Name: Rod Symes
Comment: I worked there in late sixties. Happy memories.
Name: Berch Rupenian
Comment: Through Mascall Records in 1967 we began to receive British records for our AM radio station in Uruguay, CX 50 Radio Independencia.
I remember that the first package included The Foundations' Baby Now That I've Found You single. Wonderful memories of a brillant decade of music from UK. Unforgettable!
Name: Dana Gillespie
Comment: South Kensington, 1965: A striking 15-year-old girl, looking closer to 18, steps confidently into the night, armed with a 12-string guitar. She might be going to any one of the live music venues in the capital – The Cromwellian Club, Blaises, The Troubadour, The Marquee. She could be heading to Soho for drumming lessons or round the corner to Mascall’s record shop, where she works an after-school shift. But, most probably, she’s heading for a tryst with the love of her life; not a man, but the American roots music that formed the foundations of Rock’n’Roll – the Blues. By the 1960s, its stars are almost forgotten in the States, many living unjustly penurious lives far from the spotlight. But the Blues is undergoing a significant revival in Britain. This music – lived in, worldly-wise, blunt, baleful and wry – has had an epiphanic effect on the young girl.
In 1962, South Kensington had two shops that fascinated me. The first was called Indiacraft and sold things like carved wooden snakes and incense. It may seem odd to mention that now – as you can buy Indian things everywhere – but in those days it was a rarity. I was already developing the habit of lighting incense every day, and I still do it when I’m at home.
The other shop was Mascalls Record Store, just opposite the tube station on Harrington Road. I’d go there so often to listen to music that eventually the owner, Harry Morgan, asked if I’d like to work in the store part-time after school. This was an offer from heaven for me, as it meant I could listen to music and get some pocket money too. I loved my time in there, standing behind the counter, chatting to the customers and, best of all, listening to the latest record releases.
Harry Morgan was a popular man with an easy-going manner, and it was not unusual to find ladies like Jackie Bissett and Vivienne Ventura hanging around him. Occasionally, I splashed out and bought myself a record, and for some odd reason, the first single I ever purchased was Wimoweh by the Karl Denver Trio. However, pretty soon I’d moved on to Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain and Jimmy Smith on his organ playing The Cat. From then on, my life seemed to be charted by what I was listening to at the time.
As I look around me now, I have a wonderful and rare collection of great Blues and Jazz LPs, and with each record, I have memories of the things I was doing at the time; which lovers were around, which country I was in, what work I was doing, and how my heart was feeling, emotion-wise.
One day I saw Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, unloading a box of copies of My Boy Lollipop (which became a massive hit for Little Millie Small) from the boot of his car and taking them into Mascalls. The pop charts were made up of ‘sale returns’ of records sold at specific record stores around the country, and Mascalls was one of them. It was well known in the music business that you could buy your way into the singles charts purely by going into the listed stores and purchasing lots of copies of a particular record – though I’m pretty sure that’s not what Chris was doing; he was just making sure that the shop had lots of copies for sale.
Name: John Butler
Comment: I lived at my parents-in-law's house on Sydney Street, Chelsea, in 1980. I was a graduate student researching a book at the British Library and needed some extra cash. I met and befriended Paul Walsh, a New Zealander who then owned Mascall Records with Dan Jenkins, and twice a week I'd go and help sell classical music there, which paid my underground to Russell Square and lunch. Paul was an expert on Gerald Finzi, and we had many interesting conversations about music. I remember the composer William Wordsworth signing records there.
PS By the way, I don't suppose anyone knows what happened to Paul Walsh?
Name: Neil Storey
Comment: Mascall Records – run by Harry Morgan – in South Kensington were partners with CB and Island in two releases – the two Rugby Songs LPs which were issued by the Surprise label. 1964. Both big, big sellers.
Name: David Edwards
Comment: Eddie Pumar and Dan Bridgman, who were members of the English psychedelic rock band Fairfield Parlour, both worked at Mascall Records during the early-mid 1970s (1974-ish). Eddie went on to be à producer at Capital Radio.
I remember them well. Both extremely knowledgable on music and great fellows. Eddie passed away à few years ago. Sadly, he was not in good health.
Name: Peter Simmons
Comment: In the basement of the shop, Mascalls had a large stock of what would be called today ‘World Music’ (South American, Middle Eastern, Asian, European etc). In 1968 this was pretty unusual outside the bigger outlets like HMV and Imhof’s. I’m not sure why these records were stocked but it was a pretty cosmopolitan area and there were a lot of foreign embassies and language schools close by.
I believe Harry Morgan had something to do with Sportsdisc Records, which was a short-lived subsidiary of Island Records (this ties in with the link to Chris Blackwell mentioned by Dana Gillespie). The registered address of Sportsdisc was 2 Brompton Road, the address of Mascall’s.They released albums of rugby songs (!) which were popular for a while plus novelty albums by Arthur Mullard and Professor Stanley Unwin. I seem to remember that there was a small recording booth in the shop basement.
Pink Floyd came into the shop having just played at the first big rock concert in Hyde Park. This must have been 29 June 1968. I believe one or other members of their design team, Hipgnosis, lived in the flats just next to the shop. My colleague in the shop, who wasn’t very hip, didn’t recognise them and asked them whether they’d been to see Pink Floyd in Hyde Park. The members of the band played along with this and said that they had been to see them and that they weren’t very good at all. As they left the shop one of them (can’t remember who) gave me a knowing wink. I have never felt so cool since!
In a recent interview with Garth Cartwright music journalist Diana Gillespie said she got her records locally. Since she is a South Keningston girl. Mascall Records most have been a shop she visited.