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Pre-Internet record dealers

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  • Pre-Internet record dealers

    The discussion around 90s bootlegs highlighted a few questions about how VGplussers used to find records in the pre-Internet days.

    Obviously there were specialist jazz/soul/funk record shops back in the day, but there was also an extensive network of specialist record dealers who operated by post and phone, sending out photocopied lists and answering calls from vinyl junkies desperate for another fix.

    Who did you buy from back in the day?
    Are they still active, and if not, why not?
    Did any of them make the transition to online selling after the Internet took off?
    If you'd been asked this question in, say, 1989, which dealers would you have recommended?

    To kick things off, Tony at Virgo Vibes and Jake at Hot Biscuit were two guys whose lists I used to subscribe to.
    http://www.blaxploitation.com
    Chops for show, groove for dough.

  • #2
    Funhouse (Malcolm and Annette Galloway) in Margate - now happily ensconced on ebay.

    Soul Bowl (waiting for the postman to arrive with the list on Wednesday morning, straight on the phone and hope you were first)

    Black Grape (no idea what happened to them)

    Vinyl Solution (now Intoxica)
    We know when a mate buys it for you too.

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    • #3
      Casbah records....v.v.expensive as I recall...

      Hot Biscuit were great, very reasonable prices for the time...

      Virgo Vibes (?)...& Soul Brother...still got them lists somewhere...

      I used to read the lists and and wonder when my £5 per week paper round would amass me a bunch of records any time soon...

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      • #4
        Ditto Funhouse, big one for me.

        Greg Vandyke - veeeery expensive, but he had an amazing stock.

        London shops - Vinyl Solution along with a couple of others round the back of Oxford St, also Plastic Passion.

        Record fairs - they used to be good, especially in the years before the RC price guide.

        Dimension 7 I have vague memories of.

        Otherwise it was a network of shops and minor dealers around the country who you'd go round to see.

        It really was a lot more fun, because not everything was known about, catalogued and valued. It was much harder to find specific stuff though, particularly US and Euro stuff.

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        • #5
          Locally I used to buy mostly of Rock and roll Dave at the market, like Campag most of interesting records came off him. Thankfully he's still going strong and rarely sells on the internet, and all his stock comes to the market first to give his regulars first shout.
          "Hangin' out with you two is like partying with Fugazi"

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          • #6
            I did some from Soul Brother and another couple I've forgotten. Mr Bongo also used to do a latin sales list that was bloody huge and operated on 'if you're first preference is not in stock we'll send you your second choice' basis, which I didn't like much. Still got some great stuff, though, and I'd love to have a crack at some more of those records at those prices today.
            Vardy.....¡¡¡PELIGRO!!!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by john stapleton View Post
              Funhouse (Malcolm and Annette Galloway) in Margate - now happily ensconced on ebay.
              I loved their booklets - works of art.
              Back to Neuuuuuuuuuu!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by babycart View Post
                Mr Bongo also used to do a latin sales list that was bloody huge and operated on 'if you're first preference is not in stock we'll send you your second choice' basis, which I didn't like much. Still got some great stuff, though, and I'd love to have a crack at some more of those records at those prices today.

                I used to get some of my Hip Hop mail order off them, when ever I was in London I used to always make the effort to visit their shop.
                "Hangin' out with you two is like partying with Fugazi"

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                • #9
                  When I was strictly a hip hop guy the Beatstreet mailorder list was essential, this was 91/92. They had gone online but sadly finally bit the bullet last year. Never really bothered with lists after that, more fool me.

                  Like Sayers the local market dealers have always been my main provider.

                  The local 2nd hand record shops have been less than useless. For some reason I've never got in with the owners i.e. access to backrooms/new deliveries so consequently only ever faced crud on the shelves.
                  "Don't get involved in the f**kin' chat pages. It's just full of arseholes talkin' sh*te non-stop"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Campag Record View Post
                    When I was strictly a hip hop guy the Beatstreet mailorder list was essential, this was 91/92. They had gone online but sadly finally bit the bullet last year. Never really bothered with lists after that, more fool me.
                    Great lists, I wish I'd kept some of them. I also used to get a list of Dave the ruf.
                    "Hangin' out with you two is like partying with Fugazi"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mr sayers View Post
                      I used to get some of my Hip Hop mail order off them, when ever I was in London I used to always make the effort to visit their shop.
                      Me too. Soho was first stop, then Camden, then Elephant & Castle Shopping centre (Colombian records).
                      I've still got all the old Straight No Chasers, and some of the prices in the dealers ads make me want to kick myself for buying bloody Finley Quaye and Del tha funkee Homosapien records with my hard-earned.
                      Vardy.....¡¡¡PELIGRO!!!

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                      • #12
                        Here's a couple I can think of that haven't yet been covered:

                        Gerald.
                        Marc Wimmers.
                        Ollie Casbah (not his real name).

                        Jake Behnan used to sell at the Jazz Bops as well, pretty sure Nick the Record did as well.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm only just about pre-internet (started collecting singles in 1997), but still...

                          Newcastle shops:
                          - the various branches of Pet Sounds (at one time there were three; now all gone)
                          - Oldhitz (in its previous location; I hardly went in there after it moved)
                          - Steel Wheels (when it was on Pilgrim Street)
                          - Bay Books
                          - little shop between North Shields and Tynemouth, think he had a connection with Bay Books; we were in there when he closed down and got a load of singles

                          Darlington used to have a couple of shops (one at the north end of the centre, again was closing down and we helped him clear out).

                          Tynemouth market (mostly from a guy with a shaved head who used to be on the 'far' side of the bridge away from the town, I'm useless with names, but really nice bloke)
                          Chester-le-St market
                          South Shields market

                          Charity shops, of course.

                          When I moved to Cambridge, I was upstairs in Andy's Records most weekends. I'd also go down to Notting Hill for the little branch of MVE that only sold 7" singles (heaven!).
                          Last edited by Sam; 22-08-2011, 12:52 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Ditto on only just pre-internet...and ditto on Andy's in Cambridge.

                            I distinctly remember asking him for Downliners Sect lps and being subjected to a rant about how only the Japanese would pay proper money for them (£250 apiece he reckoned!)

                            Being as now on a good day you can certainly have playable copies of the first two for £30 on the bay, I wonder how he made the transition from ye olde keeper of the raers to the even playing field that is the internetz.
                            "Not only that but the WHOLE COVER is UNCREASED with only 2 or 3 TINY creaselines near the opening edge about half way down!!!! In the same place (about half way down the opening edge), there is an absolutely TINY and PERFECTLY repaired split" (xxxrecords)

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                            • #15
                              I had a about a decade of pre-internet collecting (1990-2000). My main sources apart from shops/fairs were:

                              Record Collector mag - It used to come out a day early in London, on a Thursday giving you a head start on the rest of the country.
                              I'd whiz through the set sale lists with my trusty highlighter on the train home from work and then get straight on the phone.

                              John Manship - got the bulk of my Northern collection from him. His selection was mind blowing at the time.

                              Soul Bowl - think I got these - were they little A5 things on orange or yellow paper? I always seemed to ring to late to bag anything.

                              Some German dealer called Andreas used to send me some great lists - got most of my Small Faces EPs/picture sleeves from him, when they were pretty hard to come by over here. The grading was highly detailed (kind of a forerunner to the nutter from XXX records "a very slight 5mm tear to the opening edge etc". The Teutonic efficiency with the grading was not extended to other areas - he was always apologising for the lateness of the lists, ranting about his wordprocessor etc.

                              It's the human element I miss with the demise of lists - it was almost like having a pen pal in a way!

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