Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Walt's Record Shop-  Downtown Syracuse

Downtown's  number one record store "The Record Shop" was first located at 114 West Jefferson Street (Loew Building) when it first opened in March 1951, it then moved around the corner to 352 So. Salina Street just two stores north of Loew's State Theater (now "The Landmark") in 1959. Now known as Walt Record Shop was owned by Walt Kandziela and operated by his brother-in-law Ed Grudynski and his son Gary till it closed its doors in July 1980..

Other who worked at Walt's were- Don Libensky, Dave Ridgeway, Don Bombard, Gary Podsiedlik, Larry Lieberman, Mark Kalsuga, Guy Capone, Steve Wasnick, Louie Everding, Dan Elliott, Kevin Adams and Gary Grudynski. All the major acts would stop by Walt's when in town- Johnny Cash, Tony Bennett, The Lettermen, Al Martino, Johnny Mathis, Gene Pitney, Buck Owens, Jerry Vale, Young Rascals and many many more. This was Syracuse's last great record stores where customers could audition (listen to) a vinyl record before buying them. Through it many years Walt's Record hop carried them all 78's, 45's, 33 1/3 albums, 45 EP's and accessories.

Note Walt's is where I bought most of my Buddy Holly albums & singles, Link Wray Lp "Slinky", Ritchie Valens Lp "Ritchie" and Syracuse Lp's & 45's releases thoughout the years.

Thanks to Gary Podsiedlik, Ed & Gary Grudynski

Gerber Music - Shoppingtown, Fairmount Fair, Northern Lights, Penn Can Mall & Auburn, NY

First multi-location super store was first called Shoppington Music (Shoppingtown Shopping Center in Dewitt ) it was owned by Bill Jr., Jean & Billy Gerber III starting on October 12, 1964. They expanding to the Fairmount opening Fairmount Fair Music & Records (managed by Mr. G & Jean Gerber). In 1966, they opened another a store in the Northern Light Shopping Center. Their name changed to Gerber Music in 1967. In 1976 moved into the Penn Can Mall... PS- They also had a Gerber Music location in Auburn, NY

Meanwhile the Shoppingtown Shopping Center had become the popular Shoppingtown Mall and Gerber Music moved into a much larger indoor location.

 If their was a musician who didn't work at Gerbers at one time or another, who are you.. Here are a  few- Dave Novak, Dave Paternack, Chuck Canastraro, Tom Carr, Terry Vickory, Tommy Allen, Oz,  Dan Dishaw, Jimmy Johns, Mark Copani, Gary Jenkins, Phil Owens, Micky Sage, Gary Zamory, Peter Heitzman, Gary Frenay, Arty Lenin, Justin Root, Bruce Tetley, Tom Prowda, Tom Corradino, Jerry Sorn, Joe Jewel, Mark Hoffmann, Mark Gibson and many more. .
Gerber Music Stores was the place to go with stores in the east, west, and northern part of CNY.  They had it all records, cassettes, 8-tracks, .sheet music, needles,  blank tapes, posters, accessories and instruments. Guitar  names like- Martin, Fender Gibson, Yamaha, Takamine, Peavey and others. Drum lines handled- Ludwig, Pearl, Sonar and others. Gerber's also handled quality amps, microphones and pa systems. They also specialized in instrument repairs (Dave Pasternack & Dan Dishaw). Gerber also sold tickets to all the popular concerts in the Syracuse area. One historic memory- Gerber Music sold ticket to the famed Woodstock Music & Arts Festival in 1968 for $8.00  Sadly Mr G. (Bill Gerber Jr) passed away June 11, 1976 at the young age of 59. Finally the Gerber Music locations were sold to Cavages in 1982

Many thanks to Bill Gerber III & Dave Novak

 Carm's Record Shop- Auburn 

Owned by Carm Iaconis (and her family) who's final location  was at 110 Genesee Street Street in the heart of downtown Auburn, N.Y. Carm was born in Rochester, NY, but attended St Mary's Elementary School & Central High School in Auburn, NY,

Carm then worked at H.L. Green Store in Auburn managing their record department. She later opened her own music store Carm's Record Shop at 69 1/2 Genesee Street on August 13-15, 1959. Opening Day Specials included $4,95 Pop, Classic and Show Tune Lp's mark down to $1.49 and  $39.45 priced record players slashed to $23.95. Carms then moved to a larger store at 110 Genesee Street carring a full line of records, tapes, hardware and accessories. Being a key CNY location, tickets for all the areas popular concerts were always available at Carm's.

Carm sold her music business to David Gidides in September 1982. Carm & her husband Fred retired in 1988. Our friend Carm passed away July 12, 2011. She is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Auburn.

PS- In just the last week I learned that both John D'Angelo (our teams  research expert) and myself bought our copies of the classic album "Dio At Domino's" at Carm's Record Shop/'

Greco's TV- Fulton -

Owned by Leo Greco and his sons Leonard & Tom Greco.  For many years they were location near the river at 70 So. First Street in the heart of downtown Fulton, NY, Greco's carried records, tapes, accessories, musical instruments (Gibson, Fender) along with  a full line phonographs, RCA televisions and Whirlpool major appliances. It was also a must stop for major event concert tickets as well. In later years, Greco's would eventually expand in downtown Oswego.  I was with longtime Timeline guitarist Mike Ferrante when he bought both his Gibson 1963 SG Jr & Les Paul from Tom Greco. The Greco family were some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet.

Olmsted's / University Hill Music Box (Northern Lights & So. Crouse Ave)

Owned by Bruce Olmsted and his family. They first opened as Ohlstead's then changed their name to University Hill Music Box (their location was on 754 So Crouse Ave (on the hill) near the SU Campus) and then expanded to the newly built Northern Light Shopping Center as Hi-Fi Music Box in the late 50's)\. This is where I bought the following four classic albums "The Buddy Holly", '"Ritchie Valens Live at Pacoima Jr. High" , "Ritchie Valens Memorial Album (Black cover), and "Eddie Cochran Memorial Album". They carried a very large selection of 45's hanging in wire baskets on the wall, many-many  floor racks containing 33 1/3 albums plus EP's and many portable and console style photographs.

Onondaga Music Company - Syracuse

Owned by Dave Gersoney, a life resident of Syracuse and President of the Onondaga Music Company till he retired in 1995. The business was started by his father and uncle in 1935. Onondaga Music was first  located at 119 W. Jefferson Street, later moved to a larger store on So. Clinton Street. They carried a complete line of sheet music, records, hardware and musical instrument along with music instruction. You could always find a great selection of jazz (Sal Nisitco, Mangiones Brothers, Chris Powell, Salt City Six, Jack Maheu ) as well as big bands and other popular national and local recording artist.

Our friend Dave Gersony  was a very kind man who always had time to speak to me about of Syracuse Music History. He  passed away on August 31, 1997 at age 72. He is survived by his son Howard also continued his association with Onondaga Music expanding into musical instrument sales and service until it eventually closure.. Howard was also a member of the popular band "Freeze".

W.T GrantsDowntown Syracuse

A large national chain store located in the mid 300 Block of So. Salina St. Yes Grants did carry new records. But the biggest reason you went their was for used 45's selling five of $1.00. I remember the early Beatle albums on the VeeJay label ....they had hundreds of copies stacked on the floor. And was the first location I saw Sam and the Twisters 45 rpm single "Fooba Wooba John" listed on the Lawn Record label as "The Original Soundtracks."

Clark Music Company - Syracuse

Although in business since 1859 (started by George Clark) we are focusing on music & record business starting in the 1950's. The Clark Music Company was then located at 416 So. Salina Street (where Sibley Department Store once stood). They featured  classical & popular records with listening booths, sheet music and piano rolls.. They handled quality pianos such as Steinway sales and service for over 100 years.  Also Hammond organs and names like Guild, Epiphone, Cortez, Ludwig, Gretsch and Kay musical products.

They relocated to 2922 Erie Blvd, East in 1967 and sold top shelf audio equipment till 2011. PS- You can still get excellent Steinway sales & service from our friend Frank DeFonda.

McNeil Muisc - Cortland, N.Y  

McNeil Music was the place to buy your records, tapes, sheet musi , record players, accessories and concert tickets along with Gibson guitars just like the ones used by Ronnie James Dio (SG Bass), Nick Pantas (ES 175), Dick Bottoff (ES 330),  David "Rock" Feintein (Gold Top Les Paul) and Doug Thaler (ES 335 Hollow Body)........P.S.- Gary Driscoll used Black Gretsh Drums
Thanks to Dick Bottoff

Record Runner- 177 Marshall Street on University Hill

Opened  in the late 1960's downstairs at 177 Marshall Street  (where Starbucks is today) right at the corner of University Ave just off the Syracuse University campus. Stocked some 27,000 vinyl, 8-track and cassette items. Was the first store in the Syracuse area to carry so called white cover bootleg albums, the very first if I can remember correctly being the Beatles  "Kum Back" sessions in September 1969. Followed in Dec 1969 by the the Rolling Stones Bootleg lalbum  "LIVE'r Than You'll Ever Be" on tthe Trade Mark of Quality label (TMoQ)..And many others followed..... They also opened a second location in Ithaca, NY near the Cornell campus.

Those were some of the biggest stores selling records in CNY, but their were many others, here are  a few.

Be Bop Shop (Liverpool), Busy Bee (105 No.Salina), Cavages, Chappell's (Northern Lights), Coles Music World (E. Fayette St), Daw Drugs, Desertshore Records (730 So. Crouse Ave), Discount Records, Easy Bargain Center (Gifford St), E.W. Edwards, Genesee TV (Fairmount), Geherin's (Auburn), Harrington Brothers (Cortland), Hi-Fi Music Shop (323 So. Salina), Klobby's TV (James St, used records),  S.S.Kresge's (So. Salina), Loblaw's Super Markets, McCory's (435 So. Salina),  Pat's Records- (No Syracuse), Record Kingdom (Arthur Lane), Record Theater (Marshall St in 1974), Shopper Fair (Erie Blvd), Spectrum Records (University Ave.), Dave Wilkins TV & Records, Wilsons Jewelers (310 So. Salina), F.W. Woolworth.. 

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