If you haven't been to Rooky Ricardo's Records (448 Haight Street), that's a shame. It is one of the retail gems of the city, and an expertly curated flea market of mid-century music gold, mostly in the form of 45s. It's the place the Hard French DJs go to find lost Motown classics and vintage soul, and the place that record lovers flock to because of owner Dick Vivian's unflinching love for non-digital sounds.
The store is now 26 years old, and on that occasion GQ has just done a profile of Vivian, who's put in a lifetime to his own record collection (approx. 75,000 strong), and who's lived in the Castro since the 1970s. It's a great portrait, written by Byard Duncan, and it not only touches on the role of the store in preserving music culture, it delves into Vivian's personal life, which may be all too familiar a story for gay men of a certain age in this town.
Vivian notes that "Probably half of what came out on 45s has never been documented," and it's basically unobtainable outside of random flea market finds. Which is what make curators like him so vital to the preservation of mid-century music.
And, like old times, there are listening stations at Rooky Ricardo's with turntables and headphones so you can hear everything before you purchase it. Basically, if you haven't been, or haven't been recently, it's time to make a trip over there. And lucky for Dick Vivian, his tastes, which lean toward 60s girl groups, are very much en vogue right now.