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I was lucky enough to get a warehouseman’s job at Global Records in Manchester, the very first importer of American vinyl – where one of the perks was being flown to Philadelphia 3 times in 1973 to look for rare soul records – a tough job but somebody had to do it - read more about Richard Sealing.

Name John Murphy Comment: I used to work for a freight forwarder at Manchester airport in the 70`s / 80`s who used to handle the air consignments of records from the USA for Global Records. Was the owner a Mr. Balbier? (April 21,2017)


Richard Cooper
23 Sep 2023 at 06:41
Global Records- The Early Years

Global Record Sales was owned by Ed Balbier, a native of Philadelphia who had a shop there in the early 1960s then a deletions business by the mid 60s(ref Billboard magazine) By the late 60s he had a warehouse on North Broad Street stacked full of deleted albums and 45s that most US record buyers had no interest in.Somehow he found out that these records were a lot more valuable in the UK so by the early 1970s had relocated his family and set up business on Cross Street in Manchester. It was in a basement, had no shop window or sign so advertised in the music press. The bulk of the business was selling the imported albums and singles to shops throughout the UK. Members of the public had to buy from a list or a small selection of new arrivals that a member of staff would bring out. I started buying northern soul singles around 1971/2 when the most expensive ones were £1.25. Derek Howe, later of HMV and Beatin' Rhythm, worked there as the staff member who would know which records were in demand. Not having much spare money my purchases were limited but all are now very expensive titles. Ed Balbier didn't have anything to do with selling to the public and tried to avoid all contact with "kids" as he called us. As the business grew he needed more space so moved to a larger second floor property on Princess Street. He still had the warehouse in Philadelphia and would send shipments from there using air freight or for larger quantities, a container load by sea. By this time Derek had left and others that followed include noted northern soul DJs Barry Tasker and Richard Searling. I used to go once a week usually buying a couple of singles.
Richard Cooper
10 Oct 2023 at 07:46

Around 1973 I started working at the Princess Street location when Ed Balbier said there was a vacancy after Barry Tasker left. The day to day work was picking and packing orders to retailers around the country. Other tasks were sorting new stock and pricing up for cataloguing on the wholesale lists. Balbier would go to the US every couple of months looking for new stock. After about a year there was another move to Chepstow Street just off Oxford Road. This was the entire basement of a early 20th Century office block. As this was a large space Balbier would send a lot of records by containers, often having bought job lots of LPs and singles. These would be great fun as you would never know what would turn up. Often there would be some very rare northern soul singles which would sell by mail order as well as at the front room of the premises. By this time overseas sales were growing. Belgian "Popcorn" DJs would come over as well as shop owners from Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Sales to Japan were also doing well, especially two James Carr albums that came in large quantities from a container shipment. I got to go to Philadelphia a couple of times, staying at Balbier's suburban house or a tiny room at the warehouse.The more recent releases that were now getting played at northern clubs could be ordered from the US companies and these would be sold to many shops in the UK. Direct sales to the public were still being done but not in large quantities, probably due to the belligerent manner from Balbier and his elder sons. I was also put in charge of running Cream Records that issued in-demand northern soul records.



Next in Manchester: Goldmine Records