I'vewritten two or three times over the years about a store in my hometown of Huntingtoncalled Kropotkin Records. It opened in 1970, when I was 15, and was an idyllichangout for hippie teenagers who loved rock 'n' roll and the counterculturethat flourished in that era. As opposed to its one competitor in town, a fuddy-duddybusiness that had a larger stock of Perry Como than Buffalo Springfield, Kropotkinwas an oasis where the young owners were two of "us," who dug themusic and would gladly talk for hours about current releases, politics and thenewest issue of Rolling Stone or National Lampoon.
The firstLP I bought there, for $3, was Workingman's Dead, by the Grateful Dead.I remember riding my bike early in the morning, about 6 a.m., picking up plumsand pastries for the journey, visiting "straight" friends over inanother part of town and then about noon, smoking a joint and reporting to Kropotkin's,where I'd spend the next two or three hours. It was a cool way to killa summer day. There was a "spare change" box at the counter, no cashregister, a list on the bulletin board of which customers were on the "shitlist" and endless talk from one of the owners, Tom Pomposello, about theblues. That wasn't my interest, but it opened a whole new musical worldfor my buddy Mike Bifulco, who subsequently became very close with Tom.I also remember Tom and his partner Rob Witter good-naturedly makingfun of me as I'd try to decipher hidden meanings in the pretentious coversof Moody Blues records.