Made In Chicago: Hard Boiled Records

CHICAGO (WBBM) — Hard Boiled Records in the middle of Roscoe Village has been selling records, books and movies for 14 years. Owner Mark Ferguson says there’s nothing quite like the crackle of vinyl.

“It’s a really nice sound to hear the needle hit vinyl,” he tells WBBM Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding. “We specialize in vinyl, we have some CDs but mostly we’re a vinyl store.”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding Reports

hard boiled records Made In Chicago: Hard Boiled Records

Hard Boiled Records. (Credit: Lisa Fielding/Newsradio 780)

Ferguson has worked in record stores all his life. Now, he’s surrounded by LP’s new and old. He estimates he has about 10,000 and counting. He specializes in soul 45s, Classic Rock and Beatles records, but there’s one artist you won’t find at Hard Boiled – Johnny Mathis.

“It’s nothing against Johnny Mathis, it’s just that his records clog up every thrift store bin for a quarter each, so there’s no profit for me to have them,” Ferguson says.

Named after a 1992 John Woo movie, the small store blends in among a row of swanky wine bars, quaint restaurants and kitschy thrift shops. He says his clients have changed over the years but their requests haven’t.

“People are always calling up looking for rare records. I get clients in their sixties looking for a record they had as a kid and I get teenagers who just got their first record player,” said Ferguson.

He was born in London but grew up in Minneapolis where he says music from The Replacements, Husker Du and Prince influenced his life and career. As far as his collection, he says he finds his records just about everywhere – at thrift stores, estate sales and people coming to him with LPs.

As for the future of vinyl, he says compared to the CD, it’s held on to its value.

“They’re a dying market and vinyl is still thriving,” Ferguson says.

Ferguson says the consumer’s love affair with records will never die and if anything, he says it continues to be passed on from generation to generation.

“I don’t think that’s ever going to change,” he says. “I think record stores will stick around a lot longer than travel agents.”

And he says that’s good news for Hard Boiled records.

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  • Ed Gould

    I know this flies in the face of current “trends” but LP’s have a decided advantage over the digital world. When CD’s first came on the scene I fought the CD wars. I guess I am one of the few people that can really tell the difference between the two.
    The one major advantage that CD’s have over LP’s is that CD’s do not wear out like LP’s and CD’s are easier to carry around than LP’s.

    I salute the store and hope they keep the war at least luke warm on> Hope they make a dent in the so called digital arena. Congrats and carry on!

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