By Paul Geneson
El Paso should be proud to have a world class music store that’s weathered the changes over the years.
Those words are straight out of the mouth of George Reynoso, head honcho and musical guru par excellence at All That Music. Located, on 6800 Gateway Blvd East, near the Airway Blvd exit, the store buys and sells vintage music, as well as more recent music items. George has been in the music business for nearly 40 years—in several locations.
Long-time El Pasoans will remember George as a radio DJ in the 1970s. He went to work on the air straight out of high school. But unlike many of the personalities who come and go in the city’s music scene, he doesn’t appear to have aged. He’s still the energetic guy with the modified military cut who seems like he’s in the business for the long haul.
George can talk to you knowledgeably about vinyl and old 45s, of which he has a ton in storage. He can also talk about the seismic changes he’s witnessed while being part of the music business. Inside his store, besides the aisles of disc and vinyl, there is a small customer-friendly section devoted to Southwest Pop Culture, where you can enjoy newspapers and posters out of the past, as well as pictures and autographs, old records and other memorabilia.
“We have the largest collection of Juan Gabriel’s music in the city,” George said. He admits that the recently-deceased Mexican icon’s music has been moving briskly since his passing last year.
He also talks about the kinds of services the store offers: The funeral business, for example, which allows clients to ask for and purchase the favorite music of their loved ones; Media transfers; or help in locating a particular song or album that no one else in town seems able to come up with.
George points out that his store deals not only with local buyers but also with online clients, and visitors to El Paso. “People from all over the world compliment us on our product and the fairness of our prices,” George said. He mentions one customer from the U.K. who remains in regular contact with him.
What sets George apart from some of the come-and-go musical clerks is the fact that this guy has a history of music, and the evolution of the music business, in his head. And he’s not shy about sharing what he knows. From the days of the music store model in which a Tower Records led the way in new music sales, George can pinpoint just how that model went bust.
“Those people were not willing to change their business model,” he said. The stores began to close, and the landscape of the music scene has not been the same since. “It all started in the late ‘90s,” George says, bringing up a time that cannot be pleasant for music retailers to recall.
“It’s digitalization” he said, putting a name to the trend that fractured the music world. Today, he refers to his store as a “collector’s marketplace.” In the face of CD burners and Napster, which essentially allowed for free music distribution, he realized he’d have to re-position his business in this brave new world of music.
What George does these days is look through lots and lots of discs and records to buy and sell. A task, which is not that easy. “Records proliferate—they’re all over the place!” he said. And even if the collection of your dad or grandpa seems like a treasure to you, it may not look that way to a buyer walking in the store, George said.
“Ninety to ninety-five percent of almost every collection is common or not usable,” he says. Even the early Beatles records, if they’re deeply grooved, can’t be traded here. If not these guys, then who?
George talks of the “first issue” records of the classic performers, in good condition. The Beatles are still at the top of that list that also includes Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and The Doors. Soft rock of the 70s—think Neil Diamond—doesn’t cut it with today’s younger buyers.
What do they want? “Hard rock, edgy, classics, masters and pioneers of Rock,” George said.
George Reynoso is one radio guy from back in the day who can talk of the decline of radio today, and not seem bothered by that fact. He knows he may be the last man standing. But he’s not crying into his beer.
He admits he’s not fond of people coming to his shop with their cell phones on their ear. He knows they’re doing price comparisons. Still, he stays tuned in to the people who come to see him.
“We listen to people. We do what we need to do.” That seems to be the motto of George Reynoso in the year, 2017. As for what gives him satisfaction, he’s not shy to tell you, “Serving people with their needs is a joy and pleasure. That’s what I get out of all of this.” All that Music: (915) 594-9900 – www.allthatmusic.com