Our favorite shops

When I travel or go anywhere new, really, I always make it my main goal to find a record store. Remember those? I’m sure that anyone living in New York or Los Angeles knows what I’m talking about. Other places perhaps not so much, as they are fading away, replaced by a computer application or a megastore with the cheapest prices and cheapest selection. I was lucky then to find Requests Music in Wailuku, Hawaii, which is, they claim, the only “record store” on the island of Maui.

It was a Monday and the family and I drove back across the island to get some food and a few other things. But first on my mind was getting to Requests. We came up on it; I parked the car and strolled up to discover it was CLOSED for President’s Day! I actually hit them up on Twitter (@RequestsHI) and returned the next day. I’m glad I did.

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The place where the river flows

There is such a thing as a flow of discovery. I once read a review of Ry Cooder’s Chicken Skin Music, a review that plucked the record out of the henhouse of obscurity and dusted it off for me to rediscover. As with all Cooder discs he had interesting guests, this time including the Tex-Mex musician Flaco Jiminez and the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar legend Gabby Pahinui. I enjoyed the LP very much, and it spurred me into one of my slightly predictable retail plunges. I bought Chicken Skin Music. Then I bought his first and second releases, Ry Cooder and Into the Valley. Then I bought Paradise & Lunch, which is an all-time great in desperate need of a reissue. When I stopped sucking up the Cooder I re-listened to Chicken Skin Music. This time Gabby Pahinui really caught my ear, so I did some research and discovered that Cooder played on Pahinui’s LP The Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band Volume 1. I bought it and fell in love with it. This opened the floodgates and I began absorbing Hawaiian music like it was air. I also pumped up the Hawaiian music section in the store where I worked. I must have had the largest Hawiian section west of Maui.

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