RIP: Jim Philbrook, publisher of Record Convention News

Jim Philbrook, publisher of Record Convention News

Record collectors lost a great ally when Jim Philbrook died. I’ll let his good friend Steve Propes tell the story:

I met Jim Philbrook in the 1980s when he was a single father raising his daughter Raina in Long Beach. He was born in Massachusetts on March 26, 1943, grew up in Avalon on Catalina Island and went to Avalon High School. From there, it was Long Beach.

He was a big blues and R&B fan and was always involved with record shows meets and blues shows – he was always at the great blues shows at the Nugget and Cal State Long Beach, where we saw acts like Etta James, Johnny Otis with Shuggie, Lloyd Glenn, Jimmy McCracklin and other unbelievably great talent at a small beer place generally used for students on campus.

During the 90s, Jim produced a very good record show at the Holiday Inn in Long Beach, but the city close it down for reasons that still escape me. Paranoia against small guys having success, I figure.

Jim lost his job at the harbor because of illness and the union wouldn’t go to bat for him, so he was pretty well screwed. He got a job placing tapes at gas stations throughout California, which meant he had to drive from Long Beach to Santa Rosa twice a month in whatever car he could muster up.

He started Record Convention News on a shoestring and kept it alive and viable all by himself and a handful of writers he could trust. He was always looking for writers to add articles to write about forms of music he didn’t exactly love – hip hop, punk – making him very open minded when it came to all music. His own favorite was Lord Buckley, a passion I didn’t exactly share and could quote his routines and life story, and the hipster scene in general.

He was very opinionated, would spout off about a subject at – great – length at the drop of a viewpoint and could go on with very informed opinions. He was self-educated, well read, very ethical and a good guy to hang out with. He’ll be missed.

Record Convention News was a great publication that I used to pick up for free at record stores whenever I could. I never met Jim, but I knew Steve, who was an associate editor for this paper. Unless some angel decides to step in and continue Jim’s one operation, I have a feeling we’ve seen the last of this publication, unfortunately.

Steve Propes just launched a new blog of his own, called simply “45 RPM.” Coincidentally, one of his very first posts to this blog is the story of his rare “Louie Lovie” 45, which Jim Philbrook played a part in. It’s a little different article from the “Louie Lovie” article I posted a few days ago. Be sure to check out Steve’s blog at:

My thoughts go out to the family and friends of Jim Philbrook.

1 comment to RIP: Jim Philbrook, publisher of Record Convention News

  • Ron Rogers

    I met Jim in 1964 on Catalina Island. I had moved from Temple City living with my parents to living with my grandparents on the Island.
    Jim and I became friends the first or second day of our senior year at Avalon High. He was a wonderful friend. Extremely intelligent and worldly. He was the type of person that knew a lot about a lot. Unlike me that seems to know a little about a little. I was always impressed by his knowledge of music. He introduced me to the world of jazz, King Pleasure, Ella, Nancy Wilson, Modern Jazz Quartet, and many others too numerous to mention here. Even Ray Charles in the old days. We would sit and listen to music for hours.

    The Principle at Avalon High called Jim, Jeff McCollough, (another friend) and I, the Three Muskateers as he was jumping our case for stealing the school mascot. The whole school was pretty much up in arms about the whereabouts of that mascot for a couple of weeks. We finally did return it and never did tell anyone we took it. Mr. Ellis, the principal never really knew we took it but he had his suspicions.
    Jim was a very serious but happy person. Adventurous and always had a lot to say. Loved and respected his uncle more than anyone I think. He always talked very kindly of him.
    Jim introduced me to my wife when we were kids in high school. He was a very good matchmaker considering we just celebrated our 43rd anniversary. My wife Joanie also loved him like a brother.
    After High school, Jim, Jeff, and I lived together for a few years then went our separate ways. Jim and I went off to college, Jeff to Hawaii. I got married and hadn’t heard from Jim for about 35 years. Then ran across his name in classmates. Called him and started up our relationship again. After speaking to him that first time after so many years it was like we had never been apart. A true friend. He never did tell me he was sick. We were planning on getting together on one of his trips up north. He was having difficulties like I was and we kind of fell off talking then one day Jeff called me and told me Jim had passed away. I feel very sad that we didn’t get together again. Wish I knew he was suffering I would have helped him in any way I could. God Bless his daughter and other family members and friends. Jim will be sorely missed. Love ya Jim, you will always be my brother, Ron

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