I visited from the Dean Street days (certainly from about `86) to the Berwick Street addresses (two I believe) until it closed in 2003. It was originally in the street level shop but moved into the basement. There were many counter staff who passed through over the years, with Kev being the last. He pestered me continuously for my copy of Enos and Sheila's 'La Bamba' on Blue Cat, and I finally relented and sold it to him. I later heard that having worked his way through a long list of rare Rock Steady wants, he sold his entire collection. Keith later opened a shop in Walthamstow's Wood Street market, which lasted for a few years. His son Luke still sells on e-bay (I think as 'shuke')but I'm not sure whether Keith is still involved. Comment: Mark Griffiths.
(Sept 11, 2014) Anonymous said:Brilliant when I first went in there as a kid there was dreads smoking weed in cones made out of brown paper it looked like they had a bonfire on there shoulders,quite intimidating but I got in there and heard a lot of music
(Sept 11, 2014) Anonymous said:Barney
(July 19, 2013) Bev said:Oh and I am female (a rarity it seems...)
(July 19, 2013) Bev said:Yeah I remember this shop. I worked close by between about 1977 and 1982. I think the guys drank in nearby Bath House?
(June 7, 2013) Robert S. said:Daddy Kool Records had various incarnations either side of Oxford Street beginning in the early 70s. I only knew the Berwick Street shop which had been at that address since the 80s (I could be wrong) and was the last. The shop was originally at street level and the space filled with racks jammed with new and secondhand reggae albums and 12inches, and tatty dividers indicating the contents of the section: '80s Digital' 'Ska Comps' 'Roots LPs' 'Rare 12s' and so on - all written in large coloured magic marker letters presumably by owner Keith Stone.
Expensive, collectable albums yellowed on the walls and the counter boxes contained hundreds of Jamaican 45s where affordable treasures could be found. There were cardboard boxes everywhere brimming with records. The shop had an undecorated, DIY feel - patches of damp cardboard on the floor and strip lighting above but could be really bustling, like the fruit and veg market outside and general pavement traffic. I first visited in the early 90s when I was beginning to get into Jamaican music after moving to Hackney. I found the place fascinating and quite intimidating - it wasn't just the volume of bass coming at you from the shop system, but the sleazy, 'you can get what you want here' vibe that was all over Soho back then, even though the merchandise on offer was vinyl instead of porn. Many of the customers were types that seem to have vanished from central London now - middle-aged hipsters, reggae-mad cabbies, old mates of Keith's, sound system guys and god knows who else. Females...no.
Keith was a massive figure on the London reggae scene and was also a blues boffin. His reputation for grumpiness was just, and he could be hilariously rude to customers, but that never bothered me. I once asked him to play a stack of records without realising he'd just jammed his finger in a door hinge... on realising I braced myself for the worst, but with bloody nail hanging off he obliged..wincing and using one hand! There was also a nice guy with a shaved head called Kev who worked there. He burnt me a CD of some very very rare rocksteady that I lost. The operation moved to the much cosier basement around the late 90s. You'd descend the steep stairs and get a waft of Keith's lunch - Spanish omelette and chips seemed to be a favourite. The basement retained much of the upstairs atmosphere but closed in about 2003. I think Keith sold his personal collection to Mick Hucknall.
Hi I would like to correct something you said. "Females no". I often bought the latest 12" from Daddy Kools early 80's.It was a bit intimidating having to push past dreads to get to the counter which was knee deep in dreads. So females yes.
When I first visited Daddy Kool tunes like Daddy Tar Zig Zawya and Captain Barkey Gun were playing. There were many people in the shop listening out for the latest tune. I bought Pinchers Go to Be Me LP. After a few visits Wayne said I know tune and I was invited to stay after closing. I came here every Saturday. I am in the picture but you can only see the back of my head. I remember some of the clashes. Wayne, Levi,Mark,Junior, Dean, Gussie, Clive, Jude, Everton, Harry, Rico, and many others would be there with a box of records. A lot was made of playing original label tunes not repress or Greensleeves. I remeber Mark playing Sinners by Jacob Miller aiming it it is all, Levi playing Prince Fari,Peter Briggs,Keith Hudson, Big Youth. Wayne playing Trickster and Tischen by Junior Delgado,Welding by I-roy, Spliff Tail Triston Palmer, Schreechie cross the border Courtney Melody. Lambs Bread international Walton Irie. Dean played a lot of revival, Slim Smith , Delroy Wilson, Sesame Street instrumental, many old tunes I had never heard. I have no time to mention what everyone played but I remember tunes like Welding,Nice up the Dance, Arleen.Thief a Man,Mr Know it all, hundreds of tunes.I got a few forwards for Barry Brown Don't take no steps,Sugar Minott You've lost it, Tappa Zukie Matty Dread a whe she want 7" among others.
There was a debate about who was best out of Tenor Saw, King Kong,and Nitty Gritty. Wayne preferred Nitty Gritty, Junior Preferred King Kong and I preferred Tenor Saw. About 4 rounds of Tennents, Kestrel, Holsten Pils , Special Brew and Dragon were consumed.
We also played Dominoes.
Some times my Dub Vendor bag was not popular with Keith. He wanted to know what I could buy there that he didn' t have.
I remember Lloyd Honeyghan, Jah Shaka and Twinkle Brothers coming to sell their tunes. Some other after hour tunes were Chant Down Babylon, Beat Down Babylon and Fade Away by Junior Hyles,Naturally Collie,Revolutionist and Jogging by Freddie Macgregor.
Daddy Kool was a good shop for second-hand records, release 12', more roots pre and Lp's. Steve and Wayne would look after you and make sure you don't buy rubbish.
I remember going to the Dean St store and an older white woman was always there with who I presume was her son. The name Joan comes to mind but it was over 40 years ago. Going to Soho in those days on a 38 bus from Hackney made me feel so proud of myself. I loved that trip.
I only remember the Berwick Street location of Daddy Kool's. I was in my late teen's/early 20's back in the very early 90's and used to make an almost monthly pilgrimage, with my best mate Lee. They are without doubt some of the best memories I have of my early years. We used to head into London and always exited the tube at Oxford Circus where we would normally buy a "Pizza Nice/Pizza Slice" from the pizza place right outside. We would then head down through Carnaby Street to Broadwick Street and along to Berwick Street. The anticipation would always rise as we got closer, hoping that we would find "killers" from our "list" or even better, tunes we'd never even heard. Wayne would always be on the counter spinning the tunes and Keith either in the office or milling around organizing the racks. It's without a doubt that Keith could come across as a grumpy bastard, but if you were into the music and brushed that aside he would soon warm up. I remember having many conversations with Keith and Wayne and enjoying them all. Wayne would always be front and center and Keith would appear say something and then disappear back from where he came. Both had an incredible knowledge of the music and somehow complimented each other in a bizarre manor that still makes me laugh. Wayne had a great ability to understand your musical taste and point you in the appropriate direction. I would always bring a pile of tunes from the racks, and he would always quickly cut it down based on his understanding of my musical taste. His raspy voice would say, No, You'll like this, or maybe as he sorted through the pile. Over time we developed a nice relationship with both Keith and Wayne and spent countless hours listening to tunes, drinking a few Kestrel Supers and leaving with a stack of new tunes. We would always head back the way we came and drop into the John Snow pub on Broadwick Street to have a few more beers and look over our new records. I moved to Canada in 96 and so unfortunately never got the chance to go back before it closed. Whenever I'm back in the UK I always head back to Soho and visit the John Snow and remember the great times we had. I'll always remember Daddy Kools with great affection. I wish it was still there. To Keith and Wayne, thanks for the memories!
Wonderful to read these comments, some by domes faces and reminisce over those times.
Like some here I was a bit nervous going in to Dean Street as a teenager with little money but I found it very welcoming with a young woman (Sarah, I think) on the counter. I couldn't help but spend all of my wages/dole in one go but the staff used to take pity on the skinny teenager and let me off a few quid here and there. I sometimes used to go hungry to buy the tunes, the one day Wayne and Steve bought me lunch, and a drink! Bowled away! I remember every record I bought there and still have them all. I also met Shaka, Norman and Joey there and I witnessed some things. Of all the record shops I went to this was my favourite and I miss those days.
(March7, 2015) I went in 1978, in Hanway St, and I recall the shop with pin sharp images in my memory - Keith was at the counter and there was a moody looking dread at the side in front and I walked in I was a Hi-Fi salesman from Leicester - dressed in a suit with a smart haircut, and while many would have been intimidated - I was in heaven and just listened and observed, the speakers were concrete columns and incredible, both the Ratsa and Keith were amused when I asked for records that the way I looked would not portray my taste, I bought Dreadlocks VS Mexicano 12" Loving Pauper 12"(Ruddy T & Trinity) and about 6 pre 45's (that I just about can recall) while I waited he played African Dub chapter 3 album that had just come in, I bought that too, I have photos of me at the shop doorway with bag, I must dig out, the shop was tiny, the place was full of vinyl, and those bins were amazing - the volume was undistorted and earth shatteringly loud, Keith was pleasant that day and was happy to assist this dorky bloke in the crap suit with his Reggae records. I have one of those letter headers shown here, it is a fine memory I shall not forget. Comment: Adrian David.
(April 11, 2015) I went to all 3 locations of Daddy Kool, but I think that Hanway Street was my favourite, because it was so different to the "normal" record shops I'd been to before and it was like a first love affair. I bought loads of great records over the years in Daddy Kool. Sure Keith could be grumpy, but he'd say "hello" if he saw me in Berwick Street Market. I understood that he passed away a few years ago, but I could be wrong of course. Daddy Kool was responsible for my eternal love of reggae. Respect! Comment: James Moseley.
I found this little gem of a shop in the mid-late 80's. Straight from school worked for the DTI in High Holborn so was up Tottenham Court Road all the time. Keith was grumpy, but after a time seeing me there regular, he would start recommending to me. He would even sell me some of those under the counter gems where you had to be a true lover of the music. Diamond geezer. Comment: SIMONE BROWN.
Comments on photograph posted in facebook
(Feb 13,20) Bev worked there in dean st she had a part in Babylon the film, she was the girl getting married: Comment Peter Dew.
(Feb 13,20) I remember attending one of these lockdowns with Peter and our bag of tunes and having a great time! Good days. Bless up to Wayne John,it's been years! Glad to see your still spreading the musical vibes. Comment: Neil Beaumont Mark Byer
(9April 20. 2015) Keith's son here. Nice to see the comments and I'll second any that claim he was grumpy, he was...And I'd continually berate him for the way he'd speak to customers! Just to let you all know though, he's very much alive and kicking!!
(July 10, 2015) Went in the shop when it was in Dean Street. Did feel a bit intimidated going in but I knew what I was after. 'King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown' - Agustus Pablo (correct spelling on cover) on crackly vinyl. Daddy even played a first two tracks for me. Sounded fantastic on the shop sound system. Also picked up a Bobby Ellis album and Fat-man Ridim Section album. Even got change from a tenner! Comment: Chris Clarke.
(July 26, 2015) From the age of 15 - 1977 onwards - I made regular pilgrimages to the Dean Street store. Loved it. Best purchase ever the 12" of "Rasta Train" with Dr Alimintado. Comment: Ben Ticehurst
(August 23, 2015)Keith was a top geezer. He wasn't ever rude to me and I used to frequent both the Hanway and Dean Street shops.The Dean Street shop was packed on Saturday afternoons. Girls that I was with would refuse to go in at that time,as the majority of the customers at that time, sporting their G's/Roberto Carlos/Farahs/lizards and cross, NEVER invested in deodorant. The stench was revolting. Happy days!!! Comment: Stefan
(August 7, 2015) I was co-fonder with Keith Stone of Daddy Kool, opened in October 1975. The idea was to have a central London location where you could get records from all over - like Morpheus in Croydon, Shelly in North London, Jessus & Peckins in the west, Bert at Nationwide in North London, Dip in Brockley Rise, and pre-release from the great Lasco's Music Den in Lower Clapton Road [R.I.P Bubbba]. I left - after the 'partnership' was dissolved - by Stone at the end of September 1976. Later worked for Honest Jons, Island, Trojan and Blood & Fire. Comment:Steve Barrow.
(October 14, 2015) Does anyone know if the Keith who ran daddy Kool was the Keith who John Peel often referred to as his source of reggae. I am from the www.peel.wikia.com and John often mentioned a Keith who ran a recird shop in london and he played a lot of reggae and would be Good to know if he was the one and the same...if he was I and many others owe him a huge debt as he didn't just run a record shop but introduced the music to millions of people through peel. Thanks. Comment: Mark Luetchford.
( January 1, 2016) I used to visit the Berwick Street shop around 90 / 91 when it was at street level but sometimes the basement would be open with JA 7" too. I would buy from Wayne, Keith and a white dread who was there also at that time. I was very young and shy and didn't know the record shop etiquette which paved the way for some awkward moments but they were always kind and respectful to me but maybe a little bemused by my approach. I was digging for Tenor Saw, Nitty Gritty and all that digital stuff when it was mainly out of print and before it was trendy and getting re-pressed. The policy was to not play second hand stock but Wayne would allow you one or two if it was quiet. It was an intimidating place when it was busy as was the rest of Soho back then. Even in the daytime if you walked south down by Peter Street and Greens Court it started to get a bit dodgy. I remember the whole market would be shaking to the bass and you could feel it as you made your way through the crow ds. The smell was a mix of take away grease, dust, BO, ganja and rotten vegetables. That picture of the lock in with Wayne at the end of the counter is how I remember it. I remember how difficult it was to remove a 7" from that selection stapled to the wall above the counter without pulling the whole lot down and how irate they used to get about it. To the point that I was too scared to buy anything that was on display there. I remember they used write a short description on the sleeve of the second hand stuff, my favorite was "Kool Killer!" Its hard to imagine how intense it was down there if you go there now. RIP Daddy Kool, RIP Soho... Vinyl Forever. Comment: Digital Killaz.
( March 12, 2016) Used to go up town to the dean st.shop and get great tunes at give away prices in the mid 80's. I was 13 years old the first time i went coolest shop in the world, still playing those records. Comment: Jason Grove.
Dave Hamilton "Daddy Kool rocked. I miss it." (April 12, 2016)
Wayne Birthwright. "Leeds roots reggae sound men were frequent visitors to the iconic London store. Gems galore in store." (April 15, 2016).
Name Stephen Bertrand Comment: Started working on 42 Beak Street round the corner from the Dean Street Store in 1979. It was home to me during lunchtimes and evening after work where i spent countless hours sifting through stacks of records. Keith was always nice to me since it seems i was there all the time and got many treasured tunes from the store.
No one seem to mention Bobby who was also behind the counter while Keith was in the background sorting out tunes old and newly recieved items.
Bobby also used to cut Dubplates for many sound systems at the time and it is there in 1981 we got our first few dubplates (A Special for our sound at the time "SHATTERA", Kunta Kinte all cuts, Beware of Your Enemies and what turned out to be my biggest rip-off from Bobby "Tristan Palmer & Jah Thomas Entertainment dubplate which released a few weeks later). Yes, it was painful paying £40 for a dubplate that released so soon afterwards.
Daddy Kool Record shop will always have a special place in my heart for it was there I met my wife of 23yrs Marriage. It is a funny story, I was there as usual listening to the recent tunes Bobby was spinning and many guys at the counter ready to pounce for their favorites. The Shop door was opened that day due to the summer heat, suddenly all the guys turned their heads towards the door and starred for a few seconds so naturally i turned to look too. There in the doorway stood this beauty new to the area fresh from Gloucester. Being shy as hell i could never sum up the strength to speak to women but luckily enough as she made her way into the shop my friend was walking past, so i went out to speak to him. It was then that i looked in the shop and She was looking out so i beckoned her to come out, we started talking, i walked her back to her work in Tottenham Court Road and came back to the store.
Thank you Daddy Kool, because of you I found a lifetime passion for music and also found love all in the same place.
Respect and Love to Keith Stone, Friend Ron Kane and Bobby.- Livity International Sound System
Name Jan Brown Comment I used to go to the Dean Street Daddy Kools when I worked in windmill street round the corner in 1986/87. got to know the assistant in there Junior. what a cool shop. still have the records I bought there, and would love to see Junior again . Sad to know its closed down now . also used to go to Gossips next to it on Saturday nights with Dave Roddigan on the decks. good times. (Nov 18, 2016)
Name Anil Malhotra Comment: Daddy Kool was my place for dub and reggae. I lived in Watford at the time, so used to travel down by train at the age of 15 and 16, go to Camden Town, then head down to Hanway Place with my paper round earnings/pocket money. Used to be a good, cheap Hare Krishna cafe in a basement off Hanway Place north of Oxford St too.
I also remember the "exotic" odour inside the shop. After a few visits, the guys would play tracks for me and I generally found them helpful when it was clear I wasn't just a "tourist", but a fan of the music. Tracking down and finding music was a real commitment in those days, and felt much more rewarding when you found somewhere like Daddy Kool, compared to the lacklustre experience of today. ( Nov 22, 2016)
Name Pat Kelly Comment: Great memories of a wonderful time and place. Not to forget Keith's lovely daughter who's name I forget . She worked there too. I remember her dropping junior Delgado hanging tree , for some reason I said I didn't want it and she said I must be mad , so I bought it anyway. Worth a few quid now I would imagine ! (February 17, 2017)
The depth of his record box is the first thing that puts Curly B in a different league to the rest. He can draw on an endless supply of rare and brilliant tunes that few others can touch. "My record collection start from my father. When he went back to Jamaica he left me all that he had. Plus, I was always buying records, from the days of doing a paper round when we used to get fifty pence. A Jamaican '45 was fifty pence then. Straight down the record shop, Desmond Hip City in Atlantic Road, Brixton, Soferno B, Sound City, Peckings and Greensleeves in West London, Daddy Kool in the West End. All over London for my records."
Name Mr Chips Comment: Used to visit the Dean St shop almost every other Saturday through early / mid 80's. Was selecting for a Sound out of Luton and Keith was always happy to play through the latest batch of pre-releases. Jump on the GreenLine coach at Luton, get off at Marble Arch and walk down Oxford St. Nearly always the first into the shop and would hang around for ages. Happy days. (April 28, 2017)
Name Johnny Waudby Comment: Never went in person used to get a monthly box full of treasure by mail order from 86 when I was 16. Keith was like a pen pal to me and even phoned my mum once to ask if I was ok when I had been too busy to place an order. Still got all of the vinyl I bought from dean street. Keith used to highlight my wants lists with those highlighter markers . I really wish I had visited the store before it closed. beat frequency crew Bradford w Yorkshire (June 1, 2017)
Name Danny Comment: I unexpectedly bought some nice records from Keith at an antiques fair earlier this year. Can't remember what he was selling but he had a couple of boxes of LPs under the table - says he's still got about 8,000 at home. Didn't get the feeling that he misses shop life too much but he's still got a good line in stories, pithy comments and libellously funny observations about other record people. ( July 5, 2017).
I've really enjoyed looking through the comments and old photos on here.
I bought my first Studio One 45 in there in 1979 on a special trip from Windsor to Soho to find 'Armagideon Time' by Willi Williams (after it was covered by The Clash).
To call the Hanway Street shop 'atmospheric' is the understatement of all-time.
Nearly 40 years later I'm still loving the music.I recently paid a fair few quid for a copy of Cry Tuff Dub Encounter Chapter III on the Daddy Kool label.
Best regards to everyone reminiscing about this wonderful place
Had the great pleasure of finding Daddy Kool Records just after they opened in around 1974 and visited them regularly at all their various locations. Keith and also Tony Silver Camel always treated me very well and helped me set up my shop and sound system The Mighty King of Dub Records in the west country from 1975 onwards. Still have some wicked dubplates they cut for me and still play many of the 7" vinyl and albums I got from them on our radio show Foundation Music and our Cornetstonemusik gigs.
Proud and blessed to have Keith as a long time friend and miss our Sunday mornings get together when I lived in Clapton / Hackney. This set up introduced so many people to the very best in reggae and their influence unmeasureable.
Started buying tunes in the late 80s from the weekly list at the back of echoes ... moved down to London in 1990 and was a regular in the Berwick st shop ... it was mainly Steve who was at the counter back then ... seen buster bloodvessel in there buying tunes alongside a young tim Westwood ... Keith was kool eventually, had a respect for the manchester united team at the time
Sadly I first visited Daddy Kool in its latest days during a short trip to London with a list of what I thought must be titles of songs... When my English friends came holidaying to Spain in the late 80s I copied the tapes they brought with them and they had recorded from "raggamuffin" shows on the radio. Later on, in the 90s, I bought a walkman with a built in recorder and radio, so I could save Rodigan's shows. So fast forward quite a few years and there you have me in the basement of Daddy Kool, asking who sang Rich Man Pressure or Sweets for my Sweet or Dry Up your Tears, because the name of the artists hadn't made it on the tape and in those preInternet days it was difficult to find reliable information. Over the other side of the counter they must have laughed at my begginer's questions, but they were very professional and helped me on my way to learning and loving that great music a bit more. One of my treasure finds was a Studio One 7" of Delroy Wilson singing Rain from the Sky that I really enjoy playing in all its scratching vynil glory. Great to read other memories of this shop. Much missed, as are those carefree days of youth.
Saw that Tony Gorman, aka Silver Camel, died late last year. Co-owner of Kools in late 70's and lovely guy. Always stopped for a chat wherever you saw him. RIP Tony. Also former employee Dan-I, died in 2020. Dan-I/John worked downstairs in the 'vintage vinyl' department in the early 80's at 94 Dean Street.
Dub Mister Dub it And when I dub it you have to love it.
For more see bottom of page
Long time,fond memories.
I used to pop in this record shop very late 80s to late 90s, i bought quite a few reggae records. Daddy Kool didn't like it so much if you kept asking him to play a record and you not buying but there was a day i will never forget..i was in there around 1991 looking through some records and Daddy Kool was behind the counter. A rastaman came in there with his bike, Daddy Kool was already annoyed for the 2nd time he asked him to take his bike outside. The Rastaman then said in a strong Jamaican accent "Ah what kind of record shop is this?" and Daddy Kool replied quite loudly "that's a stupid question coming from you!" and the rastaman sucked his teeth and left the shop and i couldn't stop laughing it was such a funny moment, such fond memories there.
Got my fist ska/reggae records in Balham. Prince Buster and Dennis Alcapone from memory. In the market and there was a shop in the tube station. Also the old shop in Tooting market. But then with some friends we ventured up to Daddy Kool's around 77. Remember a competitor shop opened up towards Soho, which we also started visiting. And recall some great gigs in the 100 Club. Tapper Zukie and Prince Far I. Great times
Doug Mac (2023)
I used to go to daddy Kool's in late 90s but last time I saw Keith was in a Hertfordshire boot sale i was looking though records and recognised the handwriting on price tags looked up to see seller and it was Keith he said the council raised his rent from 12,000 to nearly 30,000 to get small guys out and kfcs and MC ds in he said he still sold top end records online but those not so good condition he bought to boot fairs to sell that was last time i saw him that was early to late 2000s
I actually stumbled across this record shop archive chasing down footage of reggae nights televised in the 100 Club with Janet Street-Porter in the 1980s. I was regularly drinking in the Spanish Bar next door and popping into Daddy Kool for some roots sounds. Great place. Like so much of what made London special - gone.
Mike Hawthorne (2023)
Image Scared Records Peckham Open Saturdays
Image Phil Enthucol
Image Geoff Francis
Extracts From 'There And Black Again' Don Letts.
Silver Kamel with Phillip Fraser signing a contract
Silver Camel were a late 70's/early 80's, UK Sound System, originally the sounds owner, Tony Gorman, was from Walsall but relocated to London around 1975. They had a residency at the 100 Club, Oxford Street, on Thursday (Reggae) nights from 1977 into mid 1978.
The Sounds was associated with Daddy Kool's record shop until the end of the 70's, in 1980 they started their own Silver Camel Record label which issued around 25 12" and 10" singles and around a dozen LP's. The label was reactivated in the early 2000's and issued some of the old LP's and some newly complied compilations of the back catalogue on CD (some on CDR?).
Fabulous 1977 footage of the Hanway Street shop with Tony Gorman behind the counter. Does anyone have the full episodes of the London Weekend Show programmes on Reggae presented by Janet Street Porter? (I'm guessing the short clip posted on here came from same) There were two episodes, one of which had an interview with Keith Stone. YouTube had the episode with Fatman/Steve Barnard, but not the Daddy Kool one.
Dub Mister Dub it And when I dub it you have to love it.