RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#395: Dutch Boy
As kids in the 1980s growing up in Kitchener, we would buy our music anywhere we could find it. A lot of mine came from the mall: stores like Zellers and A&A Records. Other places to find music included Hi-Way Market on Weber Street. That store was incredible! They had the largest toy section I’d ever seen, and every Christmas a professional Lego builder would put together a giant display. None of these places exist anymore.
Another place that carried a small section of music was actually Dutch Boy Food Markets, just down the street from Hi-Way Market. It too is long gone, but I have many memories. It had a modest dedicated music area, but they also sold food, toys and clothing. It was considered a supermarket but it had a little bit of everything. My dad remembers buying many of my beloved G.I. Joe figures at that store. He also says that we bought our Atari 2600 there. That Atari still works today. I think we got it in 1982. My aunt actually used to work at a Dutch Boy location (not the same one) in Waterloo.
My friend Bob used to go there frequently. I used to think it was because he was Dutch, but it probably had more to do with the fact that one of the Kitchener stores was within biking distance.
One afternoon in early ’88, we hopped on our bikes and hit Dutch Boy to check out the music section. This “new” band called Whitesnake had been in our ears lately, but we only knew two albums: Slide It In and Whitesnake/1987. I didn’t even know they had any albums out before Slide It In at that point. You can imagine our surprise when we found numerous other Whitesnake titles at Dutch Boy: Snakebite, Trouble, Lovehunter, Come An’ Get It, Saints & Sinners, and Live…in the Heart of the City. All reissued by Geffen, all on cassette.
“Woah!” Bob exclaimed. “Whitesnake! Is this the same band?”
“No it can’t be.” I said. “They’re only supposed to have two albums!”
Each of us grabbed a mitt full of Whitesnake cassettes and began examining them for more details.
This Whitesnake and our Whitesnake were both on Geffen. This Whitesnake shared the same logo that was found on Slide It In. It had to be the same band after all. I explained this to Bob.
“This is the same Whitesnake,” I said. “Look…they are using the same logo.”
“Yeah,” he replied, “but have you ever seen that guy before?” He pointed to Mickey Moody on the cover of the live album. He sure didn’t look like anybody I knew from Whitesnake, but it was impossible to ignore the evidence.
“I think,” concluded Bob, “that Whitesnake are another band that had albums out before we heard of them.” That happened from time to time. We would discover a “new” band like White Lion or Europe, only to find that they had some little-known earlier albums. It made it both frustrating and exciting to try and collect albums.
We both started collecting the earlier Whitesnake music. Bob was first, picking up Saints & Sinners at Dutch Boy. He brought the tape over one afternoon for me to copy. We loved the original version of “Here I Go Again”, as well as “Crying in the Rain”. Later on, I added Snakebite and Come An’ Get It to my collection. I enjoyed the earlier, more rock & roll sounds of these previously unknown Whitesnake tapes.
I’m not sure exactly when Dutch Boy closed, but I do remember the last album I bought there. It was now spring 1990, and I had a CD player by then. Once again Dutch Boy did not disappoint. I found a Van Halen disc there that I had never seen before on any format other than vinyl. The album was Fair Warning. Since it was the most “rare” Van Halen I had found so far, I chose to buy it. It came to about $24 with tax, a lot of money for an album that was barely half an hour long. It should go without saying that Fair Warning was one of the best purchases that my young self ever made.
Too bad Dutch Boy had to shut its doors. It was a good store and I hear a lot of fond memories of it from others. Do you remember?