Saturday, October 12, 2013

Observations: Green Leaves, Best Record Stores

Well the Teabaggery Blog has gone over 20 views, first new blog to do so since the 800th blog. But The Sick of Rain Top Ten has been the most viewed.  Not exactly a recent entry either.

Cedar Rapids lost another mainstay for restaurants, The Spring House is closing their doors November 4th maybe sooner.  The Chinese Buffet Green Leaves have closed their doors this week, as I was watching patrons trying to go there for lunch but the doors were locked.  On Friday, a closed for business sign was put on the doors and the next day the Green Leaves sign was taken down.  I guess they lost a lot of money in the fiasco when they opened a second location in Anamosa in the former Hardee's place but that was out of business even when I visited that place last month.  A new Mexican places Frankie's has opened up in the former Indian food place and they're a lot like Pancheros or the other place across the street from Pancheros. In other words, your typical fast food burrito joint.

It's that time to announce the best places to find music here in the  Eastern Iowa area and it hasn't changed since last year.  We haven't lost any record stores (that I know of) nor did we get any new ones.  Still the favorite remains Mad City Music X but if I want to stay close to home or in a hour driving range Record Collector in Iowa City, Moondog Music (Dubuque) and Ragged Records (Davenport) are Crabb approved although I was quite disappointed in getting scratched CDs from Ragged and CDs 4 Change.  The Moline Co Op Records gets points for a big selection but Moondog's rating went down a bit, too many flies on my last trip.  For new music, Amazon is cheaper, doesn't add wear and tear on the car and doesn't use gas here. But for the most part Best Buy has really gone down in the ratings and getting to be a waste of time if your looking more than just the best sellers.  For used stuff, Half Priced Books (CR, Des Moines, Madison) remain tops although you have to deal with screaming brats and inconsiderate cell phone yackers. And of course the hit and miss of Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army,  St. Vincent De Paul and Stuff Etc.  For pawnshops Segal's remains the best in town but Pawn America's discontinuing of the CD section has put them way down in the bottom list, they're going by the way of Mister Money and EZ Pawn.

The places in order are the ones I frequent with the higher ratings the better chances I'm there.  B Sides I have gone by and have gone in a few times but don't think I ever bought anything from there.


Half Priced Books (CR, Madison, Des Moines)
Mad City Music Exchange (Madison)
Ragged Records (Davenport)
Moondog Music (Dubuque)
Co Op Records (Moline, Clinton, Davenport)
Record Collector (Iowa City)
CDs 4 Change (Dubuque)
Sugar Shack (Madison) 
The Source Bookstore (Davenport)
Strictly Discs (Madison)
Pre Played (Madison)
Books A Million (Dubuque, Davenport)
FYE (Moline, Quincy Ill, Des Moines)
B Sides (Madison)
Wal Mart (Various locations)
Target (Various locations)
Barnes And Noble (Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Madison)

Junkshops, Pawnshops and Second hand stores

Housewerks (Iowa City)
Segal's (Cedar Rapids)
Goodwill (Various locations)
Salvation Army (CR, Marion, Davenport, Moline)
Stuff Etc (CR, Iowa City, Davenport, Waterloo, Coralville)
St Vincent De Paul (Waterloo, Madison)
The Crowded Closet (Iowa City) 
Pawn America (Madison but soon to be dropping out due to lack of inventory)
Springville Junk Shop (Springville IA)
Changing Hands (Cedar Rapids)
Sweet Living Antiques (Iowa City)

Note: finding vinyl in the junkshops and thrift stores, prices vary a lot.  I don't understand how or why records are 1.95 at the Iowa City Salvation Army or for that matter the I C goodwill stores.  It's one thing to find maybe a hard to find Yardbirds Over Under Sideways Down for 5 bucks at Half Priced Books too but if they're in G shape (G meaning played to death or too many surface scratches) it really means no sense to buy them unless you want a reference copy.  It used to be also that CDs were plentiful in pawnshops but since 2002 when pawnshops quit buying them in bulk, going to a EZ Pawn or Pawn America usually is a glance and run, hard to believe since Pawn America used to have 5 rows to choose from.  College towns remains the best place to find forgotten goodies but they're also hit and miss with plenty of collectors coming in to scour the selection as well.    The Springville Junk Shop gets a shout out but I haven't been there the past year or so either. Most of the selection are scratched up anyway.   The best turnaround remains Segal's in Cedar Rapids where they continue to get a decent turnover of new stuff and Housewerks in Iowa City as well as your local Half Priced Books or if you're lucky enough to have one, A Hastings Music store although they're more out west.

As I try to do my best to support the independent music store such as Mad City Music X or Record Collector or Ragged Records, the turnover of CDs at Moondog or CDs 4 Change is basically the same old same old.  Or overpriced, Co Op has had the same CDs at 8 dollars for years on end but it seems The Quad Cities have better support of their music stores although going to Co Op on a Saturday Night seems to indicate otherwise but they're pretty cool people, just like Bob and the staff at Ragged Records or the Old Hippie at Moondog.   Seems like the most busiest of places tend to be Record Collector or Ragged.  And we all love vinyl but we can't tote it around like we do with CDs or the imperfect MP3 format.

But let's face it, I'm getting too old to jump in the car to hang out at the local record store looking for what I don't already have.  It's easier to go to HP Books or Goodwill or Stuff Etc.and see what's in the 1.99 section, rather than going to Zia's or FYE and having some zit face 20 year old bothering you every five minutes as if they thought you lost your way.  I have a very open mind and I continue to listen just about anything that suits my attention when I see it in the dollar section.   But for now and on the upcoming St Louis trip I'm sure I'll be casting an eye on the obscure.

But as for you dear reader (All three of you followers) the  best record stores in the area are the places to go to if you ever decide to come up here or after a nice afternoon of watching the leaves turn color on the Mississippi, frequent a river town like Dubuque or Davenport and go visit Ragged or Moondog and tell them that Crabby sent ya.  You won't get a discount, you might get a funny look and you might get escorted out of the place (especially if you complain about the flies at a certain place to to overpowering incense) but at least you'll get a chance to visit one of the last remaining record stores in a 75 mile radius that is Crabbland.  Maybe I'll hit Des Moines one of these years, I'm sure I'm missing a few of them there but I'm never down there.  Not worth my time ever since Hastings closed up shop.

So this list will do.  Go out and enjoy and find those bargains.  I'm sure there's still a few that I overlooked...

Late add: David Byrne and streaming music.  Doesn't pay for a struggling artist.

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