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Bill's Records: Better Than Ever, Seriously

We spent a lot of time earlier this year memorializing the original Bill's Records and Tapes on Spring Valley Road, which closed up shop in February after 26 years at that location. But we've not written a single word about Bill Wisener's new digs on South Lamar Street, right next to Poor David's Pub. (The Web site has the old address, of course.) Truth is, I hadn't been in there till Tuesday, after a meeting in the Cedars. Only meant to say hi to Bill, stay a few minutes and tour the new joint. Wound up staying, oh, an hour.

Wisener says moving everything out of the old store -- and several warehouse units in which he'd been piling stuff for years -- was like "revisiting my life story"; he found dozens of items he'd completely forgotten about, among them a stack of original Beatles 45s.

The new joint, with row after row after row of neatly grouped but completely random jumbles of vinyl titles classic and otherwise, is far more organized than the original place, naturally. He's still moving and unpacking things and will keep doing so till the official grand opening -- which, in typical Bill's fashion, is scheduled to take place "around November." But, of course, the place is open this very moment -- and Bill's behind the counter, as usual, a lit smoke twixt his fingers.

I did notice this much: Bill has what's easily the most extensive collection of local CDs you'll find anywhere -- from the familiar (Bedhead, Reverend Horton Heat) to the long-forgotten-about (Juno Specter, Birch County). He's got "boxes full" of Tripping Daisy's debut Bill (the original Dragon Street Records version, no less), cases of Three on a Hill vinyl (he helped finance the thing, after all) and a row of Moon Festival releases for fans of the Nourallah Brothers. Only, most of the stuff doesn't sell much; says Bill, the only people who buy local CDs "are the band members who lost their copies." --Robert Wilonsky

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