Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blue Note Records Miami

From the early 1980's well past the year 2000 lived a record store like no other. A hub for music collectors worldwide as well as the local spot to find that rare gem you've been dreaming about. A void that has never been filled (or ever will be) in the Greater Miami area. The type of record store where patrons and employees knew one another. And finally, a shop so well known that it's become a historical piece of Miami's musical past. Any music aficionado knows about Bob & Leslie's Blue Note Records. The now defunct legendary music mecca that was once nestled in North Miami Beach, known to carry just about anything regarding music. I would go there almost every weekend during the 80's with my sister since we always went to the 163rd street mall nearby, and I was there till the very end in 2006, always stopping by to see what singles I could acquire for my DJ gigs. I remember seeing all types of people shop there. Families fresh from church on Sundays looking to score that gospel tune they just heard, to the hip-hop heads looking for that new Dilla LP as well as the indie/punk kids dropping off flyers for Churchills and chatting with longtime employee Lyndell about his band. There was always something going on. And the smell of vinyl was so dominant, it can be noticed outside the building. There were many shops such as this that would strive to attain Blue Note's credibility but to no avail. During their peak, the store housed the entire block and even had an extra annex filled with hundreds of more rarities just a few blocks north.

Of course, like everything else, all good things come to an end. A Super Wal-Mart was opened right across the street causing havoc with the real estate around the area ending with ridiculously increased rent and causing them to move 25 miles north to a hot, steamy warehouse which I went to a few times, but sadly it wasn't nearly the same experience as the original shop and had lost most of it's clients, music, and that pizazz that made it wonderful in the first place. The momentum and identity of the shop had been diminished somewhere within Miami's history.

As music shops came and went throughout the years, no one was more dedicated and knowledgeable than Blue Note. The average life span for most record stores in this city is usually 2-5 years, even for giants like Virgin Megastore. But for spots like this being gone, it definitely marked the end of an era.