Aron Records was a witch’s coven for record lovers. Before you enter you chant a spell to yourself. “I want the new cut-out Dylan album.” Cut-Outs were LP’s with a hole the size of a quarter on the top right- or left-hand side of the album cover. These were overstocked or promotional copies that record companies circulated. Discounted to $1.98, well below the standard $5-$9 that Tower or The Wherehouse would charge.
The store sits across from Fairfax High. It’s as small as a studio apartment. The allure of this magical haven was the ability to sell unwanted records. Piles of records sit at the counter. The owner slips each black vinyl out of the jacket. He’s looking for popping scratches before he makes you an offer.
“I can give you $10 in cash or $15 in trade.” I can return impulse record purchases or music I’ve grown tired of. Why did I ever want to own a copy of “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies?
In addition to cut-outs you could buy used records. You lost the sensation of ripping open the plastic coating that protected the album cover. But your music addiction could be fed at ½ the price.
Hunching over the bins in search of the ultimate find. My hands quickly caressed each album glancing at the iconic picture of the artist. The background music was “The Weight” by The Band.
Music was the core belief of my world. I needed a daily dose or I would perish. Opera, rap, r&b, pop, Broadway, film soundtracks, hip hop, jazz, and country pop accommodated my reading and homework. It became the perfect companion when I worked. Music replaced my odorless world. It gave me a memory foundation.
My memories had to be locked by sight and touch textures. My brain had to be programmed to recall memories through melody. My tone-deaf world insisted that songs had to be ingrained in my head.