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A Decade of Hits: Trolley Stop Record Shop Celebrates Ten Years

10:10 AM EST on November 8, 2021

I finally got my Covid booster last week and, for the first time since this pandemic began, it slammed me like a ton of bricks with extreme tiredness and mild congestion.

While I know there are people who have it far worse than I do, it still kept me in bed for a few days, my pup Sean snuggled next to me for warmth and comfort.

I wanted to get better—I had to get better—to at least to stop by and tell Trolley Stop owner Johnny good job on staying open for so long, practically an eon in Oklahoma City’s ever-rotating small business merry-go-round. Downing a handful of ibuprofen and a good amount of no-name brand cough syrup, I started on the short walk there, the breeze making every hair on my skin scream in gentle pain.

I’ve always admired the frontage of 1212 N. Penn, with the sun-faded copies of old platters in the window to give a little bit of shade. But it’s beyond the door where an audiophile’s wet dream of forgotten favorites, rare classics, and unknown treasures sit and wait, shelved in an ever-expanding collection that is the dry reality of any music lover and their excessive want list.

As a pair of local musicians set up their instruments on a stage in the back, various customers were helping themselves to Empire Pizza and browsing through the stacks and stacks of hot wax. After making niceties with owner Johnny—a good guy that has always given me an even better deal on records—I did my usual trek through the store, always checking out the latest Beatles bootlegs first.

I found a few, not a bad outing.

As the guys on stage began performing the various hits of the hair metal ensconced late-eighties, I walked by the food, and as much as I enjoy free pizza—and do I ever!—I just wasn’t feeling up to it today. But, as I peeked out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a copy of Vanity 6’s debut record, a personal crush of mine since the early eighties, not even priced yet.

I walked up to the front to ask him how much the album is and met Johny Barbata, the former drummer for numerous bands, including Jefferson Starship. Apparently he lives in Ada and has spent the past few years working on his autobiography, The Legendary Life of a Rock Star Drummer. I immediately bought a copy of said book, complete with a personalized autograph and, honestly, can’t wait to get into it.

The other Johnny was sitting in a chair by the door and when I flashed him the Vanity album, he suggested a few bucks. After totaling up my records for the day, I paid him his cash—it’s cash only here, by the way—and said thank you for keeping this old school record store going; thanks for the past ten years, thanks for the next ten years, I guess.

When I got home, I put the Vanity 6 record on my long-player and, muscles sore and lungs tight, laid down for a few minutes. It turned into an all-afternoon slumber, an extended realization of the ribald video for the track “Drive Me Wild,” one that continued on well past the needle hitting the label, skipping ad infinitum.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78

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