24. Classic Record Shops

The Independents

Over the years we have spent a load of time in local record shops.

Hitsville USA, Trax, Flying, Looney Tunes, Bass Generator, Rpm, Oldhitz, Listen Ear, Volume, Windows & Chill Bill’s little place on Cross Street, were all massive shops in spirit.

Small independents that catered to niche markets, before the big chains cottoned on to dance music, or i-tunes existed & the Nu Skool culture of internet downloads began.

Pictured above is ‘Chill Bill’ Wake. Billy was a true Old Skool Hip Hop head with proper game, who worked in Volume Records (formerly called Listen Ear & now flattened), where this picture was taken.

Bill went on to open his own little Hip Hop & R&B shop on Cross Street, before moving to Glasgow.

Lots of people thought Bill was really moody, but we always got on really well together & got some amazing records off him from all the shops he worked in.

We also went on to purchase his personal original 12″ vinyl Hip Hop collection from him, when he eventually left town – Ha!

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Callers

As kids in the 70s we had bought Northern Soul 7″ pressings & original Disco 12″s like We are FamilyAin’t No Stopping Us NowI Want Your Love & Everybody Dance, on the day they came in, from a fab shop called Callers, which was a department store on Northumberland Street.

It sold furniture & holidays & had a fab record shop in it upstairs that was absolutely massive & really great for all genres of Black Music.

Tony was the top dude you saw there, who always kept you right musically & smack up to the minute with the latest tunes.

(Editor’s note: See tribute, to mark his recent passing, at the bottom of Someday over in Stuff We Like)

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Hitsville USA

Tony went on with his chums Joan & Ronnie to open ‘Hitsville USA’ in Old Eldon Square, prior to most of the other fine shops name checked above starting out.

We reckon this was the first proper record shop & the finest ever in Newcastle & was a real great place.

Don’t get us wrong, we loved them all, but Hitsville USA was certainly the one that had the biggest influence on us.

They hooked us up with the beats that shaped our movement around this time & were proper music specialists.

We bought records like Scream by Mantronix here & Can You Party by Todd Terry, early Marshall Jefferson stuff, Phase 2’s ReachinStrings of Life & all the real big Rockers tunes from back in the day.

Beats like Promised Land & Someday too, both of which are thoroughly worshipped for your entertainment, over in our ‘Stuff We Like’ section.

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The Major tunes

There are way too many Rockshots classics to properly list, but (the aforementioned) Ce Ce Rogers SomedayVoodoo Ray by a Guy Called Gerald & Let the Music Use You, by the Nightwriters, are just three of the tunes that still, when we hear them today, sum that incredible period up correctly.

Surprisingly, later on Weak become Heroes, from the first Streets album, was well on the money in recalling, how it was for so many of us to be a part of the late 80s-early 90s dance movement, that swept the country…

‘We all smile, we all sing’.