Jay Hancock said he used to skip lunch when he was in middle school so he could go to a record store.
It’s fitting that he now works at — ready for this? — a record store.
Josey Records is the new record store on the local landscape.
Josey Records stores opened in Dallas and Kansas City before a third location opened in Tulsa’s Pearl District at 1020 S. Rockford Ave. (near the intersection of 11th Street and Rockford Avenue). The Tulsa store opened just more than a month ago, giving the city another vinyl option just in time for Record Store Day on Saturday, April 22.
Record Store Day was birthed in 2007 as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1,400 independently owned record stores in the United States and thousands of similar stores internationally. This year, there are Record Store Day participants on every continent except Antarctica.
According to recordstoreday.com, participating stores in the Tulsa area are Starship Records & Tapes, Holy Mountain Music & Oddities, Blue Moon Discs and Josey Records.
Hancock, speaking from behind the counter at Josey Records, said the store has been received warmly by customers. Engage him in conversation and he’ll tell you vinyl was never really dead, and he may even tell you cassette tapes (which Josey Records sells, in addition to albums, singles and CDs) are making a comeback.
“Luckily, 8-tracks are not,” he said. “That is a dead format.”
Immediately after entering the store, visitors will see a listening station with turntables.
“Anything used, they can take over there and check it out and make sure it’s what they are looking for,” Hancock said.
There’s a lot to check out.
Behind new albums and new arrivals are rows of used albums organized alphabetically (from AC/DC to ZZ Top) and by genre. Hancock said he alphabetized it all because his brain wouldn’t allow otherwise.
“I’m pretty anal about that kind of stuff,” he said.
One of Hancock’s pet peeves as a record hunter is unorganized inventory. There’s a section of bargain records that are unorganized at Josey Records, but Hancock wants customers to easily be able to track down what they are looking for elsewhere in the store.
Even with the organization, customers may hang around longer than they intended because it’s natural to get caught up in exploration.
Don Leach, responding to a Facebook post about the store, said he visited a few weeks ago and stayed several hours, leaving with eight albums or EPs.
“You come in looking for one thing and then you just kind of get lost in the stacks,” Hancock said. “Time flies really quickly out there.”
Older visitors should prepare for nostalgia-related pauses. You stumble across something you remember and — boom — you’re back in the era of KTEL compilations or Doctor Demento records (he gave Weird Al Yankovic a career boost) or Flip Wilson’s “The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress” album.
The vinyl comeback made it possible for Josey Records to set up shop in Tulsa. What is it about albums that they’re considered cool again? Maybe it’s because they are ear candy and eye candy.
“Honestly, for me it’s the whole package,” Hancock said, mentioning the cover art (or photographs) and the liner notes.
“At the end of the day, it’s a full piece of artwork,” he said. “The album is a soundtrack to the piece of artwork that you are looking at.”