Record shops and in-car record players

carrecordplayer14.jpgIn 1958, teens in the L.A. area had an abundance of vinyl sources.  Apart from the record shop on almost every street, Wallich’s Music City supplied the needs for the new and reissued vinyl and the newly opened Wenzel’s Music Town in Downey not only carried these sides, but was releasing records on their own Jack Bee label as of 1959. Thanks to DJs like Art LaBoe on KPOP and Huggy Boy on KWKW, who played these favored sides, much to the pleasure of those cruising various boulevards in the suburbs, the oldies scene began to heat up.

In the early 1960s, Wenzels began pressing custom metal acetates of songs not on otherwise on 45rpm and created a few select unlabeled 45s (Jimmy Reed b/w the Royal Tones), thus meeting needs of cruisers, oldies fans and record collectors of all stripes, which is why employees of nearby Wallich’s Music City in Lakewood considered Wenzel’s “a bootleg operation.” With these record buyers, stereo was not an attraction, thus rock and roll was not heard on FM radio, which lent itself to stereo broadcasts.

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5 Responses to “Record shops and in-car record players”

  1. Rose Rye Says:

    hey – I went to school with Tom Wenzel’s youngest son, Bill, and we “went steady” through all of high school and were even engaged for a time…

    I remember “working” at the record shop on saturdays when Mr. Wenzel would come back from the Capitol Records swapmeet in Los Angeles…we would have to put the records in the bins in alphabetical order…i loved the place, and was sad to hear of its closing. i’ve been out of downey for a number of years, but have been trying to find Bill for a high school band reunion that’s coming up this summer. Any idea how to get ahold of Tom & Maxine??

    Thanks!! And thanks for keeping the oldies history alive.

    Rose

  2. jan wenzel scott Says:

    i am Bill wenzel’s sister and i remember you even though it has been years ago. i don’t know if you heard or not but my dad Tom Wenzel passed on Sept. 19, 2008. my mom and i still live in Downey in our family home.

    • eric Says:

      i remember as a kid getting my allowance for the week and going done to your parents shop for the best record collection to be found sorry to hear about your father . hope your mother is well they were both super people. is there some photos of the store on the internet it brings back great memories . god bless your family. they are fantastic people.

    • eric Says:

      sorry i said your father forgive me . he was your brother . but i still bless your family for some of the best enjoyment as a youngster . iam now 42 and was about 7 when it was some of the best times of my life . god bless

  3. 2010 in review « 45 RPM Says:

    […] Record shops and in-car record players December 2007 4 comments 5 […]

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