London 7th June – Record Shopping

Back home from London and back at the MacBook. I had about 5 hours of wandering time on Friday morning with no pressure to be anywhere or do anything so it was time to have a wander. The first place I stopped to browse through the record racks was ‘Sounds of the Universe’. Upstairs was new vinyl, and I browsed through that, almost buying a couple of things but didn’t want to blow my limited budget straight away. There was a fair bit of soul, jazz, electronic and rock upstairs but I was dripping wet from the persistent rain on the walk there and a little uncomfortable, so I moved on around the corner where I knew there were two more shops.

I went to Sister Ray first, I’ve been there before and headed into the smallish basement to see what I could find down there. It didn’t take long. I’d been looking for ‘The Epic’ by Kamasi Washington for a while (it had been on sale in a local record store and I kept thinking next time I go I’ll get it, then it was gone). It’s a triple album, in a nice box with some extra pages with a story on I haven’t read yet, nicely packaged.

It seems that this and subsequent releases are quite polarising, in that a lot of people don’t seem to see any value in it whatsover, other than appreciating the skill if the musicians. I’m much simpler than seasoned jazz listeners, I either like it or I don’t, at a high level, so I enjoy listening to it? Yes I do, that’s all I care about really.

I actually bought all but 1 of the records I got at Sister Ray, the next was from 1959, and I mentioned it before, John Lee Hooker, ‘House of the Blues’. A re-issue which was very reasonably priced at £11, as many of these 1959 albums are now, although the originals in good condition are, of course, much pricier, but I want them to listen to not as an investment so a re-issue is fine for me.

I was looking for a Howlin Wolf album as well but didn’t find it, I’m sure it’s been reissued at some point though.

There was a lot at Sister Ray that I didn’t look through, spending most of my time in the Jazz and Blues section. Last time I went through the Krautrock and some of the rock, electronic etc, indie, punk, all that, but I was still damp and uncomfortable so I just did what I felt like doing and didn’t worry about maybe missing something good. While in the jazz section I saw a John Coltrane re-issue of ‘A Love Supreme’, which was an album I’d been meaning to get for ages so that became number 3 in Sister Ray.

I was about done down in the basement but had a very quick scout around and did find one more thing that was a nice surprise. I’ve been looking for a copy of Takk by Sigur Rós ‎for what seems like forever, and there was one just sitting there. Not the original, which I think was released as 10″ vinyl, but a repress from 2015 on 2 x 12″ with one 10″ containing a single track on one side and etching on the other. The cover is embossed and the 10″ slips quite cleverly in a pocket in the sleeve. Not that I knew this at the time as Sister Ray is one of those shops where you take a photocopy of the sleeve to the counter and they get the records for you from the shelves behind them.

the actual albums behind the counter

So I was delighted to get a copy of Takk, and it’s a really nice re-issue, although not cheap. I had tried to get it from Canada once and the one I bought worked out about £30 cheaper than that one, so I feel a little better about it.

Just across the road is Reckless Records, so I popped in there and didn’t find much, but I was looking for rather specific things and so limiting myself, there was plenty there really. I bought another re-issue, as second 1959 album, this time from Ornette Coleman and ‘The Shape of Jazz to Come’, which I’d streamed a lot since writing the Best of 1959 post, so I was glad to find that.

This is Reckless Records, inside and out. I did see one album that I seriously though about getting and I am regretting a little that I didn’t, but never mind, too late now.

I then went to Phonica, as it was quite nearby but didn’t expect to really find anything as it is mostly for DJ’s I think, white label vinyl, electronic, not very mainstream. I didn’t find anything.

I then went back to Sounds of the Universe and had a look in the basement where there were some used records and a lot of books. I could have at this point bought the couple of albums that tempted me earlier, but I was close to having spent enough and they were both quite pricey. So I headed off to find Fopp, which would be my last record shop for the day. I was really very wet by now and getting grumpy and at the point where I just wanted to have a sit down with a coffee. Fopp was disappointing really, I bought nothing there.

And that was it. I’m pretty pleased with my purchases and, I ended up back in Leicester square where this happened:

2 thoughts on “London 7th June – Record Shopping”

  1. Love ‘record hunting in a new city’ stories. You picked up some fine albums there.
    Sorry to hear FOPP was a flop. I’ve picked up some great bargains there in the past. Maybe it’s ‘luck of the draw’.
    Enjoy your haul.


  2. I’ve had good luck myself in other Fopp stores, the one in Cambridge was good for example, this one was just a little ordinary unfortunately, at least on this visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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