Gotta dig these memories
Anyone remember the good ol days for record shopping. meeting up with friends as you burnt up your wages in London’s West End?
It had a vast selection of shops scattered about Soho and Covent Garden. Whilst I don’t remember all the names I’m going to try to recall as many as possible.
It all began going back in mid eightees, the two main shops for me were Hitman Records and Groove Records (being two of the most famous hip hop ports of call). Groove wasn’t the biggest place in the world but as they say great things…and all that. They had this old granny there who really knew her stuff. Above it was a brothel, so if you hung about outside you couldn’t help but spy the clientel leaving after dropping some hard earned along with their trousers. Another that springs to mind was Major Flavas.
Hitman Records was located in the heart of soho again a very compact shop. Nearby, you also had Bluebird Records near the market and Reckless Records in close proximity. There was always HMV & Virgin there as a backup and last port of call.
Later we saw the appearance of Red Records, which eventually became Unity, which was just off Carnaby Street. For many, this was the main spot through the 90s. Blackmarket Records, Soul Jazz, Wild Pitch, Uptown Records, Deal Real, Mr Bongos, Phonica all featured heavily around those times and some are still braving the elements to this day whether in physical form or the virtual online presence. Camden also had its fair share of spots most memorable was the Soul2Soul spot.
A word from the site editor
Above are the memories of Pelt (the Hip Hop legend and Hip Hop manager of the waxwrx Hip Hop section on this site).
My memories are hazy as I struggle to remember what I had for breakfast. I used to dig with Pelt regularly in the early 90s in particular and hit all these spots. Diggin with the great man was always a good day as whenever we rolled up to a spot, we would be greeted like royalty and the owners would invariably pull out stacks of records they were saving for Pelt. The shudder to think of the amount of money dropped on vinyl, Snapple and Dunkin Donuts back then. We would also meet up with bootleg dudes in the street with their record bags to grab those rare limited edition cuts few others got their hands on. Great times, great memories. This is what makes diggin for records and buying vinyl so special, the people, the experiences and the life-long albeit hazy memories.
As always please share your memories below.