Our Original Store
Our first record store, Daily's, on 11th Street in the Houston Heights was one of the originals, one of those that defined what a record store was. KNUZ had regular remote broadcasts from the store. Popular recording artists of the day were frequent visitors. And the store was a great local gathering place. Sixty years later another Daily’s record store would not only survive, but flourish with the same attributes and integrity as the first, and become a legendary Houston landmark: Cactus Records.
How the first Daily’s Record store came into being evolved from the same beginnings as the Pappy Daily story. H.W.”Pappy Daily” began his music business career in 1931 during the Great Depression, by looking for a job with security. His job at the railroad could play out at any time. He wrote the Bally Manufacturing Company in Chicago and asked them why Houston had no distributor for Bally’s coin operated phonographs (jukeboxes). They wrote back and said “you do it” said Pappy.
Pappy kept his job at the railroad while working part time in his new jukebox distributorship. Business grew and in 1933 he left the railroad and opened his store South Coast Amusement Company, at 1419 Travis in front of a printing shop.
Pappy's jukebox business was booming when WWII arrived and shellac (what vinyl records were made of) rationing began. So Daily gathered as many records as he could. The government said that a dealer had to turn in 2 records to get one. Soon a ban on jukebox manufacturing came along. "That killed the sale of coin operated machines", Pappy said.
But Pappy managed to stay in business a bit longer. He found a small Los Angeles record manufacturer that would sell records to him. "I bought from them for my machines, for other machines and for other machine dealers" Pappy said. When Pappy started buying those records, he really became what you call a one-stop (distributor), to sell to other jukebox operators. But he was looking around again for a more secure line of work.
He soon found what he was looking for. In 1946 he opened his first record store, Daily’s, a business that had little competition in Houston at the time. Records cost 23 and 45 cents wholesale, depending on the artist, retail for 35 and 75 cents. Bing Crosby retailed for 45 cents and Tommy Dorsey and Kay Kaiser records for 75 cents. Pappy claimed to have brought the first Capitol record in to Texas in 1942.
Every Saturday morning at Daily’s was an hour live broadcast over KNUZ with Biff Collie as the disc jockey. At the time KNUZ was promoting the Houston Hoedown, which was a dance hall. Biff brought in artists to get extra plugs for the artists performing at the Hoedown, but of course it helped Daily’s too by bringing in unknown artists like Hank Williams, Hank Thompson, Homer and Jethro, Ernest Tubb and many others.
Gradually more record stores sprang up in Houston and, from his one-stop days and retail business in 1951, Pappy gradually went into wholesale records and record distribution. MGM Records was the first big label he carried. That company became Big State Distributors in 1954 and was located in Dallas. In 1958 he sold the business to his two sons, Bud and Don, as Pappy became more involved in A&R and producing artist for several record labels.
The sons ran the distribution companies and they became the oldest and largest independent record distributors in the Southwest. Subsequently they opened several retail stores throughout Houston under the names of The Record Factory and also Tower Records.
In 1975, Bud and Don opened what was soon to be the most well known, award- winning, super record store in Houston history. It was first known as Cactus Records and Tapes. With the music industry thriving, the Daily’s opened up to seven Cactus Stores throughout the 1980’s and ‘90’s. To keep things current and a reflection of the recorded music industry, the stores name would become Cactus Music and Video. The Dailys operated Cactus Music and Video until their retirement in 2006.
For 30 years the distribution business was located in the Houston Heights at 314 East 11th St. In 1978, H.W. Daily moved into a new and much bigger warehouse and office facility on Brinkman.
As the record industry began to change with wholesalers and distributors slowly being phased out by the big record companies, H.W. Daily was eventually bought out, in 1989, by competitor ETD, East Texas Distribution. The Daily Brothers remained in the publishing business and continued its Glad Music/D Records labels. In 1998, H.W. Daily bought out the legendary Don’s Record Shop in the Bellaire section of Houston. Don’s was the oldest and perhaps most loved record shop in Houston (pre Cactus Records) and was known to have at times, 26,000 singles in the store.
By 1995, with growing pressure from major chain stores, slackening national record sales, and illegal downloads, it began forcing local and regional chains like Cactus to slash prices, cancel expansions and shut down outlets. In 2006 the legendary Cactus Music and Video at Shepherd and Alabama was closed and the name sold to the long time manager Quinn Bishop who opened a new Cactus Music not far from the original.