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Doo-Wop-O-Philes

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"The old 45s and LPs from the '50s are getting harder to find," says Duane Miller, store manager of PDQ Records and Tapes. "As the years go by, it happens less and less, but we still get a cardboard box full of goodies from time to time. Supplies may be dwindling, but the interest level remains high among collectors."

Ethan Cox, music manager at Bookman's on Grant Road, says he still takes in both 45 and 78 rpm records on a daily basis, but quantities are diminishing. "We don't get a lot of the old-format records," he says. "Much of what comes in is run-of-the-mill stuff that gets marked a dollar a record and goes out the door fast at that price."

Richard ("no last name--no photo, please") is one of the regulars who makes the rounds looking for specialty records. He's kind of like Tony the Tiger whose face remains in the shadows while he fesses up to a fondness for frosted flakes. "I went into a thrift store to buy a shirt and came out with an old record that cost me 50 cents," says the transplanted New Yorker. "That was 10 years -- and 5,000 records ago," he says, insisting on anonymity to protect his collection from others who might like to relieve him of it.

"Tucson is one of those rare places where you can still make discoveries," Richard admits. "I have a lot of old rhythm and blues tunes from relatively unknown artists, good stuff that I've picked up at yard sales, swap meets and various thrift stores around town. Military personnel making frequent moves, both into and out of the city, may unload their record collections. And there's a lot of retired folks here that ultimately get tired of carting around their old record collection and decide to part with the past. I just hope I'm on hand when they make the decision to sell."

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