When I was younger I couldn’t wait until Saturday so I could go to the next town and spend what little money I had on albums and singles. Of course I lived in the middle of nowhere so the next town only had a small Woolworths shop but beggars couldn’t be choosers. I want to tell my 14 year old self one day you will be able to listen to whatever album you want instantly for FREE. I’m sure my head would explode. Yet if I explained how we got here and what we lost on the way I don’t think I would be so overjoyed at the prospect. A system which threatens independent record shops and hurts the artist is not something to celebrate. When I was a kid all I dreamed of was shelves stacked with CDs and vinyl. I have that now but I admittedly buy a lot less, leaving my collection a little frozen in time.
With those concerns in mind, and inspired by the shopping haul posts of other bloggers I am committing myself to getting out to a record shop once a month and buying something by a female artist (to keep with the blog theme). I am also hoping to expand my second hand vinyl collection so I will also show you what treasures I find.
For the first of these shopping posts I had to visit my favourite record shop in Edinburgh: Coda Music. Despite being right in the centre of town this shop is a real oasis of calm. It’s mainly known for its selection of Scottish, world and folk music but with the vinyl revival it now also stocks a wide range of rock, pop, country and Americana. The shop also hosts performances and in store signings so it is worth following them on all the social media channels to keep informed. They’ve had people like Rhiannon Giddens here recently and Karine Polwart is appearing soon.
It’s a dull October day in Edinburgh, overcast and verging on cold but it’s hard not to feel sunny as I see the Margo Price vinyl and a special Julie Fowlis display in the window. A nice buzz greets me as I head into in the shop where people are actually buying things, including a teenager whose mum was offering to get her whatever she wanted. There’s the usual middle aged blokes perusing the shelves but no snobby atmosphere as you can get in some of those dirty, over stocked places. If anyone feels intimidated in record shops, then this is a great relaxed place to go. All the records are well displayed with the artist names clearly visible (it makes such a difference for browsing) and there’s a nice mix of vinyl and CDs.
At first I look through the 7 inches and find a nice little blue Aoife O’Donovan record store day release which is reduced so I decide to get that one right away. I browse through the albums and see some good ones I have recently reviewed: Alvvays, Lilly Hiatt, Wolf Alice and Susanne Sundfør. I would love to be able to buy everything but at £20 each I have to make a choice. In the end I decide that Susanne’s album is a thing of beauty which I have to own. It comes with a photo booklet from her travels and is on clear vinyl. I have collected coloured vinyl for years now, mainly 7″ but I love that most albums now come in colour too. I also see a CD of Red Dirt Girl by Emmylou Harris and at £3.99 it would be rude not to. I’m delighted with my purchases and the staff are lovely in here too.
Afterwards I head off to some charity shops by the University. I find a nice Aretha single for £1.50 and even though it’s from her 80s period which isn’t my favourite, the cover has a painting of her in a pink car and who can resist that? Eventually after searching a few shops I find a wee gem of a Joan Baez album of ballads for £3, which is in good condition and has some gorgeous artwork. Finally I head to Oxfam, hoping for some more finds but it was slim pickings. Most charity shops now have been left with the landfill records since the vinyl revival became fashionable and people started realising they could sell their good stuff online. Nowadays you’re more likely to find decent second hand CDs and indeed here I got an old Karine Polwart album for £1.50 to finish off my haul.
All in all I spent around £40 and while I can’t afford that every month I think I got a good amount of treasures for the money. Next month I plan to feature a different Scottish record shop – feel free to send me a recommendation. Also if anyone wants to join me in sharing what music they’ve bought recently please comment below. I couldn’t run the blog without streaming services but there is nothing sweeter than owning the actual record.