Something of a bold statement in the title there, but one that after much consideration I stand by wholeheartedly. I am happy to go on record (ahem) by saying that Little Axe Records of Portland Oregon is for now at least, the worlds greatest record shop.
When I started this Blog over seven years ago, I mentioned that one of the reasons for my putting fingers to laptop keys was to search for some bricks and mortar to crown with this particular title. In that time, no one single store has been awarded the auspicious honour of being '32RPMs WORLD'S GREATEST RECORD SHOP'. But now after much searching, I am happy to make the announcement and reveal that Little Axe records of Portland Oregon is just that.
Although Little Axe punches way above it's weight on the stock front, were this award based merely on stock then Tokyo's Disk Union would surely have been the winner. But it's about so much more than that, until I visited Little Axe at the end of last year I had never been to a record shop that I not only wanted to live in but would also have gladly died in.
Just look at it. A wooden porch and store front, wild and welcoming flora quietly spilling over into the road. A perfectly presented minimal interior with the slightest nod to the Mid Century modern and Nordic design schools. Although novelty act and sometimes coke-head Bruno Mars was actually singing about vaginas in his song 'Locked out of heaven' the lyrics could easily be applied to him turning up at this shop after hours and not being able to get in. It's that good.
The owner, who for now I will call Dale as I forget his name was welcoming, helpful, informative and polite enough to ignore my swooning. The racks weren't over stuffed, the stock was solid with a decent spread across jazz, post punk, punk, folk and experimental and a quick flick through the stock reveals some genuinely interesting product.
I came away with a local private press of a Delia Derbyshire album as well as an assortment of decent free jazz. But beyond that I left with so much more, not least the knowledge that in the face of the collapse of the music industry and the globally heralded death of the record shop someone had succeeded in showing us where the baby Jesus might record shop, were he in town and looking for a copy of Sonny Sharrock's 'Monkey Pockie Boo'.
Anyway, if you are in the US change your plans to go here. If you aren't in the US, consider going to the US so that you can change your plans and go here.
Now for me to work on some kind of trophy or award or something...