I ventured into Back Alley Discs for only the second time today. Like the Queen St. Meat Market (which is no longer on Queen Street), Back Alley Discs is no longer in the back alley. Perhaps the name is meant as a state of mind.
While I am a music aficionado, I have always treated Back Alley Discs with the same kind of apprehension that I treated Smooth Cycle: I simply assumed that if I darkened the door someone would say something like “hey, are you hep to Mingus, man?” and by my lack of appropriate response I would be immediately spotted as a former owner of 45 rpm records by both Shaun Cassidy and Debbie Boone (really).
With the impediment of having to walk down a seedy back alley now removed — the store has moved out into the light of day, into the same building as the Formosa Tea House — today I felt confident enough to give things another try. Besides, I had Oliver with me as cover should anything go wrong (i.e. I could always say “well, I’m hep, but the lad’s not yet… on the way though!”).
Behind the counter with the famous Chas. Guay, formidable both because he is a well-known and prolific musician and because he goes by “Chas.” which, like Wm., is one of those names open to much interpretation. He was very nice.
I purchased a copy of Fred J. Eaglesmith’s new CD and learned, thanks to Chas., that he is set to play a date at Myrons [warning: absolutely insane website] on Monday, June 2. If you like hard-driving soulfully played honest country rock, you should get tickets now: this man and his players are excellent musicians.
Now that I’m inside Back Alley Discs and Smooth Cycle, I fear I’ve reached the point where the next frontier is the local bootlegger. I might not have the fortitude to make that leap for several years. Stay tuned.