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Kickin' It Old School at Spinster Records
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Here it is... Spinster Records. A small, wonderful record store in Oak Cliff.

Here it is… Spinster Records. A small, wonderful record store in Oak Cliff in the Bishop Arts District.

Nothing sounds quite like an old record playing on a record player!  Right??  It’s seems a little crazy that most of us sold our record players a long time ago to “upgrade” to a cassette player.  Looking back on my decision to follow in the footsteps of everyone else, I wish I had at least held on to my Pioneer turntable in addition to my new, hip and cool Pioneer stereo system.  Not only did I ditch my record player, but I also got rid of most of my records!  What was I thinking??  Because a few weeks ago, I found myself browsing the aisles of my new favorite record store, Spinster Records, in Oak Cliff, buying up many of the albums I sold long ago!

Ny niece and I spent about an hour flipping through new and used albums and came away with several good ones!  I came right home that night after we shopped, ate, and played, and jammed to Little Richard on my Crosley Symphony 3-Speed Turntable with CD Player (and some other cool features).  But it’s the record player I was interested in when I purchased it.  As the record began to play, I was instantly taken back to about 1978 – I was almost 10 years old and had a little green portable record player in my room.  I thought I really had it going on…  And I did.  I just didn’t know it, because shortly after that when I was about 13 or 14 years old, I got rid of my record player and most of my albums, and traded them all in for a fancy Pioneer Stereo System – it also had a turntable, but by that time, I had pretty much switched everything over to cassette tapes that I bought with my allowance at Sound Warehouse!  Yes…I’m old!

But what a great store Sound Warehouse was.  Do you remember it?  Well, I do.  Very well.  It  was so close to my house, I could ride my bike.  That’s where everyone went to buy cassettes, CDs, and albums.  And believe it or not, Van Halen made an appearance at one of the Sound Warehouse stores in Dallas back in 1978.  Crazy, right?  I sure wish I had been there for that.  You can read about it, and see the flyer from their appearance in the article titled “Unearthed Photos & Flyer:  Van Halen 1978 Record Store Appearances at Sound Warehouse”!  Pretty cool stuff…

Crosley CR7008A-PA Symphony 3-Speed Turntable with CD Player

Isn’t she lovely? It just makes me so happy to put one of my records on and play it. Sends me back a few years to when I was jammin’ in my bedroom as a child to my little 45s!

Here's my little Thomas Edison heading off to school with his portable Crosley "phonograph" for his presentation prop.

Here’s my little Thomas Edison heading off to school with his portable Crosley “phonograph” for his presentation prop.

So, about a year or two ago, I purchased myself a wooden Crosley record player, because I liked the look of it, and it sort of fit the theme in our new media room we were setting up.  We needed an “old” record player on the shelf just for looks.  It would be perfect.   Just the look I was going for.  I wasn’t really planning on playing records on it so much – just using it for decor.  But, record players were on my mind, because I had purchased a very small black Crosley record player a few months before for my son’s biography presentation on Thomas Edison.  He needed a prop, so since Thomas Edison invented it, he chose a small “phonograph.”  It was really cool – it closed up like a small suitcase that you could transport from room to room.  My little Thomas Edison carried it to school and played a small 45 record that I had of my uncle’s song “The Dutchman” (that he had recorded back in 1961) for his classmates!  Total success.

We jammed to The Dutchman all night long, and the kids kept saying “It’s so cool that you have a rock star uncle!”  Well…he’s not really a rock star, but he had recorded one more record than I had, so I guess he was kind of a rock star…  Unfortunately, we left the turntable on for two nights spinning (accidentally) and burned the little record player right up.  That was the end of that one, but it was fun while it lasted.

I’ve always loved “old” things – old cameras, old comic books, old cars, so why not an old record player?  It would be perfect for the shelf in the media room.  I researched them and found one that looked “old” and was reasonably priced for display on our shelf.  So, I bought one Doobie Brothers Album so I could at least turn it on when friends came over.  My interest lasted about 2 days, then the record player just sat on my shelf looking really cool, gathering dust (just like I thought it would).  That is until recently…

I was taking my niece out to shop for something for her 23rd birthday.  Guess what she wanted!!  She wanted records for her record player!  I wanted a store that was a little unique since it was her special day, so I planned to Google “record stores” before we set out to shop.  The only places I knew of that sold albums was Urban Outfitters and the Half-Price Bookstore in Dallas.  And just a few days before we were heading out, I was down in the Bishop Arts District eating lunch at The Dallas Grilled Cheese Company (yum), and I stumbled upon Spinster Records.  The rest is history…  We both left the store very happy with a sack full of vinyl!

Spinster Records in Oak Cliff in the Bishop Arts District

Spinster Records is simple goodness! Records are alphabetized in crates on the table throughout the store. Plenty of room to browse while listening to whatever record they have on! Great vibe in this place!!

Just look at the tracks on this album. No way to pass this one up, right?

Just look at the tracks on this album. No way to pass this one up, right?

Spinster Records is located in the Bishop Arts District at 829 W. Davis Street in Oak Cliff.  It is open every day from 10am-10pm.  If you find yourself down in that area, and you love vinyl, it is well worth stopping in!  There is nothing fancy about this store – the records are up on tables in boxes, so you can easily flip through them all.  It’s a small store too, and they play records through their sound system.  All kinds of records.  In fact, they were playing Little Richard when I was there, and I realized that I knew every word to every song from when my Dad used to play his Little Richard records (or maybe 8-tracks), so I had to have that one!

Spinster Records in Oak Cliff in the Bishop Arts District

Records decorate the walls, and crates sit on top of tables with albums alphabetized. Easy to flip through and find what you’re looking for.

My niece and I spent about an hour or two just quietly jamming to the music flipping through some old (and some new) records.  They even have a “Dollar Bin” – lots of very old and beat up albums for $1!  What a deal, right?  They also sell record players, record stands, and other things you might need to start all over with vinyl!  Everything you need right there in the store…

Spinster Records is a wonderful place.  It is described as “an all-encompassing music lifestyle store, offering highly curated new and used records, turntables and music-inspired clothing and accessories. Spinster Records hosts various live acts coupled with record signings and meet-and-greets between bands and their fans.”  Now, seeing a live act in this place would be amazing – it is a very small venue with a tiny stage.  It would be like having a band play in my living room!  If the right band comes along, you better believe that I’ll be there!  I also read that people consider Spinster Records an “Indie shop specializing in vinyl records, turntables & music-inspired apparel…”  Nothing like I’d been to before.

So, the area of Oak Cliff has changed quite a bit since I was younger.  I was really pleasantly surprised by the area.  Many years ago, it was not a place most people would think of for a night out.  And now, it is quite the hot spot.  Filled with so many new restaurants, like Eno’s Pizza Tavern – that’s where we ate the night we shopped at Spinster.  It was so crowded in that area – we had to fight for a parking space.  It was nuts.  The area was hoppin’!  So…the revitalization of Oak Cliff to create the Bishop Arts District…hmmm.  Very cool place, but are the people of Oak Cliff  happy about this??

When I was reading up on the area, I found a lot of articles talking about how the people who actually live in Oak Cliff are not thrilled about this revitalization.  One article said “While continuing to neglect the needs of Oak Cliff residents for quality public education, a living wage, youth programs and other alternatives to drugs and street crews, the City has been investing millions of dollars into “revitalizing” “North Oak Cliff.” But “revitalization” isn’t for the working-class of Oak Cliff. The money, including $2.5 million in street and sidewalk improvements, is going to support new businesses and developers in the Bishop Arts District who are serving and attracting a new, more affluent demographic to the area.”  You can read more about this in an article from 2015 titled Oak Cliff Drowned Out By Bishop Arts.

As a person who really enjoyed my time down in the Bishop Arts District, I hate to read articles like the one above.  Let’s hope that in the end, this revitalization of the north part of Oak Cliff will turn out to be a good thing.  The three things I’ve experienced down there (Eno’s Pizza Tavern, The Dallas Grilled Cheese Company, and Spinster Records), have all been wonderful.  I’m definitely going to be a repeat customer to all three places.  I’m already looking forward to my next visit to Spinster to add some more vinyl to my collection.  And just maybe, I’ll grab a delicious grilled cheese or some pizza while I’m down there.  Enjoy your records!  Until next time…

Crosley CR7008A-PA Symphony 3-Speed Turntable with CD Player

How many of you had this album? Oh my… I remember just staring at John Travolta for hours thinking how cool he looked in his groovy white disco suit!  What a stud…