The decision The decision is vinyl is vinyl; As Record Store Day takes place across the UK today, Dave Owens speaks to Allan Parkins, right, of Cardiff vinyl treasure trove Kellys Records about how the resurgence in vinyl is paying dividends for the shop.
WALK by Kellys Records in Cardiff Central Market at closing time and most evenings you'll hear the same tracks being played.
"When we wrap it up at the end of the day it takes us about 20 minutes to close the shop and we play in no particular order Just My Imagination by The Temptations, Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry, Mr Big Stuff by Jean Knight, Me And Mrs Jones by Billy Paul," explains Kellys owner Allan Parkins, taking me through his packing away playlist.
"Sometimes we might throw in something like Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd or Someone To Watch Over Me by Linda Rondstat."
"It's become a ritual every time we shut shop and it's the perfect end to the day."
As you would imagine for a man whose currency is music, records play a pivotal role in Allan's life.
Today, Kellys and hundreds of other record shops will be celebrating Record Store Day - an annual celebration of independent record shops, marked by special in-store events, gigs and hundreds of special limited edition releases by artistes from around the globe.
Kellys will be hosting their own event at 10 Feet Tall in Cardiff and also offering five precious slabs of vinyl up for grabs in an in-store competition. (see side panel for more details) Music downloads may be on the rise while CD sales are declining, but in recent times there has been a noticeable and sizeable upsurge in the fortune of vinyl sales.
"There's definitely a resurgence in vinyl and for us Record Store Day is a celebration of vinyl," says Allan.
The shop owner reckons old records have more than simple aesthetic appeal however, and people are prepared to pay for it.
That's the principle that Kellys is based on, and it seems to be working out for them.
"We've got 100,000 collectable records in total. They come in from private collections, from dealers from all sources," says the 59-year-old, a former trainee at Cardiff City Football Club and a high flyer at Cardiff Council and Curran Oil until the early '90s when he took over the running of Kellys from his aunt and uncle, Phyllis and Eddie Kelly . "We take anything from one record someone's found in the attic to an 8,000-piece Beach Boys collection.
"The guy had built it up over 10 years, everything that the Beach Boys had ever done, together or separately, in all the different pressings.
"A couple of them were Japanese versions worth a couple of grand each. But you don't get that every day."
The shop has become an oasis for international visitors - buyers who are happy to travel to feed their vinyl fixation.
"We've got a guy who comes over from Holland six times a year to visit us, and a guy who rings me from California in the middle of the night when he can't sleep just to have a chat and order up some records," adds Allan.
"There's a dealer who comes over three times a year from Taiwan, and piles up records this high.
"Then he has them shipped off back home. That's always a good day when he lets us know he's coming!" Everyday he is sent hundreds of e-mails and fields dozens of phone calls from people asking him to track down a long-lost tune.
He also gets a fair few celebrities through his doors - from rock musician Julian Cope and Gruff Rhys, from the Super Furry Animals, to Nicky Wire, from the Manic Street Preachers.
"If a band is playing in Cardiff, generally they come in," says Allan. "We get everyone in from little kids through to grandmothers because we sell all types of music.
"A lot of people are extreme collectors. Not only will they collect everything by a certain band, they'll collect everything they've ever touched.
"We also get a lot of people coming in asking for a certain song they want for a funeral. When we find it, there are always a lot of tears."
The future looks secure for Kellys purely because they operate in isolation from the rest of the independent music retailers who deal in current releases.
"We're not affected by the download market," says Allan. "People will come in here looking for physical copies of the songs they've been listening to online, in fact.
"That's why I think vinyl is still going to be here for good, even if CDs fall by the wayside."
Allan himself has no intention of packing it all in just yet.
"Everyday something funny or out of the ordinary happens," he chirps. "No day is ever the same.
"I can't see myself stopping doing this. It's not like a proper job. I've got fantastic staff. I go in every day and have great banter with the guys.
"It keeps me young!" Turn up and tune in to special events Record Store Day events To celebrate Record Store Day today, Kellys Records will be giving away four iconic and rare vinyl albums to four lucky customers.
They are: James Brown Revolution Of The Mind The Smiths The Queen Is Dead (limited edition 10" LP) The Beatles Yellow Submarine Syd Barrett The Madcap Laughs and Barrett (two album set) To enter all you have to do is spend pounds 10 or more at Kellys and you will be given a voucher to enter the free draw. The draw will take place in the store at close of business on Record Store Day and all winners will be notified via Facebook, Twitter and text message.
As an added bonus Kellys will also be giving away a free limited edition Kellys Records T-shirt to all customers who spend pounds 20 or more in the shop on Record Store Day.
Kellys Records Evening Vinyl Party Kellys has also teamed up with Cardiff venue 10 Feet Tall to present an evening of top class vinyl music from the dusty crates of Cardiff's finest vinyl DJs.
Running from 6pm-11pm today, the night will be headlined by Rhys of Goldie Lookin' Chain. The line-up also includes DJ Enzine, Turntable Tim, Supajay, Oner. There will be free T-shirts and vinyl giveaways. Free entry. 10 Feet Tall are also offering 20% off food with a receipt from local record shops Spillers, Catapult and Kellys.
Spillers Records in Morgan Arcade, Cardiff will be celebrating Record Store Day with free live music from Valleys blues-rock powerhouse Henry's Funeral Shoe, who will be playing live today at 6pm. Spillers will also be promoting a gig at Clwb Ifor Bach later in the evening featuring Hatcham Social , Spencer McGarry and Jemma Roper. Tickets priced pounds 6. Visit www.clwb.net for more information
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|Publication:||South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Apr 21, 2012|
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