(November 17, 2015) My favourite early record shop was Boyds, located in Eastbourne at the Terminus Road end of Seaside Road. Like most record shops of the day, it was principally a radio and TV retailer with a repairs division, augmented by sales of record players and radiograms – that’s where the records came in. I remember seeing colourful long-playing album jackets placed tantalisingly in the front window, including Elvis Presley’s ‘Rock ’N’ Roll’ (HMV) and the‘Chirpin’ Crickets’ with Buddy Holly (Vogue-Coral) but pricewise LPs were out of reach. Elvis’ ‘Peace In The Valley’ EP sleeve seemed to be featured in every storefront.
Favourite early 78 rpm purchases were ‘Come Go With Me’ by the Dell-Vikings and ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On’ by Jerry Lee Lewis, both London. The quality of ‘B’ sides assumed growing importance for every impecunious teenager. In this instance, the Dell-Vikings’ ‘How Can I Find True Love’, from Dot via Fee Bee, was dreamy doo wop, a term unknown for many years to come. And imagine buying the Jerry Lee Lewis classic, a huge badge of honour in itself, and finding ‘It’ll Be Me’ on the flipside, both with the ultimate accreditation, ‘Recorded by Sun, Memphis.’
The best way of hearing new releases was by way of sponsored Decca and EMI radio shows on Radio Luxembourg. It was on a Decca show in February 1958 that I heard for the only time ‘Maybe’ by the Chantels. That was enough for me to place an order at Boyd’s and within a week the precious London 45, licensed from End, duly arrived. The investment of 6/7½ yielded a big dividend, on paper at least, with a mint copy showing book price of £300; my copy is well played but such epic records are meant to occupy the record player and be enjoyed. Other London acquisitions from Boyds in this period were ‘Raunchy’ by Ernie Freeman from Imperial, ‘Could This Be Magic’ by the Dubs from Gone, ‘Oh Julie’ by the Crescendos from Nasco, and “Good Golly, Miss Molly” by Little Richard, who was on a roll at the time. In a one-off anomaly, I bought by mail order ‘Rock And Roll Music by Chuck Berry and ‘Bony Moronie’ by Larry Williams, another great Specialty rocker.
The Boyds’ record section was within 20 feet of the store entrance on the left-hand side, with racks full of 45s behind the counter but no browsing was allowed. To the right was a listening booth, a feature of many record shops of the day, so I had chance to make quick decisions on what I thought to be marginal releases. One misjudgment was to reject ‘Yea, Yea’ by the Kendal(l) Sisters, a London release from the Chess group. It took a few decades to catch up on that one. Comment: John Broven
Source Garth Cartwight.