78 Record Exchange

The 78 Record Exchange on Lower Hillgate in Stockport was one of the most amazing record shops in the Greater Manchester area. I used to visit it regularly in the 1980s.

It had an almost 'hushed' reverential atmosphere, except for a 'wireless' tuned into either Test Match Special or BBC Radio 3 or 4, so you could just about hear it. The shop has been described elsewhere as an 'Aladdin’s Cave’, full of 78rpm discs, albums, 45’s, books, old magazines, memorabilia, sheet music, record players and 'gramophones'. I bought a Garrard SP25 deck from them, (with no plynth), lugged it home and never re-built the damn thing!

I first encountered the shop when they were located in Manchester (went in with my Dad). 

I bought some great second hand albums (Blue Horizon’s like the Elmore James/John Brim and the Excello Story double album when they were still cheap; Johnny Otis, Ike Turner, Merrill E Moore on Ember) and they had 78s on UK labels US artists such as Louis Jordan, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Big Bill Broonzy, Bill Haley, Little Richard and others on HMV, Pye Nixa, Vogue, Capitol, Brunswick and other venerable labels. 

One find were discs by blues, R&B and jazz pianist and singer Sammy Price  - can’t recall exactly but I think they were test pressings for albums. I bought them for a friend in the USA who knew Sammy and wanted them for himself.

The two guys who ran the shop were real gents who knew their stuff - especially jazz. When I used to visit the shop – at least one a week, there was usually a jazz or swing band collector browsing and asking for certain records. They must have had a massive stock as the owners slipped out the back and came back with a box of records for customers to look at.

I recall they also sold record lists – Roneo’d label listings of all kinds. I recall they sold a Motown list at one point.

If you saw a disc and didn’t have the money on you they would take a deposit and put it to one side for you.

Alas on moving South I didn’t get the chance to visit it again and was shocked to see that state of the place when a photo of the closed down shop was posted on Facebook.

Tony Burke 14/01/2019
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