BOSTON (CBS) – Fans of R & B, jazz and gospel music are singing the blues. The legendary Skippy White’s in Boston is closing. After nearly 60 years selling records, cassettes and CDs, Skippy is calling it quits. he fabled music store owner says, it’s just a sign of the times.
“We started business in 1961 selling Black music,” Skippy said. The crowded music store has moved around Boston over the years. For the last 15 its home has been on Columbus Ave. in Egleston Sq.
“We were selling rhythm and blues and soul music. And we added blues, gospel, oldies, reggae,” Skippy said.
Even at 83, Skippy White, whose given name is Fred Leblanc, is still the go to guy for hard to find tunes. “I’m here to pick up some CDs for my mother. She likes the OJay’s Christmas songs,” said longtime customer Daughut Payton. “I couldn’t find it anywhere else. I came straight to Skippy White’s and he got it for me.”
His music career started at WILD radio, something he then combined with a record store. He was playing the songs, and the customers were buying them. “There you go. That’s right,” White said.
It was on radio that he changed his name to Skippy White. “All my friends told me, you need a nickname,” he explained. The name “White” came from his French last name, Leblanc. Somebody else suggested Skippy. “I don’t even remember who now. But somebody came up with Skippy and I didn’t like it,” he said. But it stuck.
After 59 years in business, the changes in the way people buy and listen to music means it’s time to take the needle off the turntable. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I like talking to people, getting to know them, getting to know what they like in music. And I’ll miss it. That’s for sure,” White said.
Skippy will keep the shop open until the beginning of the new year while having a going out of business sale. Then he plans to write a book about his life in music. He’ll also continue doing two radio shows every week.