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Johnny’s caters on Record Store Day

P.J. Pacifico to play, dozens of limited editions available Saturday

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John Konrad, owner of Johnny’s Records on Tokeneke Road, flips through a poster book while customers check out his selection of used records. Saturday, April 20 is the sixth annual Record Store Day, started by independently-owned record stores to promote the return of vinyl. (Darien Times/David DesRoches)

If there’s a line of people sleeping outside Johnny’s Records on Friday night, there’s a good chance a phone call to the police claiming vagrancy would be a bad idea.

These people will more than likely be camping out so they get first pick on limited edition vinyl records that will become available on Saturday, April 20 — Record Store Day.

“Each year it just gets bigger,” said John Konrad, owner and founder of the independent record store on Tokeneke Road.

Konrad said he’s lucky — those who camp on his sidewalk are always cheery when he unlocks the doors at 9 a.m.

“For them, it’s part of the experience,” he said. “When I come in they’re as sweet as can be. They’re good people. We’re lucky. A lot of stores it can get crazy.”

One man from Massachusetts called inquiring about a Grateful Dead record, and will be driving down to hopefully grab one of a few copies of the 1966 album, “Rare Cuts and Oddities”.

“I’ve been getting calls for almost three months over” Record Store Day, Konrad said.

For music lovers, the menu is appetizing. There’s “The Last Waltz”, the final concert by The Band that Martin Scorsese filmed in 1976. Used copies sell for around $125, Konrad said.

Phish fans will relish in the re-release of “Lawn Boy”, and for anyone who delights in Cream, Johnny’s will have 18 copies of the live recording played at Royal Albert Hall in 2005 to commemorate the band’s reunion. Only 1,500 copies are being printed.

Johnny’s will also have three Miles Davis titles, and works from Joan Jett, Aerosmith, Big Star, Flaming Lips, Nick Drake, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Fela Kuti, Mumford & Sons, Sly & the Family Stone, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and more.

Hip hop artist GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan is releasing an album that doubles as a chess board and includes chess pieces. Konrad has two of those available, and only 100 were printed.

Many of the albums are printed in colors, like the green Dazed & Confused reissue, which reflects the marijuana theme that dominates the film’s scenes.

For people who find their way to Johnny’s by noon on Saturday, Connecticut-based singer/songwriter P.J. Pacifico will be stopping by to perform. Pacifico has recently released the album “Surface” on Viper Records. His work is often compared to that of Paul Simon, James Taylor and Matthew Sweet.

Each year it gets increasingly difficult for Konrad to get exactly what he orders for Record Store Day, he said, adding that the bigger stores generally get first dibs.

“You really got to get in there and fight for this stuff,” he said. “You’ve got to do your homework.”

He said he got a list from the record companies telling him what’s available on Monday, and that they needed his order by Thursday.

“I must have been up to two in the morning, saying, ‘How many of this? How many of that? You don’t know what you’ll end up with,” he said.

Whereas he might order 50 of one title, he could only end up with five. Despite that, he said his store is overflowing with new and re-released titles as he gears up for heavy Saturday sales.

Record Store Day started in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and promote the 700-plus independent record stores in the country. Multi-instrumentalist and DIY rocker Jack White is this year’s ambassador.

More info: JohnnysRecords.com, PJPacifico.com, RecordStoreDay.com

ddesroches@darientimes.com

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