It's a shame that in a year when three fledgling vinyl shops have opened within three miles of one another — Vacation, Origami and Territory — the granddaddy of all L.A. music vendors is closing operations. The mid-city-based Music Man Murray has serviced the Southland for no less than 47 years, specializing in the rarest of rare old music: pre–World War II jazz recordings on 12-inch, long-lost R&B classics on 78s, small-press '60s rock on 45s, and even 19th-century Edison cylinders. The store's sole proprietor and often lone worker, 87-year-old Murray Gershenz, is a famous treasure himself — a former opera singer who made it his life's work to not only know all of the music that he carried, but his customers as well, many of whom relied upon his insight to build up or top off their own impressive collections. Word has it that Louis Armstrong and Mae West, among others, used to call Gershenz in search of their own records, lending an oddly literal bent to the Music Man motto, “You name it… we find it!” Sadly, Gershenz will soon close up shop in favor of a somewhat burgeoning career as a character actor, meaning all those records — so many that he once used a conveyor belt to move them between floors — may just vanish into the ether. 5055 Exposition Blvd., Baldwin Hills. (323) 734-9146, musicmanmurray.com.
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