Record Hound: Scouring the Racks at Three Denton Record Stores

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It's easy to assume with a reputation like Denton's, the town would have more than three independent record stores. There are entities like the Denton Mini Mall and Mini Mall II on the square, which have independent sellers hocking used records on consignment, but the selection isn't big enough to cut the mustard, and they mostly deal in antiques anyway. There's Hastings, which sells new records, but they are excluded because of their chainosity.

This leaves the regal triumvirate of Recycled Books, Mad World and Books & More. All three provide legit reasons to lose hours thumbing through the racks, but for very different reasons. If you're a vinyl enthusiast and find yourself in town this week for 35 Denton, here's a little rundown.

Recycled Books on the Square is a landmark, with its unusual purple exterior and "Opera House" sign jutting out from the top, aiming at the courthouse. While it's probably more known for its books -- there are tens of thousands filling shelves in dozens of nooks and crannies that unfold like an unglued record sleeve throughout the store's three floors -- it has a decent amount of records. It's not hard to find a gem amongst racks of classical, country, rock, pop, jazz and soul records, and the prices aren't bad, averaging from $5 to $15 a record.

On the other side of the Square facing North is Mark Burke's record store, Mad World. He estimates they have about 5,000 records, give or take, including an impressive array of 7-inches. The difference between Mad World and Recycled is they have a majority of new records, still waiting to be undressed of shrink wrap, from Black Sabbath to Animal Collective. They also have the best selection of punk records in town, which makes sense, given Burke's participation in the Potential Johns, a band he played in with his brother Jeff, of Denton's Marked Men. Definitely worth a visit.

Books & More is probably the best choice for the used record-collecting purist. Because of its townie location north of UNT on University and Malone, sandwiched between a Dollar General and an Alcoholics Anonymous, it stands as one of Denton's best-kept secrets. Like Recycled, the store unfolds into several different rooms that all contain an amazing selection of used vinyl.

Their prices are just a little bit higher, but this is because of their first-edition collections of everything from a rare half-speed master of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour (priced at $500, but that's before the 70% discount all of their merchandise is temporarily receiving) to an even rarer Bubble Puppy record from '68. They also have a giant selection of easily affordable treasures from $1.50 to $20.

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