Three Stores in Bangkok

by Longboss


Friend, collaborator and committed digger Longboss reports that Thailand isn’t all bootleg DVDs and CDRs…

Bangkok’s Chinatown is where you can find Mr Chokkchai’s Broadway Records as well as Cathay records and an unnamed corner store run by the city’s grumpiest man. These three make up Bangkok’s (and probably Thailand’s) last remaining vinyl record precinct.

Rather than stock CDs, these places sell records as well as various turntables and cartridges. The digital age has seemingly completely passed them by, but Mr C does echo the oft-heard western retail complaint against “Bootlegs/Downloads/Cellphones. Mr Chokkchai’s service won out against the day-glo counter displays of Cathay Records where it wasn’t possible to listen to anything. Still, Cathay had plenty of copies of certain records which suggested “warehouse dead stock discoveries” are not an exclusively American concept.

Cathay Records

Broadway had plenty of jukebox type 7 inches, 80s Thai pop albums and over priced Englebert long players. Cover spotting seemed liked a good way to go considering the Thai language is complete hieroglyphics to me and Chocky was happy enough to pull me out some dusty 7s . The film of street dirt covering everything has led all three shop owners to come up with elaborate plastic coverings for the record bins, but by the time I got to Broadway I let Chocky’s fingers do the dusty work.

I profess to having no knowledge of Thai music beyond a couple of Finders Keepers comps of outsider rock that I haven’t actually listened to. But I did know the word “Molam”, which I think is a traditional Thai song structure/ type that has been compiled recently. So I received six records after explaining I wanted the weirdest traditional records he could excavate. The request was duly fulfilled- I played two of them at a friends that evening and they were indeed odd….even by my standards.

Broadway Record- digging for Molam

The verdict is still out on whether I will actually get any listening mileage out of this stuff but at 50 cents each, if worst comes to worst the covers are still cool and can double as wall mounts.

Emptysleeve note: check out Sublime Frequencies for a journey into Molam!

 Broadway and Cathay Records  Saphan Tek & Worachek Intersection, Charoen Krung Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Cathay's Gerard 501