Alexis Bouteville of Hyde Park Records | Faces of 53rd Street (sponsored advertising) | Chicago Reader

Alexis Bouteville of Hyde Park Records 

Faces of 53rd Street

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You could say that Alexis Bouteville, owner of Hyde Park Records, discovered Chicago by way of Paris. Alexis had a record store in his native France and was going on frequent buying trips in the United States to keep the store stocked. Chicago always had the best selection of unique vinyl, and it wasn’t long before he fell in love with Hyde Park and the whole South Side area.

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In 2011, Alexis took over the existing Hyde Park neighborhood record store that had been there since the 1970s – Second Hand Tunes – and renamed it as Hyde Park Records. Located at 1377 E. 53rd Street, the store is always listed as one of the best independent record stores in the city. Thrillist referred to it as “…everything a neighborhood record shop should be. With live DJs, a chummy community vibe, and a bangin’ selection of wax never short on hip hop or international flair, there’s always something happening at this crate digger’s paradise… If anyone tries to tell you all record stores are the same, a visit here provides for an unimpeachable rebuttal.” Alexis explains that Hyde Park Records “… specializes a lot in older music and vinyl, and especially R&B, blues, and jazz. We also sell a lot of tapes so everything vintage is really coming back.” The store also buys used records, and on any day you can see Alexis expertly (and very quickly!) flipping through collections to find the rare records he knows his customers want, as the owners look on hopefully.

click to enlarge DJ Ayana Contreras
  • DJ Ayana Contreras

A recent Chicago Reader article noted that local rapper Vic Mensa counts Hyde Park Records as one of his favorite neighborhood hangouts from when he was a young kid. He started coming to the store when he was just 11 or so and it “…helped (him) develop his diverse musical taste.” And Mensa is not the only one. Hyde Park Records is more than just a record store – it’s an important part of the neighborhood, ingrained in so many music lovers’ lives. Alexis says, “The store is also a great place for people to meet…to talk and share about music, musicians, DJs, (and) producers – people need a place like this. The community interaction aspect is one of his favorite parts of being a small business owner in the neighborhood, and Alexis adds, ”To go further south is different, further west is different, further north is different. (Hyde Park) is really a little town within Chicago.”

click to enlarge DJ Mustafa Rocks
  • DJ Mustafa Rocks

It’s not uncommon to find customers making buying trips from as far away as Europe and Japan. Wellknown hip hop producers DJ Spinna, Pete Rock, and Large Pro are regular customers from New York, as well as DJ QBert from San Francisco.

The store is a part of major local events such as the recent Silver Room Sound System Block Party, held on July 21, hosting Mr. JayToo, DJ Marbll, Erica Kane, Brian Reaves, James Vincent, and DJ Mikey Mike. WGFM’s annual Soul Reunion takes place every spring and summer, and the store hosts a monthly “All Vinyl Series” with visiting DJs. In addition to records, Hyde Park Records stocks CDs, DVDs, books, and vintage Ebony and Jet issues.

1377 E. 53rd Street
773-288-6588
www.hydeparkrecords.com

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