Memorabilia Shows are Still Alive and Well in the new Millennium

Bonnie Godas

As long as I can remember I have been a collector: old newspapers, sports memorabilia and of course music, which meant everything from old albums to books, t-shirts and ticket stubs. It is a hobby with many practitioners and a subculture which I recently found out is very much alive. The love and fascination of having something from the past can be both pleasantly nostalgic as well as profitable and brings endless pleasure and wonderful memories of days gone by.

For over thirty years Bert Barack from The Randolph Music Center has been hosting a music collectable show that attracts dozens of vendors from all over to sell music memorabilia; rare and current CD’s and yes, vinyl, which is making a huge comeback to hundreds of buyers and collectors that are looking for that unique musical treasure. Recently there was a story commenting on how record stores like Newbury Comics, founded in 1978, and Nuggets on Comm. Ave have had to re-invent themselves in order to keep in business. By searching out alternatives it looks like records are still viable in the pop-culture enthusiasts’ world.

When I arrived at the show that was held at the Holiday Inn in Dedham, I was greeted by a familiar face: Jim McCarthy an academic adviser from U.Mass who was the DJ du jour and gave the buyers and sellers a treasure trove of music that created an atmosphere true music lovers would enjoy. When I walked into the show room I was blown away by everything music: records, tapes and CD’s, posters, and even turntables.

The vendors ranged from radio show hosts to ex record store owners that saw the heyday of retail music sales come to an end and eventually engulfed by the sounds of cyberspace. But even though we have seen technology sometimes rear its ugly head we have seen determination from people like Burt that keep this art alive.

I spoke with so many cool people who fascinated me with their stories and how they fell in love with this hobby and in many cases had developed their interest into a very lucrative business (of course with the help of on-line sites) but were also once connected in other areas of the music industry. Many had been collecting for over 20 years and as people like Jerry told me stories of buying out estates that he saw advertised in the Want Ads (that’s pre-ebay guys) and have so much stuff in his house that there was no room for furniture. Ed Bowen, Bill Clark and Kevin were on hand selling musical merchandise but also hosted music shows such as “Yesterdays Memories” aired on Saturdays from 6-12 midnight on WATD 95.9 in Marshfield. Other vendors like Michael Melito and companies like monkeyhouse entertainment had a wide array of old 45’s and albums that brought me back to my “younger days” hence, the photo of the “lost” 45 in this article.

Other Vendors like Jay Michaels who for many years was a musical entertainer had his early days at Mosley on the Charles as well as doing many private parties on the south shore. He is now retired but continues is love for music by working at these collectable shows.

It was interesting to see so many people from all ages enjoy collecting and selling music and coming together just to have a great time and share a passion for the timelessness of music and Burt welcomes you to the next collectible show on October 25 at the holiday Inn in Dedham. Bring this review in and take a buck off admission.