As one of the top record stores of 2010 by Rolling Stone Magazine, Shake It Records, in Northside all started out with two brothers whose passion for collecting records was created in to a business.
Jim and Darren Blase have been working in record stores since they were teenagers and started to collect records. As time went on they started to sell chunks of their records to start up their business. The brothers finally opened up their current location on 4156 Hamilton Ave on September 11, 2001.
“It’s really their thing, I mean they started it with their records, kind of what the goal of just doing their own thing, having what they have now,” said employee Travis Talbert.
With 1000s of new and used records, as well as CDs, Shake It Records is also a music publishing group. Some of the musicians associated with the Shake It label are Wussy, The Cowslingers, and Nomads.
Shake It buys and sells all kinds of vinyl records, LPs, CDs, DVDs, and books. According to musicwatch.com, about 50 percent of people that are listening to vinyl are millennials.
“College kids that are buying them, I don’t think ever bought a CD,” said Talbert. “So, that’s probably the first physical media that they ever did purchase.”
There are more to vinyl than one might think, like the artwork of record cover.
“I used to love getting records that had collage covers on them because that doesn’t really translate to a CD. I don’t know, I’ve never really had a digital collection of anything, even though I’m 32,” said Talbert.
There are others that grew up listening to vinyl records and do not have a desire to go to any other alternative form of listening to music, just like Talbert.
“I like that you have to get up and flip it over in the middle of it,” said Talbert. “I feel like it’s a little more engaged kind of listen.”
Talbert talks about a time where a 10-year-old walked in the store and heard Southern Nights, by New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint. He wanted the record, but was not too sure if he wanted to spend the money, $18 on the double disc.
“He said, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to spend this. It’s my allowance.’ I just said, ‘we got ya’ because how many 10 or 11-year-old kids are going to walk in to a place and be in to Allan Toussaint and say ‘I don’t know,’ said Talbert.” “We definitely want more of those kids in this world.”
With all the different types of records that they do have, they have a huge collection of mostly 78s and 45s from a Boston collector who sold them more 20,000 records including some Muddy Waters and Lightening Hopkins. Each record was specifically alphabetized by label.
“We drove all the time, like if he saw what we’ve done to it, that we just put in alphabetical order, that probably would have given him a second heart attack and that would have killed him anyways,” said Talbert. “He was obviously obsessed about it.”
Normally, they do not have that much inventory come in all at once, especially when most of them are 100-year-old, clean records that were a collection throughout 50 years.
“In that way, it did a lot of work for us because it’s like, ‘Well he already had them all categorized and it’s really easy to find what you’re looking for,” said Talbert. “It’s just kind of remarkable how much is there.”
When someone walks in to the store, the employees generally have a feel of what their customers might be in to and may suggest to them what to buy.
“There’s a strange kind of intimacy to that kind of trust and even though as something as superficial as music, but it is something that they’re going to put in to their head,” said Talbert. “So I feel like there’s some sort of responsibility about that, however trivial it might be in the scope of everything. That’s kind of what you want to do.”
Shake It sells records from artists like locals Wussy and Heartless Bastards to some internally known artists like Muddy Waters, David Bowie, and Michael Jackson.
Editor's Note: This article refers to Record Store Day 2017. Record Store Day 2018 is April 21, 2018.
Records like these will be sold on Record Store Day, April 22. Shake It be opening at 8 a.m., hosting a canned food drive where if someone brings in a canned food, they get 10 percent off their whole purchase. Other festivities include Rhinegeist, for the third year in a row will include a special beer and be handing out beer samples. They are also doing a 45 conjunction with Rhinegeist that include Frontier Folk Nebraska and The Tillers. Also, there will be some instore performances of Dawg Yawp and Frontier Folk Nebraska.
It was not too long before Record Store Day started that Jim and Darren Blase started the business all because of something that they were passionate about.
“It was what they loved, like they said when they started working at restaurants, they would take their paychecks and they would go spend them on records,” said Talbert. “They really loved that and like I said, the other three of us that worked there we kind of had that same fever.”
Cincinnati is one of the lucky cities to have a plethora of independently owned record stores. Within the month of April we will be highlighting these stores. Stay tuned for more!