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Funk Is All Around

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 21, 2005 6:31PM

For a brief moment, Chicagoist contemplated not going to the Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings show on Friday night (beer-fueled inertia is a powerful force). Thank God we rose to the occasion as our collective mind was freed with our ass following right behind. Then we woke up this morning (thanks for the day off, Messrs. Presidents!) and flipped on Comedy Central for our Daily Show fix and found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the classic blaxploitation parody I’m Gonna Get You Sucka. Finally, this week's Reader article about the "funk archaeologist" had us burning with jealousy. The signs are clear: it’s time for another trip to one of our favorite record stores: Dusty Groove America.

The house that funk built.Dusty Groove America’s literally-bricks-and-mortar location sits just south of Division on Ashland. While the architecture recalls the heyday of The Real World: Chicago house, the inside boasts one of the deepest vinyl collections of soul, funk, jazz and hip hop that we’ve seen in the city. It’s a nice change from other shops that treat these vital American art forms as also-rans. The first time we set foot inside DGA we cried twice: once with joy when we found the Funky Nassau album by The Beginning of the End and a second time as we realized we’d be eating ramen and water for the next week to pay for the box of LPs we just purchased.

But you don’t just have to head down to their East Ukrainian Village location to browse their wares; you can also click through their online catalog. Their weekly and monthly newsletters keep you informed about new arrivals and you can also request to be notified via e-mail when specific albums arrive in the store (so you can make sure no one else gets that rare Sun Ra album of music from the Batman television series). You don’t even have to wait for your order to be shipped as DGA offers a drive-up window that allows you to pick up your order of George Clinton’s finest without even leaving your car. (Sadly, fries do not come with that particular shake).

Image: Dusty Groove America