Leamington Record Fair

I visited Leamington Spa’s Town Hall on Saturday to dig my way through heaps of vinyl at the record fair. There is plenty there if you are prepared to pay for it, but I’m generally not. I’m there to pick up bits and pieces as cheaply as possible. There are albums that I most certainly would like, but paying £25 or more for something that I may, not will, but may find cheaper elsewhere is not something I like to do. It will nag away at me and I will eventually find the same thing for half the price and then be annoyed at myself were I to have bought it, so the most I have ever payed for anything at a record fair is £8, and that was this Saturday. Here is what I bought (with the exception of Roots Manuva which was an RSD purchase), can you guess the £8 album?


Isaac Hayes – Shaft is an original 1974 release, a double, and it plays very nicely, the cover is in good condition as well. I haven’t played either of the Art of Noise albums as yet but they look to be fine. The Cult – Electric is in very good condition and I have played it and it sounds really good. Soul II Soul I haven’t played yet, it appears to have the wrong inner sleeve though. Ooh Las Vegas by Deacon Blue looks like it has been well kept, it’s a double made up of B-Sides and suchlike. Black Sea by XTC is in good condition as is Slave to the Rhythm byu Grace Jones, which plays very well indeed. The only one that is not as good as I might hope is ‘My Kingdom’ by The Future Sound of London. It has a mark about the size of a thumbprint on side one and it really affects the playing quite badly. It is a 33 1/3, 12” single with an 11 minute track on side 1, which samples Ennio Moricone so it’s obviously good, Moricone makes everything better, but that mark really bothers me so I did a little research and ordered a record cleaning kit, to see if that can sort it out, it’s this one:


It’s not expensive at £8.87 (an odd price) but hopefully it will go some way to reviving not just this 12” single, but several others I have that are showing their age. Here is the blurb on it:

“Vinyl Revival is the world’s safest and best vinyl record cleaning solution. Our alcohol free liquid has been designed by leading scientists to exact laboratory standards. Using lab grade ingredients and equipment, Vinyl Revival has been packaged in a dust free environment, ensuring the cleanest and safest solution for cleaning your vinyl record collection. Vinyl revival is the only 2 step product in the market – a necessity which none of the other ‘garage chemist’ suppliers of competing products are even aware of. Shockingly, other suppliers are openly admitting to using both distilled water AND alcohol in their products! Please avoid putting distilled water anywhere near your vinyl! Ask us, if you’d like to know why. There has been much debate over the years about which products are safe to use on vinyl records with many claiming that alcohol (or isopropyl alcohol) is perfectly safe to smear over your beloved vinyl record collection. We, and our research partners do not believe this to be the case. This is why Vinyl Revival is completely alcohol (or any alcohol substitute) FREE and is, ultimately, the only safe product to use on vinyl records. Also, many other products we’ve tried in the market will contain detergents or other soaping agents. These, again, should be avoided because they will leave behind microscopic deposits on your vinyl surface, which will affect sound quality, increase static and also, potentially, damage your stylus. Vinyl Revival is the product of choice for audio archiving specialists and DJs around the globe.”

I’ll post about the results after I’ve used it.

So which is the £8 album?

What’s in the bag (80)

soul_ii_soul-club_classics_vol.1I have a memory of working nights in the computer department at a bank. The building was deserted apart from three of us who ordered a take-away curry, which wasn’t actually allowed, and eating it in the break room. At some point I played Soul II Soul – Club Classics Vol. One. In fairness, I may not have, it could be an amalgamation of two memories that I’ve glued together as it was some 25 years ago. I had it on cassette, which I bought many of, although pre-recorded cassettes were, as it turned out, rather a waste of money as they were prone to magnets, untangling and could degrade quite badly. I was a member of one of those clubs, the sort that send you 5 tapes a month and you have to send back the ones you don’t want or pay for them. I could never be bothered to send them back and ended up paying for rather a lot of things I didn’t actually want. On the other hand, I did listen to some things that I normally wouldn’t have and ended up liking them, however, those were exceptions to the norm.

This Soul II Soul cassette was from that club and I really liked it, and still do. At the time I listened to one, maybe two specific genres of music and this was far outside those, but there was something about it that I found to be not at odds with these genres (which were Indie and Rock in case you were wondering). Perhaps with Soul II Soul being a collective, or starting as a ‘Sound System’ there was an Indie sensibility about them. No matter though, I just liked the tracks.

I think I may have been more familiar with the second album, or tracks from it (‘Get a life’ in particular). Volume One arrived in the post and I gave it a listen, it was like discovering it myself, even though it had been released two years previously and had already been a hit.

On Saturday I picked up a used vinyl copy for £3.50. It’s in good condition and plays very well. I suspect this is less than I paid for the tape originally.

The album won a couple of Grammy awards in the 80’s, and was on a load of best album polls and suchlike, which it well deserved.

Below is a sort of best of, starting with tracks from Vol. One.