While you are in Lowell, MA. eating great Cambodian or Iraqi food in this “City of Immigrants” (phrase taken from Steve Earle’s clarion call for unity on his 2007 album,Washington Square Serenade), don’t forget to drop by Ron’s RRRecords, located at 219 Central Street. Here you will meet the solicitous and erudite Ron, usually beaming from ear to ear about some new vinyl collection that has just come through his door.His store is a mecca for vinyl lovers. Shelves upon shelves of records line the walls, all organized so that Ron knows where each and every title is.
Looking for a 1966 Temptations record? Ron knows what he has. Looking for that original version of the band Love’s first recording? Ron scales the walls and brings it to earth. Ask him to unveil an old Mercury recording of blues singer Joe Williams (here playing with Count Basie’s band), and he’ll oblige you to take it over under the light to see its condition (rubbing his thumb on some scratches to tell you whether you will hear them or not; his touch is legendary…). All for laughter and for the joy of music making.
Some of my greatest finds have been made foraging through Ron’s vinyl garden. The collection centers around rock recordings, although Ron also has an excellent and deep blues and jazz vinyl collection. Wow! Here’s a first edition of the Allman Brothers Eat A Peach; back there is a first pressing of the great 1963 recording of Clark Terry with Coleman Hawkins entitled Back In Bean’s Bag (Columbia) and look over there- Aretha Franklin original pressings as well as Koko Taylor’s Earth Shaker on Alligator from 1978. Ron’s prices are as honest as The Man is. Tell him a good joke and you might get a great deal on that stack of vinyl. Ron’s the best and I would nominate him for Good Samaritan of Lowell any day. Pay him a visit and tell him that Bostonconcertreviews sent you in – he’ll probably show you the door!
RRRecords: 219 Central Street Lowell, MA. 01852. (978) 454-8002; open 9-3 Monday-Saturday (if Ron is not having lunch – if so, look for him next door at Ray Robinson’s luncheonette).