Rounding up our record store day series of posts is a rather rambling letter which has bore many incarnations since it was conceived last Sunday. It just kept getting put off and changing into different forms. Anyways, it works nicely as a sort of final post for the proceedings.
I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last week, mostly from getting these RSD posts together. It’s struck me how passionate owners of these stores are and how difficult it must be with the age of internet to run small businesses like this. Good on them and when the economy is crumbling around us, it’s good to see music staying strong. I think I read somewhere this week that there are around 30 more independent music stores in the UK than there were last year.
Another thought I’ve had is whilst the idea of releasing special edition records on one day of the year sounds initially like a great idea, I can see some flaws I guess. I mean does it really get people going back to the store on the other 364 days of the year and as @edinburgh_man rightly pointed out on Twitter, queuing to get to the counter to pick your records of a scrappy sheet of paper isn’t the way you want to buy records. Surely it’s all about fingering through the racks to find the gems you want to add to your collection? Chances are a lot of these limited editions are going to be up on ebay by the time the clock strikes 10:30 tomorrow or is that incredibly cynical of me?
There’s been a series of excellent posts over on the Song, By Toad blog this week which are worth a read if you have the time. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 are through those links, as you’d expect.
This lets me segway nicely into the next and final section of this post. The toad is getting a good mention on this blog and quite rightly too. The latest Toad Session to be released features none other than today’s interviewee, Johny Lamb aka Thirty Pounds of Bone. Now, I said I’d been thinking a lot this week and nothing made me feel more academic or intelligent this week than considering the points made in the last 20 minutes of the interview with Johny on the Toad Session. I’m not going to discuss here the points made about how ‘folk’ is seen these days but it was a really engaging listen and I’d really recommend giving it a listen or a watch. Oh, and the tunes were pretty awesome on it as well. Anyway, my commute to work is rather a short one and what with having a busy week and all, it took me the space of three days to listen to the session and was really pleased to hear that he touched on some of the following stores in the answers below and also mentioned the subjects of our post last weekend, The Drift Record Shop. I asked Johny the following questions last weekend, here’s what he had to say…
– So, tell us, what are your favourite record shops and why?
My current favourite record shop is a little second hand place in Falmouth, I haven’t actually looked what it’s called, but i go there a lot. It sells dvds and cds, but there’s a back room full of second hand vinyl loaded with beautiful gems. Old dubliners records, or young tradition albums, lots of interesting things by steve reich or john cage as well as your dylan or abba lps, salvation army recordings, lute music, and a fine line in 80’s stuff like crime and the city solution, or foetus. Perfect. The guy who runs it is terrifying.
I should also give a special mention to Magpie records in Worcester. When i first got properly into music, we lived there, when i was about 11 or so, and i used to go there a lot. A proper old school indie shop near the train station. That’s where i first found out about dinosaur jr and husker du, and all those west midland grebo bands like neds atomic dustbin. I think i bought my first sonic youth, slowdive, silverfish and ride records there. I heard it had closed down, which is really sad.
Oh also, kanes in Stroud. Kane is a proper music man, he still makes an effort to stock vinyl, and he does the best in-stores. i like him a lot.
– Do you remember the first record store you visited and what you bought?
The first place i ever bought a record was somewhere in aberdeen, i don’t remember the shop, but the record was ‘So Macho’ by Sinitta. it took me a long time to work out why my dad thought that was so funny…. People will know how old I am now won’t they?
– What’s your preferred format for a musical recording?
I am still wearily and predictably committed to vinyl. I never really got on with cds so well. i have got an mp3 player,
which i recently started taking around after an age of it gathering dust, but i like the ritual and physicality of listening to records. Mostly though i miss cassettes. I think that not having to turn a record or a tape over changes the landscape of the album, and I fear change….