Freakbeat Records – 13616 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles Ca.  91423 – open – now with a 4.4 star rating in Yelp reviews on a 1-5 scale (see below).

I recently took a trip to Los Angeles and, guided by an August 26, 2016 article in LA Weekly The 20 Best Record Stores in Los Angeles and Beyond took a tour of some of the areas finer record stores. While I didn’t visit any of these record stores while I lived in LA, each was worthy.  First up was a trip to the Valley and Freakbeat Records, which was my personal favorite.  How could it not be with a name like Freakbeat? As you would expect some old (and valuable) 60s records could be had (look up young man) and three listening stations provided so you could try before you buy.   As they say on their website “We may not have everything you want, but we always have something you need.”  My kind of store.

Wanna go?  You can find Freakbeat Records on our Record Stores Map

Freakbeat Records - Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles CA - store front
Freakbeat Records - Sherman Oaks Los Angeles California - Store interior
Freakbeat Records - Sherman Oaks Los Angeles California - Store interior
A nice jazz section
Freakbeat Records - Sherman Oaks Los Angeles California - Store interior
And a worthy collection of 45s too
Freakbeat Records - Sherman Oaks Los Angeles California - Store interior
Freakbeat Records - Sherman Oaks Los Angeles California - Store interior
Freakbeat Records - Sherman Oaks Los Angeles California - store interior
Looking up at the good stuff (on the rafters)

Video Tour

Here’s a video tour of Freakbeat Records from the Vinyl Guide published in November 2016.


What the Press is Saying

The (Sherman Oaks California edition) published Freakbeat Thrives Through Loyalty, Unconventionality  in 2012.  In the article, the store’s owners are interviewed about the store and its history.  I have also seen them show up at WFMU’s great record fair (long held annually in Brooklyn at the Expo Center in Greenpoint, and the Metropolitan Pavillion in Manhattan and the most recently at the Knockdown Center in Queens) with an offering of truly rare and great vinyl.  And I mean truly rare.

What’s In A Name

The store is named for a short-lived style of music circa 1965 known as Freakbeat.  Originating in England, it is a combination of mod and r&b.  Some of my favorite Freakbeat records are The Smoke – My Friend Jack (about LSD), Les Fleur De Lys – Circles and the Action – I’ll Keep On Holding On (an excellent Marvelettes cover).  For more on Freakbeat, you can read Vinyl Me Please’s the 10 Best Freakbeat Albums to Own on Vinyl.

Cool Vinyl Bought There

Got some nice 45 picture sleeves (nothing too pricey) and a 60s garage record of covers by the Knights. The Knights LP was quite reasonably priced, given its rarity.

The Knights – The Knights (1967) front cover.
The Knights – The Knights (1967) back cover and track listing.

The Knights self titled release is a rare one indeed. Per Discogs, it was a demo of which only 300 copies were issued. Back in the 60s, various high schoolers, college students or teenagers formed bands. Not destined for greatness, they played local clubs and dances. The better ones tried their hand at a single or an album, typically filled with covers of their favorites 60s songs. Many of these albums were garage rock and printed in limited runs by small labels. They were given to those who heard the band at local gigs, or the bandmates themselves, and then gone and mostly forgotten. The best I know is from a Texas band, Kenny and the Kasuals, which put out The Impact Sound of Kenny and the Kasuals (Live at the Studio Club) (1966). Impact Sound had a pressing of 500 copies when originally issued in 1966. Another well know offering is The Rising Storm, Calm Before …. (1967) from 6 guys attending Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. This one too had a limited pressing of 500.

The Knights LP fits well into this category. The Knights, also or formerly known as the Harmon Knights, hailed from Mount Harmon Prep, a prep school in Massachusetts. They put out a series of limited run albums in the late 50s and early 60s, made by various students at the school. This is the best of them. Unlike most of these albums, the Knights featured quite credible harmonies and lead singing. Dominated by an organ player, and not a guitar, they covered songs that allowed their vocals to shine. They do quite a nice cover of the Beau Brummel’s Just a Little and try their hand at the Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody, Stand by Me and Under the Boardwalk. They also go for some garage rock, as well a couple of Animal covers. Not much of this album is available on the streaming services, but here are the lads doing a cover of the Animal’s I’m Crying, which will give you an idea of their sound. Their cover of the Spencer Davis Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’ is also worthy. You’d have been very happy to see them in your local club back in the day.

Oh, and this copy appears to be signed by the organ player Brad Waterman, who gave it to Trex, who eventually gave it to me.

Yelp Reviews

Don’t just take our word for it. See how the Yelp community rates Freakbeat Records.

custom logoFreakbeat RecordsFreakbeat Records
4.4 Stars - Based on 197 User Reviews

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