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July 29, 2014

Rose Simpson: CD Warehouse on St. Laurent is closing - say a prayer for the rock bottom remainders

Photo by Andy Nystrom on Flickr

Rose Simpson's column appears every Tuesday morning on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose's Cantina.

This coming Saturday, CD Warehouse on St. Laurent Boulevard will close its doors forever.
It will be a sad day for those of us who liked to spend time there browsing for those unique little musical gems, the ones handmade with love by our hometown heroes and beloved legends.

I remember spending time there with my friend Dave, now long passed, who liked to buy CDs made by the sidemen, the musicians who added the little amazing touches, a lick here, a beat there, to sweeten an already wonderfully-made concoction. It was like adding just a touch of rhubarb to a perfect strawberry pie.
Dave the bass player had the most incredible collection of CDs and vinyl. I used to curl up for hours beside him, over a few beers, maybe a joint, and let the knowledge rain down on my little ears. God, he knew his stuff.
Those were the days, my friend, I thought they'd never end.
They did, of course.
Dave has joined the ensemble in the sky, but if I close my eyes, I can still see the twinkle and the crooked grin that announced that Dave had found a good one.
I miss him. I really do.
Dave would have been crushed to hear of the passing of yet another record store. It will probably end up as a fusion restaurant or a factory outlet store, like we need another one of those in our neighborhood.
Nowadays, it's easy to find anything on-line, but wasn't it nice to see a friendly face, to chat up the staff who forgot more about blues, rock, even classical music than most of us knew? Wasn't it great, too, to get that phone call saying the used out-of-print Travelling Wilburys CD was in, and you now could get your thumb prints on the only copy for miles?
Bragging rights, that's what it gave you.
The good news is that only one of the CD Warehouse stores is closing. How long before the rest follow suit, put down like a Blockbuster video store or an old mutt that nobody wanted anymore?
Today, we can simply click on the Apple Store app and pick off a tune here, a tune there. Nobody buys the whole joint anymore, at least nobody I know.
It's like picking up the shiniest piece of fruit from the box. People don't realize it all tastes good. You just have to give it a chance.
I feel sad about this, I can't lie.
CD Warehouse was more than a record store. It was a community hall where the greats and locals gathered and were supported.
A guy or a gal simply had to come into the store with their CD and they'd stock it just like the ones that came from the big record labels.
There are still a few places you can get their music. You can always fuel up the gas guzzler and amble out to the stores in Nepean and Kanata, where, I assume there's a better market for music you can hold, touch and place in a machine.
I'm sure there are geezers left that still cherish the liner notes. They live in paid up ticky-tacky houses that all look the same.
If you're bussing, you can go to that place in the Glebe, I forget its name. You can park there but you'll pay for it, or face ponying up the parking fines, because the stuck up people in that neighborhood really don't want you to come record shopping.
No more free parking at CD Warehouse.
Feed the meter, feed the man.
It's a sign of the times. Feels like I'm gettin' old, losin' my girl, hurtin' in the places I used to play.
I can always go on the Interweb and peck in a credit card. It just seems so cold to me.
Like feedin' the meter in the Glebe.
In the meantime, I'll meet you down on St. Laurent for one more blast from a golden oldie.
We'll say a prayer and pick up what's left of the rock bottom remainders.
So long CD Warehouse.
Thanks for stopping by on your road to oblivion.
There will be a hole in my neighborhood that's for sure.

-- Rose Simpson
See also: Ottawa Music Guide
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  1. Sad but true...Although Legend Records is still around after 25-30 years in Westboro and Lincoln Fields and they sell CDs and Vinyl.

  2. HMV too! they closed one on Merivale Rd. already it was a good store too!

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