1) What inspired the setting up of the shop (in 1978 - correct?)? Were there any other record shops that inspired RR? Or was it in the spirit of the music (and times) to open a shop that was completely different?
Recommended and Re records were set up in 1978, to collect the stuff i liked and wasn't
available in this country, or that mainstream distributors wouldn't take
There was no shop then, just a mail-order, label and distribution service
though sometimes people would write and ask to visit
we moved from the silverthorne address in …… ask me again later, i can't
remember, but can find out when i'm back in the uk
experimentally i half separated the shop from the distribution and
after that, i ran the label, and a series of other people ran the shop and the distribution,
though we maintained close contact and had regular meetings and so on.
that worked well for a few years and then their accountant ran off with
all the money leaving huge debts and almost sinking the ship (the shop owed
the label a small fortune, and defaulted)
so i had to step back in, deal with the crisis and save the label.
part of that process involved me taking back the distribution to stop it from
failing completely, and that was when some of the people who been running the
shop decided not to close but to put it back together, as these records
the two entities were by then completely and legally separate
so they would have to tell you about the later days
there were saturday concerts in the shop, i remember, and it worked well for a few years
then later, as you say, it opened only by appointment, and after a while closed altogether.
2) What kind of records did RR stock? Obviously, the LPs the label was releasing but I believe you were also handling Sun Ra and such.
the shop stocked everything that was in the mailorder catalogue
we were the only people importing saturn, directly from sun ra, then, and we were the uk source for the residents and pere ubu
(both were unavailable here when we first imported their LPs and singles) as well bands from all over western europe,
japan and a little later eastern europe (which was totally closed to all other outlets).
- generally our policy was to collect what i thought was interesting and generally unknown music from europe, america and japan, mostly.
nearly all our stock was pretty much unavailable elsewhere then.
all that changed with the internet of course.
3) Why the idea of "appointment only" viewing?
that's a question for the jacques', we never did that in my time, but i assume that passing trade dwindled so far that
there was no point in manning the shop full time.
4) When and why did Recommended Records pass to the Jacques brothers? I'm guessing with your musical and label activities it became too much of a burden but I'd rather you answered than I speculate.
see above; first it passed to other people, close to me, but it had, of course a certain autonomy; people came and went. by the time the jacques brothers
were part of it, the shop was already de facto independent, and i no longer had any say in its running. as above i'd have to be back in the uk to get the actual date (1984 i think)