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Cappy's Record Store Detroit

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Can anyone tell me if Cappy of Cappy's Record Store in Detroit is still about.  From what I understand his store was probably in excistence from the late 50's to late 70's, I think he had lots of stock after closure that he sold at early format record fairs.

I have no idea if Cappy is still with us, I hope he is, if he is making contact would be great, any help here much appreciated. 

I am in contact with some lucky collectors who used his store and saw him at the record fairs in the late 70's, they've been helpful with recollections, but what I'm really trying to establish is did he have close contact with the Motown set up?

The picture I am building is he may have been an influential figure, clearly as a Detriot based store owner he would have been in prime position to sell, promote or distribute Motowns output, but I'm keen to know if he had any inside role or links with the Motown set up?

Looking forward to hearing from anyone.  Cheers, Lee

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Cappy's was still going in the 1990's and he had some good records at reasonable prices. Last time I was there in 2002, he wouldn't let me in: after peeping through the curtains, he recognised me and asked if I was interested in buying the store. By now, he had been cherry picked bare and had no customers for his 78's. I too have wondered what happened to him and also Bob May, another Detroit old-timer who served us well despite being well past retirement age.

Edited by FRANKIE CROCKER
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I bought rare Detroit and Motown records from Cappy's Record Mart in the mid-late '60s and '70s. He always had good stocks of almost all Detroit records ever issued, so I guess he had a good relationship with his distributors.  I don't know if he had any direct dealings with Motown.  He and Bob Mays and Fortune Records were the places to go.  I don't think his store is still operating.  But maybe he still has some of his records.  But, I haven't heard of him selling any over The Internet in the last 10 years.

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Cheers Frankie,

9 hours ago, FRANKIE CROCKER said:

Cappy's was still going in the 1990's and he had some good records at reasonable prices. Last time I was there in 2002, he wouldn't let me in: after peeping through the curtains, he recognised me and asked if I was interested in buying the store. By now, he had been cherry picked bare and had no customers for his 78's. I too have wondered what happened to him and also Bob May, another Detroit old-timer who served us well despite being well past retirement age.

Cheers, so he hadn't shut down, but he was selling through other outlets - record fairs.  Sound like he'd become a bit suspicious and shut himself away a bit.

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7 hours ago, RobbK said:

I bought rare Detroit and Motown records from Cappy's Record Mart in the mid-late '60s and '70s. He always had good stocks of almost all Detroit records ever issued, so I guess he had a good relationship with his distributors.  I don't know if he had any direct dealings with Motown.  He and Bob Mays and Fortune Records were the places to go.  I don't think his store is still operating.  But maybe he still has some of his records.  But, I haven't heard of him selling any over The Internet in the last 10 years.

Cheers Robb, since I was in touch with you I have had a number of conversations with collectors stateside who visited his shop and these fairs.  He was according to them the source of a lot of stock.   

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I found this on the DetroitYes forum. I was in Bob May's west side store in 2001 but found it uninteresting. 25 years too late no doubt!

'Bob Mays, proprietor of a bona fide record collector's store. His shop was on E. 8 Mile near I75, first on the eastbound side, then, for a few years until he was finally forced to close, on the westbound side almost across from the original. 
When I went in around 1968, Bob looked old to me (most everyone over 30 looked old to me, I was 18) and seemed to drink "a bit." He had a solid grasp of jazz records and their worth. I bought my first 78s from his store - a Bird Dial, and a Tatum Decca - and went back many times over a 30 year period, until I actually had most everything I wanted due to the advent of CD's. 
Bob is one of those guys who seemed designed for and destined to sell used records. He would have looked odd selling groceries, or car insurance, but was totally right for the record job. Thin as a rake, long bushy beard, smoked a lot, always dusty boxes piled high in corners and most everywhere else in his modest sized space. To borrow a quote about Duke Ellington, Bob looked like he'd seen it all, and done most of it. He still has a table at record collector shows. 
Now Cappy was different - stocky guy rough voice, friendly but didn't take crap from anyone. Always thought Cappy was an ex motorcycle gang member for some reason - just had a slightly menacing air about him, but once you talked with him for a while he turned out to be a really nice guy. And he knew his records, especially his Detroit records. I asked him once if he had any disco records, and he looked at me in disbelief before bursting into laughter for a solid minute. I wasn't joking, but I was too insecure to fess up and tell him I wasn't joking, and we moved on to other topics.
Cappy had to pack up most of his 'special collection' for some reason which I've forgotten, and wasn't in a big hurry to unpack them - if you've ever moved a lot of records, you know the effort involved. Cappy closed his shop a few years ago, and I that was a major loss for Det record collectors. I only hope he gets the chance to channel his amazing knowledge into a Det business of some sort - maybe selling records?? LOL.'

Subject was posted 6 years ago. 

Edited by David Meikle
final sentence added

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5 hours ago, SoulfulSolutions said:

Cheers Robb, since I was in touch with you I have had a number of conversations with collectors stateside who visited his shop and these fairs.  He was according to them the source of a lot of stock.   

Plenty from these shores been to see him and buy from him too.  Was only mentioned last night of the large stock of Ric Tic he had.

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I went to Cappys shop in 85 along with Guy Hennigan and Chris King. He had at the time an auction list out (still got it somewhere)  With Yvonne Verne as the most prized one to bid on. Shop was on 9 mile at ? quite a bad area. We had to knock for him to let us in and already had I think 3 guys looking, we attempted to make friendly small talk with them but they were a bit rude.......that is until our 4th partner confirmed he was Richard Popcorn Wylie, so they very quickly changed their attitude as these guys were from Chicago and did a radio show and wanted Popcorn to do an interview on the show. For me the falsehood shone thru, I turned my back on them, too late.

       Remember Cappy sporting a beard and smoking big cigar and that rough voice that can go hand in hand with that smoke, cant remember if we came out of there with any 45s or not

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I shopped at Cappy's a couple times circa 1986-88. When I tried going back after that he wouldn't let me in. I also would see him at record fairs around that time. I'm not sure he's alive....Bob Mays is still going strong, selling out of his house (and garage, and shed). I had a little chuckle over David Meikle's line about going there in 2001 and finding it "uninteresting." Ha! I've bought literally thousands of great records from Mays during the 30-year span in which 2001 sits smack dab in the middle. What were you looking for, David?

 

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Encouraged by Mr Fine Wines little story, here is a few words about Bob Mays. First time I went 85 he was on 7mile side of 8 mile, next time he had crossed the road to the 9 mile side of 8 mile so that would of been 87. I was on my own on that trip, got there late and he said he was closing up but if I wanted to follow him back to his house I would be more than welcome. He had a couple of sheds as "Weingarden" said with multiple runs of Mutt, Pelican, label stuff and a large double garage that when I opened the door slightly the records are tumbling out onto the grass,(quickly shut door) that's where I found my Sliced Tomato's on Lupin, never seen one before that. Talking of tomato's whilst I was digging around some of Bobs family were having a barbecue and I hadn't eaten for 2 days so they fed me as well.

               Back to the double garage, it was to bigger task to set about on my own so I took a chance and didn't go to far in, thinking I would pass it on to someone back here in the UK or on my next trip I wouldn't be alone (see these records were in boxes with plastic tape and written various dates mainly 71/2 ) you could see that they hadn't been opened from then. After I had finished up and had eaten Bobs mother came out to speak to me and had said if I ever wanted to stop at the house rather than pay for motels I would be welcome, how sweet is that. Time to go, can you ring me a taxi, no one of the relations took me back to Grand River and 7 mile.

               So for me it was like having a full service, records, food, sleep-over if required and taxi service.

                                    Thank-you Bob May's and family you are all stars. Gilly

                             PS I did go back to that garage with Andy Taylor 2 yrs later and still untouched but that's a story for the forth coming book about record hunting C/O A Dyson and Nicola Anderson due out at xmas

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On 3 October 2016 at 09:11, Gilly said:

Encouraged by Mr Fine Wines little story, here is a few words about Bob Mays. First time I went 85 he was on 7mile side of 8 mile, next time he had crossed the road to the 9 mile side of 8 mile so that would of been 87. I was on my own on that trip, got there late and he said he was closing up but if I wanted to follow him back to his house I would be more than welcome. He had a couple of sheds as "Weingarden" said with multiple runs of Mutt, Pelican, label stuff and a large double garage that when I opened the door slightly the records are tumbling out onto the grass,(quickly shut door) that's where I found my Sliced Tomato's on Lupin, never seen one before that. Talking of tomato's whilst I was digging around some of Bobs family were having a barbecue and I hadn't eaten for 2 days so they fed me as well.

               Back to the double garage, it was to bigger task to set about on my own so I took a chance and didn't go to far in, thinking I would pass it on to someone back here in the UK or on my next trip I wouldn't be alone (see these records were in boxes with plastic tape and written various dates mainly 71/2 ) you could see that they hadn't been opened from then. After I had finished up and had eaten Bobs mother came out to speak to me and had said if I ever wanted to stop at the house rather than pay for motels I would be welcome, how sweet is that. Time to go, can you ring me a taxi, no one of the relations took me back to Grand River and 7 mile.

               So for me it was like having a full service, records, food, sleep-over if required and taxi service.

                                    Thank-you Bob May's and family you are all stars. Gilly

                             PS I did go back to that garage with Andy Taylor 2 yrs later and still untouched but that's a story for the forth coming book about record hunting C/O A Dyson and Nicola Anderson due out at xmas

Gilly my friend...please, please please have all these stories written down and put them into a book, memoirs or anything for people to read..your a truely nice bloke with fantastic knowledge and an even better memory!!....always enjoy our chats over a ciggie outside the do's I see you at, very educational matey....kind regards...Rob.

p.s Nicola is a lovely girl as well....she also knows her stuff!....drive me mad you pair, but pick up some fab tunes from your knowledge!

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On 02/10/2016 at 23:24, weingarden said:

I shopped at Cappy's a couple times circa 1986-88. When I tried going back after that he wouldn't let me in. I also would see him at record fairs around that time. I'm not sure he's alive....Bob Mays is still going strong, selling out of his house (and garage, and shed). I had a little chuckle over David Meikle's line about going there in 2001 and finding it "uninteresting." Ha! I've bought literally thousands of great records from Mays during the 30-year span in which 2001 sits smack dab in the middle. What were you looking for, David?

 

I am interested in music history and not record collecting. The latter stopped circa 1975 at 3,000 discs most of which are long gone.

Graham Finch took me to Bob May's in 2001 and I recall he left with zero. 

He encouraged me to buy a Timmy Willis 45 probably out of loyalty to Bob. Cost me $5. I've still got it.

We then headed to Johnnie Mae's home which was a lot more interesting than Bob May's.

 

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I saw Cappy at a record show earlier this year, he's still buying records for himself, but not selling

never had a chance to visit his store, but I'm pretty sure that reason he closed it up in the 80s was crime - iirc a nearby store owner had been killed in an armed robbery

pretty sure he eventually sold the store stock to Carl and Candy ( RIP )

Bob Mays is still truckin' along, gardening, publishing poetry chapbooks and selling records out of his living room

 

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On 24 September 2016 at 22:53, SoulfulSolutions said:

Can anyone tell me if Cappy of Cappy's Record Store in Detroit is still about.  From what I understand his store was probably in excistence from the late 50's to late 70's, I think he had lots of stock after closure that he sold at early format record fairs.

I have no idea if Cappy is still with us, I hope he is, if he is making contact would be great, any help here much appreciated. 

I am in contact with some lucky collectors who used his store and saw him at the record fairs in the late 70's, they've been helpful with recollections, but what I'm really trying to establish is did he have close contact with the Motown set up?

The picture I am building is he may have been an influential figure, clearly as a Detriot based store owner he would have been in prime position to sell, promote or distribute Motowns output, but I'm keen to know if he had any inside role or links with the Motown set up?

Looking forward to hearing from anyone.  Cheers, Lee

Myself and tim ashibende went to detroit in 1979 and went over to Cappys record Mart.  I still have the address details from back then and so i checked on google to see if it still exists and it looks like there was a fire at the property.  Really sad to see these iconic record shops being destroyed.

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6 minutes ago, neckender said:

Myself and tim ashibende went to detroit in 1979 and went over to Cappys record Mart.  I still have the address details from back then and so i checked on google to see if it still exists and it looks like there was a fire at the property.  Really sad to see these iconic record shops being destroyed.

Not just the record shops but all things connected musically such as recording studios and old entertainment clubs things change so quickly over there, here is another example Butch sure you've seen these type of things much more than me but my first 3 visits to Detroit 85-90 I stayed at a motel Grand River@ 7 mile it was a safe area with a swimming pool. From 92-97 you could not book a room for a week, for a day, but by the hour, mind you that did include a woman and as much drugs as you wanted, like I said it had gone down hill and there was no mention of a fellow or even a sheep for that matter

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On ‎03‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 09:11, Gilly said:

Encouraged by Mr Fine Wines little story, here is a few words about Bob Mays. First time I went 85 he was on 7mile side of 8 mile, next time he had crossed the road to the 9 mile side of 8 mile so that would of been 87. I was on my own on that trip, got there late and he said he was closing up but if I wanted to follow him back to his house I would be more than welcome. He had a couple of sheds as "Weingarden" said with multiple runs of Mutt, Pelican, label stuff and a large double garage that when I opened the door slightly the records are tumbling out onto the grass,(quickly shut door) that's where I found my Sliced Tomato's on Lupin, never seen one before that. Talking of tomato's whilst I was digging around some of Bobs family were having a barbecue and I hadn't eaten for 2 days so they fed me as well.

               Back to the double garage, it was to bigger task to set about on my own so I took a chance and didn't go to far in, thinking I would pass it on to someone back here in the UK or on my next trip I wouldn't be alone (see these records were in boxes with plastic tape and written various dates mainly 71/2 ) you could see that they hadn't been opened from then. After I had finished up and had eaten Bobs mother came out to speak to me and had said if I ever wanted to stop at the house rather than pay for motels I would be welcome, how sweet is that. Time to go, can you ring me a taxi, no one of the relations took me back to Grand River and 7 mile.

               So for me it was like having a full service, records, food, sleep-over if required and taxi service.

                                    Thank-you Bob May's and family you are all stars. Gilly

                             PS I did go back to that garage with Andy Taylor 2 yrs later and still untouched but that's a story for the forth coming book about record hunting C/O A Dyson and Nicola Anderson due out at xmas

I met him first in '79.

In his shop one of the Sunliners made a couple of advances toward me. Unexpected and he didn't make a third but Bob cooled the situation and I made a note to myself to butch up.

Day after went fishing with Bob and another guy and first thing he did after a morning's steady drinking was to throw up in the back of the car. The lid had come off the container of rancid chicken livers we were to use for bait.

Awful smell but another drink and Bob was fine.

Got to the lake where Bob strolled around, taking in the fine view and copious amounts of beer and schnapps, until he fell in.

Got him out and left him to dry out.

Happy days.

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36 minutes ago, modernsoulsucks said:

I met him first in '79.

In his shop one of the Sunliners made a couple of advances toward me. Unexpected and he didn't make a third but Bob cooled the situation and I made a note to myself to butch up.

Day after went fishing with Bob and another guy and first thing he did after a morning's steady drinking was to throw up in the back of the car. The lid had come off the container of rancid chicken livers we were to use for bait.

Awful smell but another drink and Bob was fine.

Got to the lake where Bob strolled around, taking in the fine view and copious amounts of beer and schnapps, until he fell in.

Got him out and left him to dry out.

Happy days.

You've never said about this Rod, great stories, I remember when I first met him he would drink one can after another and smoke constantly and was he a man of few words sat behind his record shop counter but I did like him and its pleasing to know he asked of my well being thru Chris Anderton. Me and Tats sorted his entire garage out as all the shelves had collapsed and the records just slid out of the doors when opened. That was the deal me and Tats had with Bob, we tidy as we looked, and to be honest it made life a lot easier to do it that way, I know he loved the fishing and often went up to the lakes but that day he took a risk allowing us two to dig whilst he was away, of course we kept our part of the deal and on his return we opened the garage doors and I said "is that ok for you Bob", he didn't say much but you could tell by the smile on his face he was well happy, he hadn't seen the back of the garage wall since about 1972 and this was 1990

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2 hours ago, Gilly said:

You've never said about this Rod, great stories, I remember when I first met him he would drink one can after another and smoke constantly and was he a man of few words sat behind his record shop counter but I did like him and its pleasing to know he asked of my well being thru Chris Anderton. Me and Tats sorted his entire garage out as all the shelves had collapsed and the records just slid out of the doors when opened. That was the deal me and Tats had with Bob, we tidy as we looked, and to be honest it made life a lot easier to do it that way, I know he loved the fishing and often went up to the lakes but that day he took a risk allowing us two to dig whilst he was away, of course we kept our part of the deal and on his return we opened the garage doors and I said "is that ok for you Bob", he didn't say much but you could tell by the smile on his face he was well happy, he hadn't seen the back of the garage wall since about 1972 and this was 1990

Don't often get the chance as I always seem to end up in a conversation about ZTSC #'s and then I wish I'd stuck to stamp collecting.

I always found him very talkative but a combination of drink and his hillbilly drawl meant I rarely understood a word.

 

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Hi guys,

I'm a documentary filmmaker who is working on a short profile video about Bob May, the owner of May's Records in Detroit. As many of you know Bob's store was an important pilgrimage site for many collectors, especially those into Northern Soul. I've spent some time with Bob and spoken with several American collectors who know him well, but I still need to chat with some British collectors to get their side of the story.

The interview would be over Skype or phone and just take ~20 minutes. The sort of questions I would ask are: What sort of reputation does Bob have in collecting circles? What was it like to go into his store? What sort of records did you buy from Bob? How would you describe Bob as a person? How important was Bob to Northern Soul?

If you are interested in chatting with me or you know someone who would be interested in chatting with me please reply on this thread or to my email alex.hotz@ozy.com

Lastly, here's some pictures of the man himself that I took a few months ago at his home in Hazel Park.

Cheers,

Alex

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1 hour ago, Derek Pearson said:

See attached photograph - taken by me - of Bob May's shop/store in Detroit circa September 1992.

Derek

Bob Mays Detroit Sept92.jpg

Thanks for posting it Derek. I remember it well. Leaky roof. Inside, it felt more like a hut than a store. Made several visits in the 1990’s and got plenty of nice records.

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Am currently in Detroit and have driven along 8 Mile Road. Both Cappy’s and Bob Mays premises have been demolished and the sites are empty. Using a 1994 map marked with locations visited on a 1995 trip, Cappy’s was located at 16060 East 8 Mile Road and Bob Mays at 126 West 8 Mile. The map has also got details of other stores visited such as Car City Records, Tom’s Tunes, T & C Oldie Centre, Record Time and Melodies and Memories. Back in the 90’s, you had to have a paper map to get around. Once you had ripped the list of record stores from the Yellow Pages, you were ready to go digging. I found plenty of records on five trips between 1995 and 2002. I’ve just added three more record stores to the old map and am about to drive out to them to see what can be found...

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12 minutes ago, FRANKIE CROCKER said:

Am currently in Detroit and have driven along 8 Mile Road. Both Cappy’s and Bob Mays premises have been demolished and the sites are empty. Using a 1994 map marked with locations visited on a 1995 trip, Cappy’s was located at 16060 East 8 Mile Road and Bob Mays at 126 West 8 Mile. The map has also got details of other stores visited such as Car City Records, Tom’s Tunes, T & C Oldie Centre, Record Time and Melodies and Memories. Back in the 90’s, you had to have a paper map to get around. Once you had ripped the list of record stores from the Yellow Pages, you were ready to go digging. I found plenty of records on five trips between 1995 and 2002. I’ve just added three more record stores to the old map and am about to drive out to them to see what can be found...

Good luck m8 hope ya find shitloads 👍 I'm proper jealous 😂😂.atb baz

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