Mark Crozer & The Rels,
The TVD First Date and Vinyl Giveaway

“One of my earliest childhood memories is of sitting cross-legged on the floor of my family home in East Oxford riffling through a pile of seven-inch singles. They were mostly my mum’s and were eighty percent Beatles though there were others that I remember quite clearly too: “The Ying Tong Song” b/w “I’m Walking Backwards For Christmas” by The Goons, “Out and About” by Mike Sarne, “Ferry Cross The Mersey” by Gerry and The Pacemakers, “The Last Time” by The Rolling Stones… This was my earliest musical education.”

“It was the mid 1970s. I don’t think I was really aware of anything contemporary until I started to watch Top Of The Pops a few years later. But by then I was well and truly hooked on The Beatles and nothing would ever knock them from their position at the toppermost of the poppermost. I would sit for hours loading up my mum’s Dansette record player with a stack of singles and I played them until I wore them out. “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Day Tripper,” “I Feel Fine,” “She Loves You.” I knew The Beatles singles career long before I was aware of their LPs.

I loved the feel of vinyl in my clammy fingers. The smell of the ten-year old generic Parlophone paper sleeve. The weird adverts for Morphy Richards hairdryers that were often printed on them. I loved the crackle at the start of each record and as I grew to know the songs inside out so I came to know the cracks and pops too. To me they were part of the experience.

Later in my teen years I got into LPs and Abbey Road became my favourite record. The opening song on side two—”Here Comes The Sun,” of course—soon developed a wicked scratch but it didn’t bother me. Later still when I bought my first CD copy I missed that scratch. Vinyl is a far more personal listening experience. A CD or an mp3 will only ever be what it starts out as. It will never develop a personality like a record will.

I’m lucky that my formative listening years took place in the late seventies and early eighties. It was a time when in Oxford alone—a city of fewer than ninety thousand inhabitants—there were dozens of places to buy records. They were everywhere. WHSmith, Woolworths, Blackwells, Russell Acott the music instrument store, even Boots The Chemist had a comprehensive record section.

Within a ten minute walk from each other there were three branches of Our Price Records. I would later work at all three. And of course there were numerous second-hand record shops. So many that the only one whose name I can still recall is Manic Hedgehog. I would spend Saturday afternoons flipping through rack after rack of records, often buying something purely because I liked the sleeve. I bought a Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” picture disc at Manic Hedgehog.

Record shops were an essential part of the music scene in Oxford in the late eighties, though their days were already numbered even back then as the compact disc began to tighten its grip. Our Price Records was a particularly fertile place for local musicians. Steve Queralt of Ride and Colin Greenwood of Radiohead both worked there around the time I was an employee. As did Ronan Munro who has been running the local music zine Curfew (now Nightshift) for close to thirty years.

I can’t imagine where else you could work and actively listen to music all day. I loved working in a record store. I discovered so much great music in the short time I worked at Our Price. Label reps would come in all the time and talk about upcoming new releases so you’d always know what was going on. It’s still the best job I’ve ever had.

I’m excited that vinyl is becoming popular again because in the years when it went underground its presence was greatly missed. The lowest point was about fifteen years ago when it seemed that vinyl records were totally obsolete. So much so that I left two heavy boxes of records at a charity shop in Vancouver because I was tired of hauling them around every time I moved when I had nothing to play them on. I regret that now as my record collection was a perfect snapshot of my life at the time.

I’m thrilled that my latest record is out on vinyl as it feels like a proper record release. I’ve waited almost thirty years for this!”
Mark Crozer

Mark Crozer and The Rels’ Sunny Side Down arrives in stores via Planting Seeds Records on April 28, 2017—on vinyl.

Enter to win a vinyl copy of Sunny Side Down by citing in the comments below your favorite record shop, back then or now, and briefly why. We’ll choose one enthusiastic winner with a North American mailing address a week from today, April 28, 2017.

Mark Crozer and The Rels Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • davecromwell

    My favorite record shop back in the day was a mid-sized chain called Sam Goody. They had a number of stores in the New York-New Jersey area (where I grew up) and that’s where I got most of my albums. I agree that the feel of the vinyl and the packaging that came with these albums created a sensation that has been lost with digital media today. I used to clip coupons off of the album sleeves to buy other albums. That’s how I came to acquire weird and wonderful stuff like Captain Beefheart, The GTO’s and Wild Man Fischer! I still have so many of them in boxes and crates. I’m glad I have a house in the NY metro area, where I can keep these albums safe and sound.

  • Ron Repko

    In my youth we had a small indie record store tucked behind the main drag out of the way from the beat and path. Just the name of the store alone was cool…”Electric Smiles”! Inside I remember all the cool picture discs on display like art work and the store mascot…A large bulldog I believe was always by the door greeting you when you came in and hung around you casually while you browsed the bins. I have a similar indie record store in the same town that is very reminicent of that old record store from the past. It too is off the beat and path tucked away in a corner. It doesn’t have a dog at the door to greet you, but a cool cat named Martin!

  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text