By Dr. Disc
Goldmine’s secret shopper — who will be known to you only as Dr. Disc — travels extensively and loves to visit record shops during those trips. An avid collector and music lover, the good Doc scopes out shops near and far and grades them on a scale of 1 to 10 in each of five different categories: Stock, Staff, Store, Selection and anything deserving of Special Mention. Up this time is Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Name: Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art Inc.
Address: 252 Delta Ave., Clarksdale, MS, 38614
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday
STOCK: This store carries everything and anything that deals with the blues and the Mississippi Delta Blues; records, CDs, books, posters, shirts, paintings, hats, photographs of blues greats and movies. This store does not feature any other styles of music.
STAFF: I met store owner Roger Stolle the day I visited. He is an encyclopedia of blues knowledge, and the best part is that he is willing to share his knowledge.
STORE: This store is clean — but it tries to not look that way. The shop is designed to look like an old-time store with missing places of plaster, but it is nicely laid out, and it’s easy to see everything.
SELECTION: Because the store only carries blues artists, it has a very specific customer base. If you want blues items, you will find it here. But if you want anything else, you’ll need to go to another store.
SPECIAL MENTION: This shop should be on every record collector’s bucket list. Paste magazine called it one of the 17 coolest record stores in America. It’s featured in the book “1,000 Places To See Before You Die,” as well as the “Lonely Planet” and New York Times’ “36 Hours” guidebook series.
Cat Head won the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive” award in 2008 and a Blues Music Award for its DVD ”M Is For Mississippi” in 2009. The shop leads blues festivals every April, August and October and participates in National Record Store Day, albeit with a focus on blues releases — “This is a blues store,” Stolle says. But, Stolle is happy to share the wealth; the first person to tweet Dr. Disc (@Doctordisc) with the official movie tagline for “M Is For Mississippi” will win a prize courtesy of Cat Head! GM