When In New Orleans, It's Euclid Records!

I'm in New Orleans this weekend at the Annual National Cardigan Welsh Corgi Board Meeting. No, I don't show dogs but my wife does and she's on the board so like a good hubby I tagged along.

What to do while she's having meetings? There's only one thing worth doing that I can think of, so I asked Acoustic Sounds' presidente and Louisiana native Chad Kassem where to go. Among other places, he told me to go to Joe Schab's Euclid Records. Schab's original store is still in St. Louis.

So I asked Siri for the location and she said "3401 Chartres Street." The hotel I'm staying at is on the same street, but a few miles away in the French Quarter, so I started walking and walking in the 90 degree high humidity heat.

I walked through the French Quarter, through a funky residential area, and then to a waterfront/semi-industrial area that appear to be in the midst of gentrification. A guy with a guitar on his shoulder rode by on a bicycle. I called out "Is there a record store back there?"

"Yes", he replied, "a few blocks up."

And soon, there it was, Euclid Records in all of its glorious purpleness. I walked inside and there were tens of thousands of well organized records of every musical genre.

Every local used record store always reflects the area's music and Euclid was heavy on New Orleans musicians and the city's rich musical culture so the bins were loaded with Fats Domino, Dr. John, Smiley Lewis Louis Armstrong and Allen Toussaint, among others but if you were looking for modern jazz, '60s rock or even classical, there was plenty of that too.

UK imports? Not so much, though on the back wall they had a good selection of Beatles Japanese pressings with OBIs. i could have replaced half of my collection with old records worth hearing that I've never heard. The store also was current with new releases. In fact I saw dozens of reissues I wasn't even aware of and even more new releases.

I could have bought dozens or hundreds of records, but I've already got hundreds, maybe thousands I've not yet auditioned. It's crazy but of course I had to buy some anyway, but not too many since I'd be carrying them back and walking miles in the heat.

So what to buy? Well I found the double 180g Pallas pressing of Pat Metheny's recent solo baritone guitar record What's It All About that I tried to buy on Nonesuch's website a few days after I downloaded the promo WAV file edition that sounded gorgeous, but it had already sold out.

Metheny covers everything from "The Sound of Silence" to "Pipeline" to "'Round Midnight' and "And I Love Her." A stellar effort mastered to vinyl at Sterling Sound. I can't wait to get home and listen.

I found a Mel Tormé album, The Touch of Your Lips, recorded live with arrangements by Marty Paich, pressed on transparent yellow vinyl on Venise "Live Color Stereo" Records.

I picked up David Byrne and St. Vincent's new LP Love This Giant that's been well-reviewed and the 180 reissue of Rodriguez's Cold Fact. He was the subject of the documentary "Searching For Sugarman" about the artist who recorded this obscure album in the '60s and then disappeared only to find it become a hugh hit in post-Apartheid South Africa.

It's on Light In the Attic Records, one of those "who knows what they're mastering from" labels that doesn't divulge sources. The packaging is high quality and the pressing appears to be good but who knows what was used for the lacquer cut? There's a "press inquiry" email on the back of the jacket so I plan to find out!

There were at least a dozen other new and reissued records I could have bought not to mention dozens of vintage jazz albums reasonably priced but I called it quits and was checking out when I noticed on the wall a copy of Forever Changes by Love, one of the greatest records of the 1960s.

"Was it a gold label original?" I asked. "Yes." I asked to see it and it appeared VG+ but it's a relatively quiet recording so it was risky. I got the guy down from $100 to $40 and took a chance. Once I got back to the hotel and had a better chance to look at it closely I could see plenty of spindle marks so it could have been a bad purchase, but my original has noise too so it was a worthwhile chance I think.

Next time you are in New Orleans, it's definitely worth trapsing out Chartres street to visit Euclid. Great record selection, interesting mix, reasonable prices, funky interior and a great place to hang out for a few hours!

Doctor A's picture

Make sure to check out their original store if you ever get to St. Louis! I love it, and have spent hundreds/thousands of dollars there over the years.

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sluggobeast's picture

Did not realize they had a store in NOLA. Just ordered a new release on their Euclid singles series, a new 45 rpm from the great NRBQ.

John C Freeman's picture

The record store looks like a great place.  Especaily if one wants to escape all of those Corgi's for a few minutes.  Never knew there was Cardigan Welsh Corgi Board.  Do the Corgi's wear Cardigans?  Just had to make this joke.  Thanks for letting us know where to hunt for records.

JC1957's picture

But it sure didn't look real busy. Would like to spend some quality time in there.

myheroiscoltrane's picture

Looks like a nice store. My go-to place in NOLA has always been the Louisiana Music Factory on Decatur St in the quarter-- nice jazz selection upstairs, was there last week and picked up several late Bill Evans titles. Wish I would have known about Euclid, too!

bobby62914's picture

Been to the original one in CWE many times when I lived in the Parkedge. Really cool store...

mikemoon's picture

I recently discovered that Light in the Attic records does divulge mastering information for a number of their reissues. A few of these include:

1. Lou Bond - Lou Bond (Remastered from the original tapes)

2. Wendy Rene - After Laughter Comes Tears: Complete Stax & Volt Singles (Glorious mono sound restored and remastered from the original tapes)

3. Jimmy Ford - Harlan County (Remasterd from the original master tapes)

It also appears they use high quality jackets. On the surface they appear to be a pretty legit outfit, at least aiming for quality. They also do some interesting music which can't be said for a lot of the reissues that are repeatedly overdone time after time. Some of the titles are a little more ambiguous about the mastering as they just say things like 'meticulously remastered.' Also as you can tell one of the titles above states 'original tapes' and one states 'original master tapes.' I see listings like this as well from major labels and the listings differ from online outlet to online outlet (Elusive Disc, Acoustic Sounds, etc.). It can be maddening sometimes.

Ajcrock's picture

I shopped at five places and found Jim Russel to have the largest selection.  At first the store looks so so and then you go into another room and another and another and you realize that the store will take days.  Most of it is organized and prices are in the $3-7 range.

myheroiscoltrane's picture

I was just there about 3 weeks ago... The place looked like they were hit pretty bad by the hurricane in late August. Found some good titles, though. The clerk (I think it might have been Mrs Russell) told me that business has been tough lately, especially with the hurricane aftermath. So, if you are in NOLA, check out Jim Russell's Rare Records on Magazine St near the garden dist. You won't be disappointed, and you'll be helping to keep a NOLA institution going.

oregonpapa's picture

Before I make the purchase, I always ask the person at the counter if I can look at the records in the sun. Sunlight reveals everything. Indoor, florecent lighting hides the flaws. If the person behind the counter balks at the request to look at them in the sun, I always offer to leave my drivers licience with them to ensure that I'm not going to run away with the records. If the still refuse ... I put the records back in the bins and walk out the door. I've been collecting records, mostly jazz, since the middle 50s. Yep, I'm an old dude who still thinks vinyl rocks.