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On a trip to Brooklyn, I set about tracking down one of the most iconic reggae record stores in America: Clement Dodd’s Coxsone Music City.
You probably have never heard of it, but I won’t hold that against you because apparently no one in New York City knows either. In fact, I stumbled upon it on the internets somehow, then tracked it down when I was visiting New York several months ago.
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Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd was a legendary producer for Studio One Records in Jamaica, and he started this reggae vinyl store in Brooklyn to sell his records. When I say legendary, I mean he produced records for Bob Marley, Lee Scratch, and all kinds of others. Well, he moved to Brooklyn and started this store front, and actually ran the shop until he passed away
Studio One Records might not mean much to you, but as the photos says, some would call it the “Motown of Reggae”. It was essential to the core growth of reggae music, and spawned the Jamaican recording industry. The record store is like stepping back into time, into a world of rare issue records, high audio fidelity, and the local rastaman hanging out at the counter recommending his favorite arts like Jackie Mittoo. My favorite part was the kind woman at the counter, putting a record on the player, lifting the needle, and giving me a 30 second sample of every track before purchasing. It was like pre-digital manual iTunes previews. Amazing.
It’s places like these that capture a unique spirit and specialty… and places like these that define cities. For instance, when in Boulder I visit the Mountain Sun
, when in Ventura I visit the Patagonia HQ, and when in Nashville I visit Prince’s Hot Fried Chicken
! Every city has it’s local spots that define the local culture… places that are unique to the area and places that you won’t find anywhere else… Coxsone Music City in Cypress Hills/Highland Park, Brooklyn is one of these places!
So, in reflection, I have 2 suggestions to make your life more enjoyable:
1. Buy some old school records at this place and support a local culture. 2. Listen to more reggae! For all you know about Bob Marley, there are several genres and hundreds of artists that will challenge your assumptions of reggae while ushering you into happier times.
Rusty’s Recommended Studio One / Clement Dodd Selections: