Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Hipshakers & Heartbreakers – Vol 2

My grandfather, C.W. Hardwick, died when I was sixteen. We were not close. Growing up, I knew very little about him. I knew that he was fond of jumpsuits, Sam Houston cigars, Murder She Wrote, and that he owned a coin-op business in San Antonio, Texas. We would drive or fly out from California on a fairly regular basis to visit my mother’s side of the family, but we spent most of our time with aunts and uncles, eating Tex-mex and swimming in the Comal river. “Pop” as he was known in the family, just didn’t have much time for grandkids. Oddly enough, he did end up inadvertently shaping my musical tastes–particularly in Rhythm & Blues, and early Soul records.

C.W. Hardwick Enterprises Inc. was, to my understanding, essentially a one-man operation. He would sell and service pinball machines, one-armed bandits, video games and his cash crop so to speak--jukeboxes. If you were to walk into any pool hall or ice house (e.g. Bar) in central Texas from 1950 to 1990 and drop a coin into the jukebox, there is a pretty good chance my grandfather put it there. Being the jukebox man meant that it was his responsibility to keep his machines stocked with the newest hits. All of those discs were sent directly to him from record labels and their distributors on a regular basis. What he did not stock, he kept.

When he died, he left behind over 4,000 45s–jukebox records he had miserly stored for forty years. My uncle transported them from the warehouse of C.W. Hardwick Enterprises after the building was sold to the warehouse of his own business where he asked me if I'd like to take them off his hands. I gladly agreed, but being sixteen and living in my parents' house, I knew that if I were to take the entire stash my folks would probably hassle me forevermore about where I/they would store such a mass of vinyl--so I did what I thought would be the next best thing.

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