in Joburg
So now you have a record player and a couple of choice records, but you are just not satisfied and want to keep going. Luckily for you, I’ve found a good few places that also sell records, from old and second hand to brand new re-issues. You’ll be surprised at how many records are still being traded here in Jozi! Here are some of my favourites (but there are more so never stop looking.)
Collect on a Budget
As the name suggests, the Vinyl Faire is a market that takes place once a month out in Kyalami and people get together, be merry and trade records. Prices vary depending on the rarity of the item but you can get something for as low as R5 if you chat to the guys. Take your own records and see if you can barter, it’s a great way to refresh your budding collection!
Visit the Vinyl SA Page on Facebook and you’ll get the lowdown on the dates, location and times of the markets.
Depending on where you hang out, you may or may not know of Warm & Glad, a cafe in Craighall Park on Jan Smuts. They have an interesting vibe and do killer food, making them a favourite for a cup of coffee and a sandwich; they also recently opened RAD, a clothing and media store selling everything from sneakers and jeans to books and art. And their record selection is top notch. They also sell re-issued records and specialise in all things indie from Mumford and Sons to Quasimoto, all very collectable type stuff. Visit the Warm & Glad Facebook page for queries.
Record Mad is quite new on the scene and they are your go-to guys as far as selection goes. I collect records and often find it hard to find anything different but with these guys it’s a whole other story. They have sections spanning most popular genres, records both second hand and new but all in mint condition, and they are constantly getting new stock. Browsing one section can take you an hour so make sure you have a whole afternoon set aside. I can guarantee you, you won’t walk away disappointed. I ended up grabbing two really awesome soul records which is a genre I don’t find too often when hunting around Joburg. The other cool thing about Record Mad is that they will import records for you. Just fill out their little handy form and leave it with them before you leave and they’ll take care of the rest. Say hello to the friendly guys from Record Mad on Facebook.
Audio Nut is a small home-based shop in Northcliff that sells specialised audio equipment including the stunning Avid Turntables, and they will also order you almost any record you can imagine. Their catalogue contains over 2000 items so don’t be surprised if it takes you some time to go through it all.Visit their website to browse the catalogue or contact them for any queries.
Located on Commissioner Street in the heart of town, Collectors Treasury is a gem for those looking to score a rare find, from amazing first edition books to LP’s, porcelain and even sheet music (rare and hard to find). They are not cheap by a long shot, but then it’s hard to find anything good for cheap at any of the above mentioned stores. They have thousands of titles, making it virtually impossible for you to see them all in one day; I consider this a positive because you can keep going back and that’s really half the fun. Collectors Treasury is located at 244 Commissioner Street in Johannesburg. You can call them with enquiries on 011 334 6556.
By Byron Marais
All photos by Byron Marais except The Vinyl Faire which is courtesy of Stepan Hesse and the Vinyl SA Facebook Page.