Village Music: Last of the Great Record Stores Documentary

Every town used to have at least one good record store. When I was younger, and our family moved to a new town, I took solace in the local record store where I learned about Sly Stone, the Sugar Hill record label, plus various R & B and early Hip Hop artists when I went in there every week. As I got older (and moved back to my hometown), I would go several times a week to get everything from Public Enemy to Bad Brains, and received a priceless music education from the owner about all kinds of music. I believe this, as well as my father’s record collection were the three most important factors that led me to my DJ style. I’m certain that I’m not the only person this event has happened to. Here’s a story about a particular record store that has touched the lives of many people all over the world.

“The most famous record store in the world”, Village Music, of Mill Valley, CA closed on September 30th, 2007. Owner John Goddard, a former employee bought the business in 1968, and was doing the world a great service by keeping the store open. Not only did Goddard introduce and preserve many genres of music to his customers, he would go on to touch many musicians, local and national who would call Village Music their home. People like Elvis Costello, Jerry Garcia, BB King, Ry Cooder and others were regular customers. Village music didn’t just have famous customers, their in-store appearances by artists like Ruth Brown, Otis Clay, Howard Tate, John Lee Hooker, Irma Thomas, Betty Lavette not only exposed people to unheard of music, but in some cases helped restart careers.

“You get the feeling that you’re walking around someone’s life work ”- DJ Shadow on Village Music

In the last 6 months of existence, brother sister team director Gillian (Grateful Dawg, Keepin’ Time) and Monroe Grisman documented the comings and goings of customers, in-store performances (DJ Shadow DJing instore every day for 30 days), and the eventual closing of the famous Dutch door of the record store. The footage was put aside, and now they have taken to Kickstarter to raise the funds to put this documentary out. You may ask, why should I help people I don’t know make a movie about a record store I’ve never heard of? I’ll tell you why: because every town had John Goddard’s store, every person who bought music once bought it from a local spot. In the age of instant gratification through downloading, the experience of just going to a record store, the smell of vinyl, the characters that were always hanging around, the variety of records you saw, the feel of opening a sealed record, the actual reading of liner notes on an album cover is an experience that many people will never get. Even if you pledge a dollar, it brings them closer to their goal.

Check out their video from Kickstarter.

Pledge on their Kickstarter page.

Village Music Movie on facebook and Twitter.

Check out their website.


DJ Shadow performing at Village Music in 2007 courtesy of DJ Shadow

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