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As the next installment in our multi-part series covering Sacramento’s vinyl scene, we’re scouting out some of the best locations for you to pick up records around town. The first stop on our curated tour is Delta Breeze Records, located at 1049 Jefferson Blvd. #110 in West Sacramento. Delta Breeze opened just last year and is run by business partners Ben Johnson and Rick DaPrato.
When I first walked into Delta Breeze I noticed eye-catching albums on display above dozens of vinyl filled bins. Odd and far out album art are the order of the day here. Looking back at me were peculiar curiosities of 60’s and 70’s vinyl, watching guard over the shop. Included amongst these were the Beatles infamous “Yesterday and Today” “butcher cover”, and a bizarre spoken word disc titled “Sex, Should We Wait?” I loved it and immediately found myself digging through the bins and browsing around.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of a vinyl collection, aside from listening, is the hunt for the record itself, even if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Ben explains, “It’s kind of more tactile. I think it’s kind of human nature to want to go scavenge around. We evolved to be hunter-gatherers, walking around scavenging for stuff, so I think it might actually scratch a little bit of a primordial itch in our brains, the act of going out and looking for records.”
Lining the walls around into the shop’s second room, defining a small but cozy space, the vinyl bins are sorted by genre. The selection ranges from hip-hop, (I saw a pretty rad looking copy of an MC Hammer album), through rock and jazz, to classical and more. These jump out at you, beckoning the would-be vinyl explorer to venture further into the audio jungle and see what might be hiding inside. Something weird and wonderful could be waiting for you behind the next vinyl gatefold, or something you’ve been trying to add to your collection for some time. For its small size, Delta Breeze is loaded with a very good selection. Being something of a metalhead, I was thrilled when I came across original copies of Judas Priest’s “Screaming For Vengeance” and Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning.”
About 95% of the shop’s contents are pre-owned, along with some new releases from friends of Ben and Rick’s. You can also find records from local artists on consignment. Delta Breeze is an active participant in Sacramento’s vinyl scene, both buying and trading with the community. “I think it’s really important to trade super fairly with people,” Ben says.
Along with keeping active trade and selling of records going, this is one of the best spots to get a quality pre-owned record player system. “We’ve been expanding and selling a lot more stereo gear. I really like having inexpensive, reliable turntables available for people who are getting started. I feel like that’s kind of an underserved market in this city. You can go buy a new Crosley at Target or wherever, but those aren’t gonna sound very good. We’re trying to have good used turntables with new needles, all tuned up and available for folks.”
For the vinyl curious and those just starting out in the scene, Ben recommends starting basic but not skimping on the setup. “Get a receiver and some cheap bookshelf speakers. Get a good direct drive turntable. It’s worth a little bit of extra effort, and its gonna sound a lot better than an all in one suitcase turntable kind of thing. Speakers are actually pretty easy to come by. If you ask around, sometimes you can even get them for free.”
This speaks to one of the vinyl scene’s most appealing aspects once again: the human to human connection that is created when you go out and physically search and network with other people sharing a passion for the analog form. Instead of clicking a button to place an order, go on an adventure damn it! Get out of the house and into the community, and get to know your local record stores first hand. Happy hunting!