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'THE MUSIC SHOP'

Sometimes 'Destiny' is in favour. When (the now late) Ken Spray was vacating Exeter's City Arcade in Fore Street in 1992 due to retirement, yours truly just happened to be walking past that day. The final bits and pieces were being sorted, with most being shoved into bin liners destined for the tip.

Trading as
THE MUSIC SHOP, Ken Spray and his father had been located in these premises since the Arcade’s opening in 1960, moving from their 'upstairs' shop in Waterbeer Street, where they had been the foremost shop in the City as a combined sheet music and record retailer specialist. The move eventually proved unfavourable.  There was enough choice within the main shopping area, and many new young record buyers of the 60s did not venture beyond. Also, Fildews (see record covers page) were just on Fore Street, just outside the Arcade. So the shop became out of touch with the scene, and stocked a lot of  middle-of-the-road and country, and diversified by also selling stamps and accessories.

Incidentally, the 'City Arcade' was initially called 'Royal Arcade'. Not known why it was changed, but one could say the latter choice being more apt!

So what I did manage to salvage that day was a quantity of unused LP covers from the 1960s that had been supplied by the EMI record rep. These were for display purposes. There were about 50 in total, with 90% being as new; with no impressions, as no records were ever included with these jackets. Artistes included Beach Boys, Beatles, Peggy Lee, Gene Pitney, Frank Sinatra, Supremes, The Toys, etc.  Ken did not want anything for them, but I insisted covers of this caliber had a value, and forced him to accept a payment.

The other rescue heading for the local landfill was their original sign as depicted at the top of this page. Used at their Waterbeer Street premises, it was situated at the ground floor’s doorway, indicating the location of the shop. Measuring 29” x 6”, it is printed onto a strip of a textured plastic. It was housed in a black metal casing, but I have removed it from this.

Most probably the only original sign from an Exeter music retailer from years back that survives, unless…..?

 

You might think that the following study is a bit pointless. Well, each to their own. Ken was from a different generation to myself, but I found him to be approachable, a gentle person who did not cuss and get despondent, even in his latter years when the business had faded and he was not as fit as he portrayed. So, in a way, this here page is a sort of tribute to Ken Spray and his kind.

* * * *

It is most probable that no bags having their name were printed for their original shop, and none when they moved to the City Arcade premises. Instead, an inking with a custom rubber stamp was employed for sales of 78rpm and 45rpm records. Randomly stamped onto the slip-sleeves, six variants are known to date.  An EP cover with the shop's info in sticker form also exists.  All are depicted below.

No LP record has been discovered (as of yet) with the stamping on either the back cover or the inner sleeve. Albums originating from the business can be identified by the neat handwriting with a pencil, along the inside edge. But only those that were ordered, with the title, customer's name, and the retail price!


27 May 2010  re previous paragraphs..
..don't believe everything you read department.
-

Just been on a call in Exeter to view records for the purchase of. Not only did it transpire that 'Maggie' and I attended the same infants and junior school (Ladysmith) with just one school year's difference, yes, amongst the effects were several paper bags from local record outlets (now added to this project) including a MUSIC SHOP example. See further down this page.


THE MUSIC SHOP
(Prop. K. SPRAY)
FIRST FLOOR
22 WATERBEER STREET, EXETER
FOR ALL THINGS MUSICAL

Written is the cat. no. DB 2759  = Teddy Johnson 'Beloved, Be Faithful / Wanderin'
Columbia 1950. Price of  5/4
1/2d; sold to a Pengelly at 6 Nelson Road, Exeter

-

THE MUSIC SHOP
CITY ARCADE, FORE ST.
EXETER


Their stamping logo here is a small rectangle.
Other side of this sleeve is written Mr. Budd,
with an adhered sticker - price writen is  6/71/2

 

MUSIC - RECORDS - NEEDLES - STRINGS
THE MUSIC SHOP
(FIRST FLOOR)
22 WATERBEER STREET, EXETER
MOUTH ORGANS, REEDS, ROSIN, ETC.

Cat. no. R 3869 is written on reverse = Benny Lee, etc "Friends And Neighbours"
Parlophone 1954. This is in conjunction with the BBC Television series of same.

-

 45-HL 8369  1956
 PATIENCE AND PRUDENCE
 'Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now' b/w 'The Money Tree'

Not a very educational title for a couple of juvenile sisters.

The shop's stamping here employs three different fonts and three different colours - their most elaborate !

-

 45-HLD 8380  1957
 TAB HUNTER
 'Young Love' b/w 'Red Sails In The Sunlight'

The transition of the gold to silver printing was at the early part of 1957, so this example is a very early pressing. .Issued in January 1957, it became a number one in February for seven consecutive weeks.

Interestingly, when the gold label went to silver, the sleeve was redesigned. The die-cut hole was enlarged so that the credits around the perimeter of the label could be seen. This was also true of Decca's other labels: Brunswick, Coral, Decca, etc. So as you can see by this Tab Hunter single, this is the original design, as
'MADE IN ENGLAND' and other statements are obscured.

The more standard type face employed on this example.

--

 7N-15664  1964
    
HONEYCOMBS
 'Have I The Right' b/w 'Please Don't Pretend Again'.

Both songs are produced by Joe Meek ~ 'R.G.M. Sound Production'.
This slip-sleeve has a more informative stamping logo:
RECORDS - SHEET MUSIC - RECORD PLAYERS - RADIO - TAPE RECORDERS
along with their Name and Address.

--


TONY HANCOCK 7" EP from 1960.
Adhered is a sticker
THE MUSIC SHOP
(Prop. K. SPRAY) 11 CITY ARCADE
FORE STREET, EXETER

Coincidently, another sticker is present, this one from PYE.  
The sleeve was erroneously printed with the incorrect catalogue number.



F 22784  1968
CASUALS
'Jesamine' b/w 'I've Got Something Too'
Stamped
THE MUSIC SHOP
11 CITY ARCADE
FORE ST, EXETER

Sorry Ken, bought mine from Totnes, where I was boarding at the time..



THE MUSIC SHOP
(Prop. K. SPRAY)
11 CITY ARCADE
FORE STREET
EXETER
for
RECORDS . TAPE RECORDERS . MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
SHEET MUSIC . ELECTRICAL GOODS . RECORD PLAYERS
TRANSISTOR RADIOS


The record that has been in this paper bag from new, and will remain so,
 is Faron Young's 'It's Four In The Morning' ~ Mercury 1972


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  ©   Peter Rice Destiny One