It began as a temporary spot where owner and founder Dick Vivian could unload 35,000 obscure vintage soul and R&B singles he'd purchased from a defunct distributor. Some 20 years later, Rooky Ricardo's Records' Lower Haight storefront has become an internationally celebrated archive of rare and under-appreciated soul, jazz, funk, pop, and R&B records from eras long gone. Famous customers include Matt Dillon, DJ Shadow, and members of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Fine Young Cannibals — several of whom have used the records they bought here to make now-famous beats. But don't come to Rooky's looking for big names like Otis Redding or Marvin Gaye. Instead, let Vivian and his staff of experts — who also DJ S.F. parties like Sweaterfunk — turn you on to more obscure mind-blowing music from four decades ago. With a battery of turntables set up for your listening pleasure; plenty of colorful posters, records, and other kitsch on the walls; and enough vinyl to occupy seven hip-shaking lifetimes, Rooky Ricardo's is more like an educational music salon than a regular ol' record store. And that's exactly why we like it so much.
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