Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Down Home Music Store

After serving roots music lovers since 1976 the Down Home Music Store was facing a critical financial situation at the end of last year. We have had a long and successful run as a retail shop specializing in all sorts of Down Home, Roots or vernacular musical genres and as an outlet for my Arhoolie Records, but times have been very hard for record shops everywhere. Two years ago the staff felt that we should open a second store on Berkeley's fashionable 4th Street shopping area in an attempt to reach out to a wider audience. Unfortunately this last ditch effort to make the store more visible and accessible made our financial situation worse. We were forced to close on 4th Street, but our San Pablo Avenue store remained open and inherited a large number of listening stations and wonderful CD racks which I hope our customers appreciate for the wide variety of music they can now freely view and listen to.

At the start of 2010 I personally took over ownership of the Down Home Music Store, but had to economize and cut the staff to three and the hours and days of operation to 11 AM to 7 PM from Thursdays through Sundays. Since I am fortunately the owner of the building and wanted the store to survive I am now trying to revitalize the place by having a lot of live, in-store events along with making it more and more a "collector's shop." We also started an eBay store where you will find our more collectable items, especially in the Mexican music field but soon also in other genres and including more and more items from my personal collection. Stay tuned also for Down Home's revitalized web site! We have always bought and sold used LPs, 45s, 78s, and other collectibles and we continue to do so. So, stop by and check out our revitalized stock of not only new and used CDs but older formats like LPs as well.

I also want to take this oportunity to let you know that the Arhoolie Foundation is a not for profit charitable organization which can accept donations of all kinds and give you in return a tax credit. If you have been wondering what to do with your old record collections (of CDs, LPs, 78s, or 45s) that the ARHOOLIE FOUNDATION would love to accept them as a donation, evaluate them fairly, and give you a generous tax deduction. The Arhoolie Foundation in turn could sell such collections at a reasonable price to the Down Home Music store - thus helping both the Foundation and the store! (Chris Strachwitz)


  1. I love hearing about the live music events at Down Home. I long for a chance to go through the music bins! We live in Virginia and can only dream about it. I've been ordering Arhoolie records since 1972, when my sister and I, teenagers that had been listening to our parents' Leadbelly and other Folkways records for years, happened to go into the little record store, the Bandbox, where the guy, Joe, was playing Jesse Fuller. What a great sound that was! Now I'm a dj on one of the few remaining multi-format community radio stations in the country, WTJU, and I get to play vinyl and I get to play all the Roots music I want. My show, Walk Right In, sounds a lot like the Down Home Music Store. Thanks for keeping this kind of music available to me and my listeners.

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