$5, good for both days
Check out or We Buy Records page for more information!
by Doug Hanners
Kondoff's Records was located in Miamisburg, Ohio. The store was open from the early 1950's and closed in 1970. As the photos show the contents were frozen in time as no one had been able to buy anything from the store over the past 35 years. It was a true time capsule of music, with LPs, 45s, posters, displays, magazines and much more. - - - Doug Hanners
In these days of diminishing vinyl, while we all watch the remnants of the vinyl era melt away on eBay or at the record shows, it’s easy to think back to the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s when vinyl ruled and record shops were everywhere. If you ever wished those days would come back or you had a time machine, well your dream has come true, if only for a brief flash in the musical pan. What’s this all about, well it’s about a record shop that shouldn’t exist in 2006 but yet it does, or did, as so many stores did during those golden decades of vinyl.
Our story starts in 1968 when a young Scottish lad obsessed with Soul music and in love with all it represented came to the US in search of his favorite records. His name is John Anderson, and he represented the vanguard of the European invasion of the US in search of vintage vinyl, although there were a few US collectors like the Stolper Brothers hunting around it was mainly a European assault. John turned his love of the music into a business and began importing the US 45s and LPs to England. A preview of what was later to be called the northern soul collecting mania.
John searched the country top to bottom for his records and one day in 1972 he drove into the small town of Miamisburg, Ohio. He cruised down Main Street and sure enough there was an old record shop as there were in most towns across the USA. John found the door locked but finally got to talk to the owner who told him he wasn’t selling his records anymore. He found out that the shop had started in the late ‘40s by the Kondoff family and run by the Mom and Dad and two brothers, George and Chris. The parents passed away and George left but Chris carried on, accumulating a huge amount of vinyl as he refused to return anything. Then he decided to close it up, and he shut it down in 1971. John came back every year during the ‘70s but the answer was always the same, no sale. He finally gave up and went on to easier deals as the country was awash in vintage vinyl in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. The ‘90s started and old music was bigger than ever, with everyone looking for that stash of old vinyl. I met John around that time and he often tortured me with his stories of the days when 45s were 10 cents or less and LPs 25 cents. He mentioned many of his great deals but he also mentioned the ones that got away, including that odd record shop in Ohio. John and I put together many record buys and as we marched into the new century vinyl seemed more popular than ever and harder to find all the time. While reliving the easier days about a year ago I mentioned the old Ohio store again, John thought that it was worth another look so he went by on one of his regular US trips. He found the store just as he last saw it 25 years before except no one was living in it now. He contacted Chris Kondoff’s brother, George, and he told him that his brother had retired and they were going to sell the store and the contents soon. He promised to contact John when that happened and sure enough in about 6 months the lawyer for the estate contacted John and asked him to come make an offer. So off we went to Ohio to look at a store closed for almost 40 years.
You can imagine the excitement as we drove down Main Street in the small town south of Dayton, then there it was just like we expected it, a old building with Popular, Rock, Solid Soul, Bluegrass and Golden Oldies, written in old print on the windows, and they truly were as you can see. When we walked into the shop it was like stepping into the Time Machine, all the LPs on display were from the late ‘60s and the bins were full of vintage ‘50s and ‘60s LPs. Sealed Beatle LPs, all the Rolling Stones, both mono and stereo, Pink Floyd on Tower, also all the Standells on Tower, the Hollies, the Animals, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, it was all there! And from the earlier era, Eddie Cochran’s “Singin To My Baby” on Liberty, the Duals “Stick Shift”, Link Wray and the Rockin Rebels on Swan. Obscure soul Lps, lots of James Brown King Lps, and hundreds of Starday and King country LPS, all sealed or mint.
Then there was the 45s bins loaded with picture sleeves by the Beatles, The Stones, the Yardbirds, the Miracles, Supremes, local garage bands and R&B, County and Rockabilly from the ‘50s. Pinch me hard, I thought I had stepped into a time wrap, Beam Me Up Scotty! But first let’s buy some records!
Since John and I didn’t deal in LPs anymore we brought in Craig Moerer
to buy the LPs and we took the 45s and the paper goods.
And what paper goods they were! All the Billboards, Record Worlds, Cashboxes and other lesser known industry magazines of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, A complete history of the evolution of music from the ‘50s era to the hard rock ‘70s. The whole series of musical progressions from the Elvis period, to the Beatles invasion, the psychedelic ‘60s and into the ‘70s funk period. Also all the tragedies of those decades, Buddy Holly, Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Plus all the record catalogs from the early days on up, Chess, Excello, Motown, etc, all the major (and minor companies). I learned more reading through the industry magazines and company catalogs than I’d ever done before. John Anderson told me the only thing like he’d ever seen like this in all his years in the music business was a guy in the Brill Building had a lot of magazines back in the ‘80s but not this many.
Amazing that they had been able to gather all these in such a remote area and in a small store.
Our wonderful pack rat, Chris Kondoff, also kept all the record company cardboard promo displays. Huge Frank Sinatra cardboard posters, Buddy Holly stand-ups, Johnny Burnette, Jackie Wilson, and the soundtrack to Spartacus, an incredible promotion with about 6 different cardboard posters plus a huge Elvis display of course. Amazing that the record companies put so much money into promotion in those early days, it was very common later in the ‘60s and ‘70s but I hadn’t been aware it was so big in the start of the LP/45 era.
The shop even still had the old listening booths of the old days, where one could take his 45s and decide which ones deserved his 98 cents. Later on you could do it with LPS too but since they were sealed it wasn’t so easy.