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10 Feb 2009

Dear Peter

Found your site & record shop pages today.  Great stuff.
I remember most of those 60's record shops and was at the Civic Hall Led Zeppelin gig. It was bloody cold in there.  I put a bit on the Exeter Memories site about that and the Stones Odeon gig. I still remember Thee of London...  
There was also Ken Spray's Music Shop in the Fore St Arcade on the same side as the El Zamba and another unknown electrical shop with a big downstairs record department was at the High St end of the Princesshay arcade, (on the left as you came out of it into High St). It shut down in the late 60's and I remember late one evening finding they'd dumped boxes of singles out for the dustmen in the arcade - I took a copy of Cream's 'Wrapping Paper', and stuffed in my parka.  Wish I'd taken a few more.
I bought lots of singles in Waltons, Moons, Boots, Bobbys basement record dept & the superb Left Bank - who were  most gracious when we used to mob the large booth at the back of the store on a Saturday afternoon, pretending we were serious buyers. They'd let you hear a whole album.  Also used to sit on those pine benches upstairs for a coffee.  Also used to occasionally visit The Ceylon Tea Centre opposite in Paris St.

The record stall at St Georges market was also well worth a look.
Paul Stephens


25 Feb 2009

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your contact.
The large store on at the end of Princesshay - are you referring to the Co-op, as that was situated there. They sold electrical goods as well as. Never knew they had records. I think I only visited that store a couple of times. That fair haired chap who used to work on the furnishing material dept;  I saw recently in another shop. Can't remember which one though. Could ask him if I do see him again.
The stall in the market was run by Martin Taylor. He was a fireman. Traded as Record Retaylor. Second hand, but did sell new records on budget labels such as Contour. They were on his spinning racks. No printed bags. Just his large price sticker with the trading name. I have one 'somewhere'.
I went out a few times with the daughter of the next stall who sold toys. But her mother who I thought was a nice person was actually two-faced, and said that I was only interested in her daughter as she had a car.  I digress....
....In 1973, for a duration I worked on Martin's stall on Saturdays. He offered me full time @ 18 per week, which is what I was earning with a landscape gardening firm who had a contract with the MOD.  I turned his offer down, as although Saturday was busy, I knew weekdays was boring. Singles 25p, LPs usually 1.25. Now 'collector's' goings-on then!  He had a few copies of current albums like Bowie's  Pin-Ups, as they were being nicked up the road, from Millets I think. Do you remember, it was on their first floor, trading as Record Fayre. Maybe they were subletting? Inferior pressings of Elton John ,etc, pressed in Portugal, a bit cheaper than UK issues from the other shops.  And bootleg records by the suchlikes of Dylan and Hendrix (Joker label, etc). In fact, HMV also sold Joker label = Italian bootlegs! 
Silly question - do you have anything at all from the Led Zep appearance?? Even something from any other artist that appeared there? Photo/ ticket stub / ash tray (getting desperate here).
Peter Rice


11 Feb 2009


Can't remember if it was the Co-op. It was a long time ago. If it was on the left side of the arcade as you entered from it to High St, it must have been.

Used to like the girl who ran the record dept downstairs though. We used to visit the market stall on Saturdays- some of my crowd used to try & find rare soul singles there. Very occasionally did, as well. Last album I got there was The Faces 'Long Player'. Moved to London in 1972, so  wouldn't remember any of the later stuff.

I worked in the record promotion industry from 1973 until the early 80's and have thrown away more collectable stuff that I care to think of, I expect.  Last visited Exeter in autumn and was pleased to find a record shop in Fore St selling new heavy grade vinyl copies of the soul stuff I'd bought in the 60's. Deja vu... except they were 32/11d then, not 14.

Even remember buying a Top Six 6-track single/EP from Woolworths Exeter. Had a version of 'Tell Me When' on it along with five other not bad covers, too. No pic bag, but plain red sleeve.
And somewhere in a box is a signed Stones programme (with Brian Jones, too) from that Odeon gig. Haven't seen it for 30+ years, but apparently it's never been thrown away. I also have a Marianne Faithfull autograph according to a diary of the time, donated as she came out of The Hole In The Wall which used to be up by the castle. Can't find it, though.

No, I have nothing of the Zeppelin gig (I don't remember anything worth grabbing), but clearly remember drinking Newcastle Brown bought at the trestle table bar at the Civic Hall and as I said, it was a cold old barn. I found a reference to the gig and the yokels scrapping that night by Mick Farren -the  Deviants were also on the bill - which David from Exeter Memories linked to.   It's still on his site. Along with my story about the Stones Odeon gig.

Funnily enough, you have a St Lukes poster with the Small Faces and Jim's Inn on with a question mark. No,  I can't remember them either, but some members of Jim's Inn have resurfaced on the Exeter Memories forum looking for stories of Exeter's music scene back then.

Mind you, I did recently find my membership card for The Pop-Inn on Paul St.

Keep your pages going - I'm amazed to see those old record bags, particularly the Left Bank one. They were the only shop that would actually take back an album after a few days on the basis that 'I didn't like it when I got it home'. That's customer service. 

Best wishes

Paul Stephens


3 March 09

Dear Paul,
I have just added a couple more things to the site, and have included your emails.
Can you send a copy of the membership card and some info on 'Pop-Inn' that I can use.
A Steve Madison, who I have not seen for 30+ years, and from whom I bought a Lambretta SX 150 and subsequently wrecked, worked in the Hole In The Wall in the early 70s. I remember him telling me that he had to take a meal across to the ABC Cinema for Stevie Wonder, who thanked him.
'Young trainee soldiers from Wyvern Barracks ('Sqauddies' they were locally referred to as) used to drink in the White Lion in Mary Archers Street, and the Hole In The Wall.  One Saturday afternoon I bought a Budgie Jacket in Harry Fentons (top of South Street, currently a cafe) and wore it that night. I walked into to the Hole In The Wall, and a squaddie stood up and asked where I had bought my jacket. "Harry Fentins" I proudly replied. "Well take it back, it's crap" he retorted.  Nothing further was said..
The record bags and covers have come my way by chance when looking through records people are selling. Most people would generally dismiss artifacts such as this, but when they see that someone has actually bothered to accumulate a theme, all of a sudden it has a meaning, so thus became aware of similar. This is good, as every day there are things being thrown away that is of interest to others.
1960s Rolling Stones signatures appear to be on the up after so long being of moderate value in comparison to the Beatles, so keep hunting for them!
Best wishes,


4 March 09 


I used to have a red/white SX150 in 1967  - KFX 100F. Chrome crash bars at front, little windscreen, chrome rack at the back and some of those chrome fairings down the side panels. It spent some time outside the Clock Tower cafe in the late 60's.
I still have the accessory leaflets with prices and some other stuff about Lambrettas from the period. I'll dig it out.

Harry Fentons, (if it's at the very top end of that 60's  bit of South St that backs on to Cathedral Close with the walkway through), I think used to have another name in the 60's. Chap called Jon Richards used to work there. Top local mod in his day.

The Pop-Inn (although somebody reckons it was actually the Look-Inn...) membership card is a very boring little item and is in a box in Exeter, so inaccessible until my next visit.  I'll clarify the name then...
It was, as far as I remember, used to be at the top of Paul Street opposite the old Bus Station and is obviously long gone. I remember it being at small white building, possibly single storey, that had been set up as a sort of teenager's club. I believe it was open in the daytime or Sunday afternoons. Think it was alcohol-free.  Funny old place.

Pleased to see the new bit about Ken Spray's shop. Still remember the pale yellow pegboard on the wall.  My late father was a friend and colleague of his, as they used to play in local dance bands. In the late 50's he would often come home with a paper bag with a few singles in from the shop. That's how I got copies of Jerry Lee Lewis, Everly Brothers and Little Richard singles (Kansas City on London). I never knew if it was my father, or Ken who chose them so perhaps he wasn't always into C&W.
I do know that Ken recommended Uh-Oh (pts 1&2) by The Nutty Squirrels on Pye (Nixa?) as a kid's favourite. It turned up in a film soundtrack some years ago. Still play it, but only have an mp3 these days.

Somebody has just posted two pictures of Moons on Exeter Memories, by strange coincidence.


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