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Tony Smith's Kettering

Alf Bailey’s music shop in Gold Street, pictured here in 1985, was one of Kettering’s best-loved independent record stores. It opened just after World War One selling musical instruments, sheet music and (later) gramophone records. Alf Bailey was a professor of music and piano teacher, who conducted his own orchestra. He was also a local impresario who booked acts for the Victoria Hall when it became a theatre in 1907. In its final decades, the shop opposite the Post Office arcade (now Newlands) was run by Alf’s grandson Graham Bailey, known to locate the most obscure records for customer

Tony Smith's Kettering

In the 1970s I asked Graham if he could get me an obscure solo album by Holger Czukay, which featured a track recorded in quadraphonic sound. Not only did he know the track, but he also knew the name of the album and that Czukay was bass player with the German experimental rock band Can. Needless to say, I collected it a few days later - RESPECT!

Gary Pie Dunn

I spent a fortune in that shop! A wonderful man. My funniest recollection of him was me asking for Je t’aime. Being a youngster I was interested in the cover! Alf proceeded to put the record in a plain sleeve,,, the look on his face when I said I only want it for the cover! ( he did put it back in the cover for me!)

Veronica Womble Lane

Loved this shop, bought my first records there, the listening booths were magic x

David Hammond

I remember pressing my nose against the window to look at the albums on display in the window. and then this is where I bought my first ever 45 record in 1972 David Bowie Jean Genie - still got it!


Dave Harwood
13 Nov 2023 at 10:52
I found this piece in the 'Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph' dated 9th January 1939: “His Master’s Voice Records are stocked by Palmers’Music Stores, Paul Taylor, and ALF. BAILEY, Kettering; Ireson's Music Stores, and Herberte Jordan, Wellingborough; and Fraser Son and Mackenzie, Ltd., Rushden.”
Michael Eden
25 Feb 2024 at 10:58
I remember, in the 1970s, that when you looked in the big front window there was a grand piano and other musical instruments on the floor. As a teenager, we always referred to the man in the shop as 'Alf'. If my memory is correct, he looked very much like Professor Pat Pending from Wacky Races.
There were no records to thumb through. You had to ask 'Alf' for what you wanted and he went out to the back room behind him and seconds later came back with your request.
Only once did he not have the 45 I was after, but he managed to get it for me by the end of the week.



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