Today, 18 April 2015 is National Record Store Day and for those of us of a certain age (and generation) it is one to celebrate and support. There are very few places that one can actually purchase a CD or vinyl record these days as virtually all record shops have gone out of business.
Granted there is the odd HMV shop hanging around but most have disappeared, and the ones left sell virtually nothing except the top 20 pop records. Gone are the days when I could go to the big HMV store on Market Street in Manchester, go down the escalator to the basement and be surrounded by thousands of classical and jazz CDs. There was always a kind of reverential silence in the room as the latest release from Deutsche Gramophon would be playing often featuring the Berlin Philharmonic or some esoteric release on the ESP label giving vent to the wails and screams of the tenor saxophone of Albert Ayler.
Here in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire we are fortunate to have small independent record store named “Vinyl Tap” * which stocks new and second hand CDs, vinyl singles and LPs (ask your dad if you don’t know what these are), magazines and musical memorabilia.
So in celebration of the day I went in today to browse the CDs, all competitively priced, and divided into the different genres of music. I can particularly recommend the section on “prog rock” and “60s psychedelia” the latter being something dear to my heart.
As part of the days celebration they were featuring live music throughout the day in the basement, a room stuffed full of vinyl and various musical instruments for sale. There were groups of people, from the very young to the “relatively” old going through box upon box of records, I gave a little sigh and wiped away a tear at the memories it brought back to me of many happy Saturdays spent in Barry’s Record Rendezvous in Blackfriars Street in Manchester (although technically I think it was in Salford!).
The shop provided free coffee and cakes and the place was buzzing with people coming and going and generally having a good time. At the time I was there, a band called Jazz on Top were playing and making a hell of a sound. The band consisted of saxophones, trumpeters, trombonists and a rhythm section of piano drums and base.
There was some excellent ensemble playing and some imaginative solos by various group members. It was nice to see two young women at the front of the group on saxophones and seemingly thoroughly enjoying themselves.
I asked where the group were from and I was told they were students at Kirklees College here in Huddersfield. The area has a very strong music tradition from jazz bands, brass bands and of course the internationally famous Huddersfield Choral Society. It is good to know that the strong music tradition is continuing but I fear for this with threatened government cuts to Local Authorities.
I spent awhile listening to the band and taking some photographs and thought, “this is an excellent way to spend a Saturday morning”
So my plea is, get out there and support your local record shops because once they are gone there will be very little opportunity to source those esoteric releases that you crave, that Northern Soul compilation will disappear from sight and your chances of getting a copy of the LP by the 13th Floor Elevators will just be wishful thinking.
© All photos copyright Kindadukish (please contact if you wish copies).
* Vinyl Tap, 42 John William street, Huddersfield XD1 1ER