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But the first shop that I remember importing soul from the USA was called Transat Imports, located in a bare basement in Lisle Street. This was early 1962 perhaps. They had all the stuff on labels like Duke, Chess, King, as well as music on a label from, say, New Orleans as well - that basement was where I saw Barbara George‘s album on AFO for example.
I think he also carried 45s too, but I used to buy the albums. I bought It’s Alright by the Impressions, Bobby Bland’s Call Me, James Brown‘s Showtime on Mercury about a week after it came out in the US. Steve Barrow Interview Modculture

Can you remember where you bought them? There was a street in Soho, Lisle Street, I think it was. It was lined with shops selling ex-army surplus electrical stuff. There would be all these men in grubby brown macs gazingly longingly into the windows at radio valves and cathode ray tubes. The sort of men who a generation later would be looking in the porn shops.
It was really difficult to buy any Blues records and I heard of this basement in Lisle Street where on Saturday mornings they sold Blues Records. I went down the steps and it was like stumbling on Aladdins cave. There we all were furtively looking through the racks of Crown albums. It was like a freemasonry discovering other people who liked this music. That's where I bought the Hooker.
TOM McGUINNESS

I met the bloke, Bob something, who ran Tran Sat at the Barbican a couple of times. he got into the record business when he wrote a letter to Stax telling them how much he liked their stuff, they wrote back, astonished any one in the UK had heard of Stax and invited him to sell them here. His dad made him sell the business (to Richard Branson he said). When I said you must have a great record collection he said 'seen me throught two marriages!' Comment:-DJ Testify

What great times they were. Making my way up to London with a couple of pals on a Saturday morning to look at and buy Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys albums. The longest queue was for Pet Sounds and the owner was getting more and more worried as the albums were late arriving. Also remember looking at the adverts in the Record Mirror, there was always something to interest me at Transat. Wonderful times they were and just how much did I spend there!!!! Comment: John Cordell

This shop is referenced in the book ' A Mod Anthology' as source of US imports.

(May 24, 2012) Jim Loader said:I remember Transat quite well. I lived in London in 66/67 and would go there when I had spare cash... which wasn't often. I bought the Frank Frost LP on Phillips International there, Etta James Rocks the House etc. It was the THE place to go for imports on a Sat. morning. Good memories.

(April 25, 2015) Mick and Keith told a customer he's the right choice of record- 'Baby, I Need Your Love'.

(April 26, 2015) I worked in the area around 1963-1968 and frequently spent lunch times in the record shops.
I particularly remember TRANSAC in Lisle St a basement on Fridays that sold USA imports saw Mick Jagger and Keith Richards there once. Comment: John Fitzgerald.

Transat Imports, where one could find records that would never have been released in Britain, was located in a basement at 27 Lisle Street in Soho’s Chinatown. Immediately after WWII, the street had been lined with shops selling electrical equipment and radio parts, much of it decommissioned from military use. Red lights showed at windows above the shops; postcards at the door advertised French Maid, and Large Chest for Sale. By the mid-1960s, most of the electrical goods outlets had moved north to Tottenham Court Road. The red lights and postcards remained. Extract from Teenage Dreams My Life as a Soul Boy. Mick Brown ( 2021)


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