by Gary Chapman
The walls are alive with the 12×12 records at the new Riverbend Records on Homer Adams Parkway in Godfrey, Ill.
The store, owned by country musician and record collector Billy Hurst, opened on the 24th with fanfare, with a band playing and a Morales Taco food truck providing refreshments. Speaking of refreshments, one thing that makes Riverbend Records interesting is the fact that, unlike a lot of record stores in the area, they serve alcoholic beverages, mostly beer.
Most of the main areas of the store are four, approximately 20-foot racks filled with new and old records, with each being marked with media quality and cover quality. In the center of the store, there is a lounge area where people can sit down. The muzak in there is a Sirius XM Country station, which considering the owner’s background, makes sense.
Near the bathrooms is the “sound room” where you can see box sets and buy hi-fi equipment like all-in-one systems and new record players.
The racks of records also have little areas of Japanese pressings and others. The walls also have rare records including a first edition pressing of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and some funk and rap records like NWA’s seminal “Straight Outta Compton”.
The only major gripe I have with the store is the CDs, which are in the back and need to be organized better. It is in some alphabetical order, but then genre-wise it is a mess— you will have Rage Against the Machine next to Reba McIntire. I did pick up some CDs when I was there, “Evil Empire” by RATM and “I Get Wet” by Andrew W.K.
In conclusion, Riverbend Records has an allure compared to local record stores like Slackers; while Slackers does have a decent section, the prices and atmosphere have a different feel. Riverbend has a warmer allure.