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Studio Time: An Hour of Power at Studio Records in Tulsa

While most record stores have a worn thrift-store quality to them, the ones I truly like are the near antiseptic bits of blue cool, where the albums are kept moderately clean and the prices non-negotiable, along with a varied selection of artifacts that you didn’t know you needed.

Studio Time gave that to me and more.

A few houses down from the bronze statue of Leon Russell on the Church Studio’s grounds, this shop is located in a makeshift house on 409 South Trenton Avenue in Tulsa. At first, it’s unassuming like a tabernacle, but past the foyer with art featuring Joey Ramone and other seminal figures, lies a well-cataloged marketplace of aural relief.

Now that I think about it, the place feels like a house of God, a holy temple of sonic waves; a truly magnificent place of audial worship, as long as you are an Oklahoma City audiophile with a Tulsa soul. Make a sign of the cross and sprinkle yourself with the holiest water.

I started my tour by making sure they had they a new copy of Tulsa-based Medicine Horse's debut album, put aside since called them last week. I figured that if I came up with nothing, at least I got a record of hymns from the most Indigenous band to draw on the baddest of spirits.

But, it turns out, I have plenty of righteous spirits in my corner.

Down the aisle, a Leon Russell vinyl was pointed at me, dead to rights. I tripped the light fantastic as I made my way through the spotless bins and came across Norman-born musician Jesse Ed Davis — one of the true heroes of Indigenous music – and his eponymous debut album. This was a great find.

The pickings were mystifying and transcendent, but I had to stop and check my budget. For example, I put back a George Harrison solo record in exchange for the astounding Wandering Spirit, Mick Jagger’s 1993 solo effort that I truly loved and was floored by its existence on vinyl. Primping never looked so good.

As I wandered through the orderly store, I realized they had more products than I could handle on one trip, so I decided to come back soon. But, as I was about to check out, off to my side and I found one of my grail pieces—a copy of Shakespeare’s Sister and their record Hormonally Yours for nearly $60 bucks.

Fractured, I broke down and I bought it. In my best Oral Roberts vernacular: I have sinned against you my Lord and I liked it!

I put my selections on the counter, knowing it was too much, but at this point I didn’t care. I was in the house of Studio Time, not a typical record store and this was not a typical trip. As my debit card went into the banking void, I sighed an orgasmic breath of relief, grateful for this store, and the new records in my bag of celestial triumph.

Before I left, I wanted to take a picture of Studio Records for my article, commemorating this grand moment in sound exchange, for not only Tulsa but all of Oklahoma. Amen and pass a new record needle this way.


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

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