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The End of All Music: new record store opens in Oxford

I got it in Oxford for five bucks


Oxford is often referred to as a cultural haven, so it may be surprising that until Friday, March 2, there was no record store in town.

The End of All Music is a new store in Oxford that sells new and used vinyls, record players and other hard-to-find trinkets that are dated but still used today. 

Owner Bruce Watson and general manager David Swider started cultivating their idea around November 2011 and in nearly four months had the store ready for customers.

“It’s just culture,” said junior finance major Andrew Walls, who has been a record-collector for five years. “It lets people reconnect with some of the old bands and gets people re-interested in music, which is always nice. Plus, it’s something nice to go and look at.”

Swider, a University of Mississippi graduate, grew up listening to his parents’ records, including bands like the Beatles and spending time at old record stores like Uncle Buck’s, which was located on the Oxford Square.

“I remember coming to Oxford when I was a little kid with my sister, who is seven years older than me, and getting her to drop me off at Uncle Buck’s and I would stay there for a couple of hours,” Swider said. “I thought it was the coolest store. I don’t how much money I spent there.”

With time, the ways people listen to music have expanded, but vinyl records are still the primary choice for some people.

“Records get beat up, too, but they seem to last a whole lot longer,” Swider said. “Obviously, because we are selling records from the ’50s and ’60s here.”

Walls discovered his love for records through his love for rock ‘n roll.

“The more I got into it, the more I started getting into the rarer stuff, and a lot of it you literally can’t find on CDs,” Walls said. “I would go scouring record stores to get old, rare records that no one had ever heard of in 30-something years, and I also bought some that you have heard of, like Zeppelin and such.”

After visiting The End of All Music, Walls said he was impressed with the quality of the records and the inexpensive prices.

“I’ve kind of gotten on a Byrds kick lately because I bought their first album, and Blue Cheer I’ve been looking for, and I found it, but it was bloody expensive other places and I got it in Oxford for five bucks,” Walls said. 

Walls left the record store with three records to add to his collection.

“On one side, they are sort of a collector’s thing, but I really enjoy the analogue sound as opposed to digital,” Walls said. “It sounds a bit fuller and a bit warmer. To me, if you’ve got a good record player, a set of speakers and a mint-condition vinyl, it will sound better than a CD.”

Watson is the general manager of Fat Possum Records, a recording studio in Oxford, which is not affiliated with the new store. And though Swider had no background in music except for his love of records, he did have experience in retail, so the two came together to give Oxford its one and only record store.

Watson was the owner of a store in Water Valley called Blue Heaven that sold records so he had most of the used stock needed for the new store. 

The newer records come from record labels and distributors. The store relies heavily on independent labels, according to Watson, so their survival is important for the survival of the record store.

As far as the future of the store, Watson and Swider hope to maintain business and introduce people to music whether it is by records or in-store bands. In its opening weekend, the store hosted live music by Jon Langford, a former member of the bands The Mekons, Dead Gaze, a local band, and Jack Oblivion from Memphis.

“We are still trying to figure out what people want,” Watson said.

The two Oxonians started The End of All Music in part because they wanted a record store and saw a need for it in Oxford, and they both have been a little surprised by the store in its opening days.

“We’ve had people come up to David and I, saying, ‘Thank you,’ and ‘Bless you,’” Watson said of the reaction from the community since the opening.