Grooves, located on the corner of Market Street and the Octavia Street onramp in San Francisco, is a RECORD STORE.
If you’re a record collector, you know what a good record store smells like. It’s a subtle perfume made up of the scent of vinyl, cardboard, wooden shelves and the perspiration of record collectors, equal parts desperation and exhilaration. With the advent of CDs, that familiar scent has been diluted by the antiseptic tang of plastic and the clacking of CD containers, a sound that often overrides the background music a good record store plays over their sound system: tunes old and new, programmed to soothe the soul and pique the curiosity of serious listeners.
The large windows are hung with a rainbow curtain made of colored vinyl and, once you walk inside, you’re surrounded by posters, photos, handbills, turntables, school lunchboxes, music books, sheet music, and LPs and 45s – real records - all exuding that blissful Record Store Smell. Grooves was founded by the recently deceased Ray Anderson, a vinyl junkie, nightclub owner and one of the original projectionists for Holy See, the company that helped initiate the light shows that added an important visual element to rock concerts of the 60s and early 70s, creating eye candy for fans of the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane and Sopwith Camel.
The bins are full of LPs, old and new, most in great condition. Anderson’s daughter Sunny, and his son-in-law Kevin, follow the Grooves tradition by keeping prices reasonable, even for rare titles. Rock, jazz, classical, easy listening, Broadway shows, country, punk, comedy, blues, soundtracks, spoken word, international, and any odd and unusual genre you can think of, cram the bins and the boxes under the bins. With the exception of new records by local artists, everything in the store is vintage, harking back to the heyday of vinyl and AM radio. If you’re a serious record collector, Grooves should be your first stop on any tour of San Francisco.