A lifelong vinyl fan has fulfilled a dream by opening a record shop and being part of the local music community and culture.
Gordy Boy Records trots into Adelaide Arcade
For Ed Rooney, owning a record store has been a dream for 24 years, and it’s one that’s now realised as Gordy Boy Records has opened on Level 1 of Gay’s Arcade, adjoining Adelaide Arcade.
Gordy Boy Records
L1/104G Gay’s Arcade, Adelaide 5000
Weds – Thurs: 10am ’til 5pm
Friday: 10am ’til 9pm
Saturday: 9am ’til 5pm
Sunday: 11am ’til 5pm
The name, as the logo suggests, is for Ed’s schnauzer, Gordy.
“He’s more famous than he realises now,” Ed says.
“I could have opened this up and it could have been ‘Reissue Records’ or another really catchy, great name – but I wanted something that said Ed.”
As a lifelong record buyer himself, Ed understands the community of vinyl lovers in Adelaide is a strong one, and it’s not something he wants to disrupt.
“I can remember when there was multiple Big Star Records in Adelaide, and my local was at Marion. That’s the sort of vibe that I come from, and that’s the vibe I want to get through here,” he says.
“I’m very proud to be part of an Adelaide record culture that has stood the test of time.”
Ed is inspired by local record stores that have survived declines in physical media sales in recent decades but are now experiencing a record revival.
“I look at Clarity records as an absolute bar-setter for record stores throughout the country,” he says.
The Mark of Cain shirt Ed is wearing the day CityMag visits is a giveaway that when it comes to supporting locals, it’s not just the record retailers he’s a fan of.
“What we want to do is obviously stock The Mark of Cain, West Thebarton, all those guys, but we’ll probably do that the same way we stock The Beatles to be honest.”
It’s smaller local artists Ed has in mind to stock in a special stand in-store, where they can sell their records on no consignment and feel supported to get their tracks in front of vinyl enthusiasts.
“It’s really important to be encouraged and sometimes that is lacking in smaller cities,” he says.
“These guys,” Ed gestures to The Mark of Cain logo embroidered on his shirt, “have had that support in the 80s, that’s got them where they are, we want to give that support to new artists.”
As well as local bands, you’ll be able to find a range of records across rock and popular artists, metal and industrial, punk, indie and alternative, funk, soul, blues, disco, reggae and soundtracks.
Ed says Gordy Boy Record’s collection will be informed by the shopping patterns of Adelaideans.
“In 12 months time, if I go back and I see that we have sold more jazz records than anything else, we might become a jazz record store but for the meantime, we just want to make sure that we’ve got everything that we need.”
Ed has always collected records and understood how meaningful music can be, but he says it was his time in the insurance industry working in valuing people’s home and contents as a loss adjuster that made him understand the value of people’s hobbies like collecting.
For himself, Ed is currently favouring funk, soul, blues and disco after a lifetime of listening to rock and popular artists like Pearl Jam, Radiohead, and Nirvana.
Ed says although he’s no recording artist, he thinks tracks that are typically higher quality on vinyl are those recorded organically, acoustically or within one room.
As for his must-hear-it-on-vinyl pick?
“If you can get your hands on a 1970s pressing of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, that sounds amazing.”
It’s important to Ed that shopping at Gordy Boy is a personalised experience, with no drop shipping, and all store-bought or online orders being something Ed’s held in his hands and puts in a box himself.
Records are priced competitively, with preloved records also available at a lower price point.
Ed says preloved records are priced without needing to consider shipping costs – a consideration for other stock – as Australia isn’t a large player in vinyl pressing manufacturing.
However, nationally vinyl is the fastest-growing category in music sales, with a 23 per cent increase in sales in 2022, reaching $36.9 million, according to the Australian Recording Industry Association. In line with this, two additional vinyl production plants have opened in Australia in the past two years, joining Melbourne’s Zenith Records which was the country’s only one through most of the 2010s.
From Gordy Boy you can expect records (duh), CDs and more music merchandise coming soon.
Gordy Boy’s home in the Adelaide arcade is above Caffe L’Incontro, near Adelaide Comics Centre and Mad Zombie Collectables, which Ed describes as a cultural hotspot in the “brilliant and beautiful arcade”.
Ed is eager to make space for local live musicians in store and will offer DJ sets at cocktail bars and nearby venues to get out there among Adelaide’s music scene.
Gordy Boy Records is located on Level 1, 104G Gay’s Arcade, Adelaide and is open Wednesday ’til Sunday.