As record stores find themselves dwindling in numbers, one record store manages to stay in competition with the ever-changing music industry.
Canterbury Records was founded in 1956, and has been a staple in the music community of Pasadena ever since.
Whether it’s a boxed set from classics such as Tony Bennett, Elvis, or Frank Sinatra or a new classic such as Rihanna’s recently released “Anti”, locals have been depending on Canterbury to fill the voids in their musical collections.
One aspect that makes Canterbury unique from the few records stores that are left is the spotlight they shine on local artists, with an entire rack dedicated to music from the community’s music makers such as Paula McMath, Silver Lions, and Valerie King.
With fewer and fewer record stores staying in business every year, it is convenient to have one in the neighborhood for those looking to expand their vinyl collections such as Raymond Morales who has been shopping at Canterbury since his sister discovered it back in the late 1960’s.
“I come here maybe once a month,” Morales said “I used to come here back in high school. They have a really good selection.”
On this particular visit, Morales was searching for a Motown CD to add to his ever-growing collection.
Canterbury provides a multitude of musical genres for its customers to browse through including jazz, rock, hip-hop, classical, and R&B. Those who are theater lovers can find soundtracks to their favorite movies such as “Great Gatsby” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” along with soundtracks to hit musicals like “Grease” and “Guys and Dolls.”
The vinyls sold at Canterbury cover decades of music and a vast variety of artists. In one quick browse one can find the works of seasoned performers such as James Taylor and Bob Marley, right along with newcomers by the likes of Bruno Mars and No Doubt.
Jennifer Freedman has been an employee of Canterbury for 55 years, and throughout the decades has been exposed to tons of new music and artists. During Freedman’s time at Canterbury, she has noticed how loyal the friendly customers are, and is available to offer her opinion on what to select if someone gets stuck in the stores vast collection of music.
Freedman isn’t into the mainstream scene and prefers “Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2” to anything being played on the top 40 radio stations today.
Although record stores don’t seem to be as popular as they once were, Canterbury employee Scarlett Cross has noticed a growth spurt in the sale of vinyls recently.
“There’s been a significant comeback with vinyl, all genres too,” Cross said. “People who purchase vinyls are consistent vinyl purchasers. They like to buy all of their collection on vinyl, and then it also comes with a download card.”
Along with rare oldies and new hits being sold on a variety of platforms from cassette to vinyl, Canterbury also provides its customers with another rare form of entertainment – film.
At Canterbury classic TV series from “Dusty’s Trail” to “The Buccaneers” are found in abundance. Canterbury even offers hard to find silent films such as “The Shamrock and the Rose,” and “The Speed Spook.”
Those old enough to remember LaserDiscs are in luck as Canterbury has a collection for sale with movies such as Bruce Willis’s “Die Hard” and the classic Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun.”
Morales best sums up a shopping experience at Canterbury stating, “You can’t always find what you’re looking for, but you can’t find anything anywhere else.”
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