Richard King's account of the several years he spent working in a Bristol independent record shop in the early 90s is destined to become a classic of music writing. We live in an age when the most beautiful of recording formats, vinyl, is back in vogue and thriving. In the early 90s, with the march of the cd and record company disinterest oin the format, vinyl was lookingRichard King's account of the several years he spent working in a Bristol independent record shop in the early 90s is destined to become a classic of music writing. We live in an age when the most beautiful of recording formats, vinyl, is back in vogue and thriving. In the early 90s, with the march of the cd and record company disinterest oin the format, vinyl was looking like an anachronism. And with its demise came the gradual erosion of a once beautiful and unique landscape known as the independent record shop. Richard King, author of How Soon is Now, blends memoir and elegiac music writing on the likes of Captain Beefheart, CAN and Julian Cope, to create a book that recalls the debauched glory days of the independent record shop. Chaotic, amateurish and extravagantly dysfunctional, this is a book full of rare personalities and rum stories. It is a book about landscape, place and the personal; the first piece of writing to treat the environment of the record shop as a natural resource with its own peculiar rhythms and anecdotal histories....
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||256 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
original rockers Reviews
A beautiful memoir about....loss. What else is a memoir about, except loss. The subject matter are actually two in this wonderful book by Richard King. One is about the loss of a record store called "Revolver" in Bristol, England, and the other is a loss of a friend to perhaps suicide or overdose, or perhaps both. Nevertheless a very important book for one's who have worked at a record store in the past, and perhaps, in the present. Since vinyl stores are back with a force of a tropical storm.Revolver Records sounds like so many, yet special type of places where one can find unusual music - run by people who are not exactly sociable, but do know their music. The shop specialized in Raggaee and experimental music/modern jazz. Mostly at the height of the 1990's - which means the landscape of Tricky and Massive Attack, but oddly enough, very little coverage on these two artists - instead the author focuses on more obscure artists and the odd 'dub' recordings of that era and the 70s. Roger, the owner, is someone who is basically one step forward and two steps backwards type of guy - crisis brewing one after the other, and yet, his love of his business keeps the discs juggling all above. Towards the end of the book, King writes very well on a friend who shared an early passion for the solo Rod Stewart albums - and eventually he became an art dealer in London - that was at first successful, but soon became a nightmare of money owed, and like Roger, one step forward, and in his case, many steps backwards. I know there are quite a few books out now about the love of the music store and its products, but this one i think is a tad special, due to King's prose talents, and insight of his town Bristol, and of course, the beauty of a record store that functions in a very specific way - which to spread an aesthetic stamp on those who visit it the store - if they can get pass Roger the owner.
Eloquent requiem for a record shop. A lovely piece of writing.
This book was a bit intimidating and rough in a few patches simply because a majority of the focus was on reggae and British experimental jazz, two genres that I am unfamiliar with. The author's "time capsule" capture of a time when small record stores were meeting places, discussion salons, and hipness Meccas, however, transcends genre and comes from a place of authenticity. A time which once seemed endless is recorded here as a brief and transitory moment that anyone "of a certain age" should be able to appreciate. The emotion in the final chapters is intoxicating and worth the read regardless of one's musical tastes. Indeed, had these been songs and bands from my own vinyl collection, I would have rated it at five stars.
Wonderful book that's made me emotional for Swales Music in Haverfordwest. And led me down the dub rabbit hole...
Richard King's Original Rockers is a thoughtful & amusing account of his time spent working at Revolver Records in Bristol during the early part of the 1990s. King tells us about his fellow staff members, the store's regular (and irregular) customers, musicians & industry figures. Most importantly, King writes knowledgeably & passionately about the records he discovered & listened to in the shop. Of course, King's nostalgic musical trip back to Revolver Records owes a huge debt to Nick Hornby's fictional Championship Vinyl in High Fidelity. Like Hornby's book, King depicts the shop's owner & fellow staff as magical keepers of a musical secret, who seem more interested in "correcting" their customers' perceived poor musical tastes rather than running a profitable business. Like Hornby's novel, the owner's unorthodox way of running the store & his unusual handling of their sometimes eccentric customers' requests leads to some recognisably funny moments. In particular, the time the local police called in the drugs squad to stake out the record shop is hilarious. The police had observed suspicious looking characters entering the shop, but not leaving with any apparent musical purchases. So, the police assumed that the shop was actually selling drugs!King often goes off on tangents when he devotes lengthy sections of the book to discussing obscure records he came across in the shop. However, these musical diversions are well-written & made this reader want to hear some of that music, so it's a pity this book didn't come with its own soundtrack album in either physical or digital form. King also writes passionately about the importance of an early album from the more well-known Rod Stewart in a moving chapter following the death of a friend. I also enjoyed King's communications with the renowned BBC DJ, John Peel, culminating with Peel staying at King's flat after a visit to Bristol for the Beeb. Original Rockers is a great read for any music fan who yearns for the days of being patronised by the staff of independent record stores. King reminds us that it was the musical prejudices & passions of these shops' owners & staff that gave indie record stores their particular identity & character & continually brought music fans back to buy records, CDs, badges & t-shirts. However, King suggests that it may have been their status as music fans rather than their knowledge of business that led to the success of these stores, which may also have ultimately led to their eventual demise as well.
"Original Rockers" is a strange yet compelling novel with a writing style that does not always seem to be of one mind. Richard King balances terrific anecdotes from his days working as a record store clerk in Revolver, strange six-degrees-of-separation-like tangents on strange subcultures linked to the Bristol store, and deeply personal memories into a novel that feels like a warm tribute and an education at the same time. It paints a picture of a record store utterly - and eventually tragically - defiant in the face of changing times in the music industry, refusing to play ball with record companies, new trends and artists or even acknowledging the CD as a serious medium altogether in the nineties. Instead, it sticks to catering to adepts of very specific subcultures, be it roots reggae, (local) freejazz, C86-like jangles or backroom krautrock - all the while berating the tastes of anyone coming into the store asking for music the staff deems to be inferior. King discusses some of these subcultures' direct links to the store at length, sometimes moving from funny store anecdotes to fullblown, multi-page wikipedia-like expositions on obscure freejazz and ambient within the same paragraph, seemingly without any concern to the actual flow of the narrative. This tends to be a bit jarring at first, especially as the original narrative seem to be abandoned for pages on end in lieu of descriptions of album covers, credit notes, obscure facts, and band members' side projects of bands you've never heard of to begin with - yet King always returns to his original point in a satisfactory manner, using the information overload as a fitting context to an emotional reminisce regarding the store that deeply affected him. Sure, the musical references are sometimes a bit out there and even snobbish - it's always a bit of an easier read when the music being discussed in a chapter is at least somewhat familiar - but somehow it seems to be a fitting tribute to Revolver and its self-willed, fiercely independent owner that never wanted to compromise anyway.
A book for anyone who's ever loved, or perhaps even feared a particular record shop. A delightfully well observed account, giving abehind the counter perspective on life at the much lamented Revolver records of Bristol. The book is peppered throughout with funny, awkward and sometimes poignant observations about events and people involved in the shop, that gives an insider’s insight that a mere customer could never hope to provide. Read it and you’ll learn such things as the reason Can records could never be played in the shop, the curious ritual behind the auctions of new Reggae releases to soundsystem-operators, why the musical taste of softly spoken, serious buyers of Outlaw Country music should never be questioned and what John Peel did in the back room of the shop. There’s also a particularly brilliant Bristol reference, which sees the then owner Roger writing ‘Neoohhhvarhhhniahhl’ in chalk on the A-board of favoured artists outside. When questioned what this means he explains: ” ‘Nirvana…Spoken in a thick Bristolian accent”Theres also a lovely summation of what the shop meant to many of its customers: "Our clientele knew that by entering Revolver their visit ensured the shop was transformed from a liminal space into a threshold, a portal where the shop counter was not merely a location for purchases but a point of departure for the sharing of an obsessional love of music and a wonder at its ability to transfigure the everyday.”
If you were around in the eighties, if you ever hung out in a record shop, if you love reggae, if you ever collected records - this is one for you. A good read.
4 stars for the bit where they go large on the Le Jardin De Heavenly promo...
I loved this tale of working in a defiantly uncommercial record shop in Bristol.