What were your favourite record shops back in the day?
Actual traditional record shops, would have to be Spin Inn in Manchester in the 70’s and 80’s. It had all the latest USA and Japanese imports. You would walk in on a Friday and Saturday and this wee shop would be rham, There were many well know DJs in there either working or buyin’ shit, Les Cokell, Greg Wilson, Colin Curtis, John Grant, Mike Shaft, and Richard Searling could often be seen in there The staff would literally play all the new releases on rotation and folk would jus’ raise their hands, as the folk in front of you grabbed the record and passed it back over the packed, tiny floor. Once they had gone through the new records, they would start again to play stuff to folk that had arrived in the meantime. Dave Withers and Rod Shard’s Out Of The Past in Manchester’s underground market and later Affleks Palace was where I hung out most of the week, jus’ playing records and meeting other soul people. And Tony Just’s stall was where I spent many a Saturday coming down off the gear after an all-nighter.
Was there a record store that made you feel uncomfortable?
Ironically Spin Inn. I was new to the game and you would see the DJs that you were going out five nights a week to hear in there and you jus’ didn’t wanna buy the bum track, as it was literally so public as I said.
Is there a particular memory of a mission trying to find a certain record?
The mission NEVER ends. Every time I go in a shop or to a market, my optimism kicks in and I truly believe that I’m gonna find sommat in my wants list. I have spent weeks and weeks tracking down a record though, once the bit is between the teeth, you will literally stop at nothing to find a track.
What was the best bargain find you remember?
Wellll, back in the day when soul was still a minority sport and before the internet, finding cheap records was relatively common. I’ll always remember finding Dee Dee Sharp ‘What Kind Of Lady’ on Oldham Market, co’s it’s one of me fave records. I think it was 30 pence or sommat. I picked up an Eddie Foster ‘I Never Knew’ in Downstairs Records in New York for a dollar. I picked up a copy of ‘Let Your Light Shine’ by Willie Dale for a grand in an Edinburgh record shop, which was one of twelve known copies I believe. That was a VERY GOOD investment as it was jus’ before it blew up.
Is there a certain record that sticks in your head that someone in a record store recommended to you & you’ll be ever thankful for?
All them Prelude, SAM and Salsoul Records the guys at Spin Inn played me lol.
Who was the best salesman, biggest character?
Awwwww man, record dealers are lunatics! Burt in Hot Wax on Dalry Road, Edinburgh was one of the grumpiest I came across but what a great shop. I ended up working there too. Keve Edwards at Spin Inn in Manchester was/is a very opinionated, straight-talkin’ man and great company.
Did you ever work in a record store or distributor, if so any fond memory that sticks out?
I have worked in many record shops, 23rd Precinct in Glasgow, I had a shop called Raw Records, I worked in Underground Solu’Shn in Edinburgh and Hot Wax as I mentioned. I’ve worked in A&R at a couple of labels too.
What’s better, being sent a record for free, or going to search and buy a record?
You could slap me aboot the face with a record for an hour until my face was bleeding and bruised. If I got the record at the end of it, I would be happy. I don’t give a fuck how I get ’em, as long as I get ’em. It was nice being on almost every mailing list in the world though when I worked at DJ Magazine and other titles. Free records, dear records, they are all like yer kids, you have love ’em all if they are good!
What record are you currently waiting for in anticipation to come out on vinyl, if any?
It’s actually a cheapo and coming from France. It’s a French version of ‘And The Beat Goes On’ by The Whispers. I love the Whispers version and this French version is jus’ a nice twist. My wants list is fuckin’ scary though. The search never stops.