THE HOME OF SHINY VINYL

An Ebay member since 1999, I have been selling vinyl for 16 years and have collected vinyl for 56 years - buy with confidence from my two stores at the links below.

You will find over 30,000 records to browse (including CD's and even cassettes!), and also (at Ebay only)  music related items such as posters, magazines, fridge magnets, patches, coasters, keyrings and lots more!

About 2,000 items in my Ebay store, lots of vinyl plus music related gift items such as vintage magazines, fridge magnets, coasters, keyrings, patches, posters etc.

About 27,000 vinyl records in my Discogs store, both 7" singles and LP's, and quite a few cassettes & CD's

Contact me for a swift reply, e.g. if you are looking for something I am not showing in stock, I have lots of back stock not yet listed in my stores, or if you want more information about any record.

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BLITZKRIEG BOP - Live 77 & Beyond
limited edition 28 track CD for sale
on my own Opportunes label - limited to 300 copies, only £3.99 - original 1977 punk - remastered
live tracks.

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BASCZAX - Music From The Post Punk
Dystopia 1979-80 limited edition 16 track CD on my own Opportunes label - limited to 500 copies, only £3.99 - remastered studio tracks.

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FAST CAKES (former Blitzkrieg Bop & Basczax member's solo name) - When You Die You Dream Forever limited edition 13 track CD, limited to 500 copies, only £2.99

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FAST CAKES - Liveyoungdiefast (debut 2012 album) limited edition 13 track CD, limited to 1000 copies, only £2.99

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A while back here I decided to work out my least favourite Beatles songs. This was a tricky job as I regards the Fab Four as the best band that ever existed, or will ever exist. So, I decided to look at the other end of the telescope, and list my top ten favourite songs - after about 30 seconds it became clear that choosing only ten would be impossible, I had twelve jotted down without thinking - so I expanded it to twenty. Now, I have my personal favourites, but I have found over the years that certain "classic" songs have been "all played out", that is to say, despite their obvious qualities, and universal approval, I really don't need to hear them again. I have written about this in an earlier post "here".

Listed below are songs that I have yet to grow tired of. Of course this may happen in the future, but for the moment, all the songs listed still give me something fresh when listened to today.

Examples of classic songs that didn't make my list are "Strawberry Fields Forever", "A Day In The Life" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" to name but three.

Without making it a hard and fast rule, I was reluctant to include any of the many "cover" versions that the band released, and as it turned out, all 20 of my choices are band-composed.

There's no way I could rank them 1 to 20 either, so I present them in alphabetical order, and for this exercise, they are "all" equally my favourites.

BABY YOU'RE A RICH MAN

There's something about that wiggly synth-like instrument squeaking away throughout the song that gets me every time. DON'T LET ME DOWN

The recent "Get Back" series has confirmed to me that this passionate rocker has a special place in my heart, not least for the killer piano part from Billy Preston.

HELLO GOODBYE

I am a sucker for a clean, bright production and arrangement (being an amateur producer and arranger myself), and this chunk of pure pop is cleaner than a soap factory floor.

HERE COMES THE SUN

The most popular Beatles tune according to Spotify, and I have considered it "all played out" in the past, but man, it's just brilliant.

HEY BULLDOG

Some might consider this an odd choice, but it may be because it is slightly under the radar that it still sounds fresh.

I AM THE WALRUS

After I had finished this article I realised I had missed out "Walrus", which meant that I had to make a choice to take out another one. After much chin scratching, I reluctantly gave "Get Back" the hook.

IN MY LIFE

Just a genius song from so early in their career, a perfect couple of minutes, made even more perfect (?) by George Martin's solo.

LET IT BE

A modern hymn, I have chosen this over something like "Hey Jude" as, blasphemous as it is to admit, I have grown a little weary of the ten minute fade out on Jude.

LONG AND WINDING ROAD

This song has endured partly because of the freshness of the stripped-down "original" version from "Let It Be-Naked", and Paul's voice is just honey on velvet.

NOWHERE MAN

Another song I have always loved, given a boost with the "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" remix which brings out the magical vocal intro and toppy guitar solo even more than the original.

PAPERBACK WRITER

I see this song dismissed regularly, which baffles me, it has a killer guitar riff and revolutionary vocal harmonies.

PENNY LANE

Similar to Hello Goodbye, I love this for it's shimmering production.

RAIN

Would have loved to have seen this included on Revolver, I can certainly live without "Here There And Everywhere" which is in my "least favourite" list.

REVOLUTION

I'm talking about the single "heavy" version, I have grown to like the slower album cut after the Giles Martin remix of "The Beatles", but the heavy version kicks serious butt.

SHE'S A WOMAN

A slightly odd choice I get but this was one of the early songs that really got me into the band, I love it's manic choppy guitar riff, way ahead of its time.

SOMETHING

Come on, who in the world doesn't like this? Over the years it has matured like a fine wine.

TAXMAN

George makes another appearance, such an original song with great lyrics.

TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS

In 1966 this sounded like music from another planet, today it still sounds like music from the future.

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS

Glad that Ringo makes an appearance, to be honest "Octopus's Garden" is bubbling under also. See what I did there?

YOU NEVER GIVE ME YOUR MONEY

To be honest side 2 of Abbey Road is all killer/no filler, with this gem sparkling in the middle.

So, there's 20 brilliant Beatle tunes, I thought about making a playlist on Spotify, but there's a chance they would become "all played out", so I'll catch them when I catch them, still sounding fresh.

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There have been hundreds (thousands?) of books written about The Beatles over the decades, and there appears to be no sign of the publication of new tomes slowing down any time soon.

I must confess I have not read anywhere near all of them, but I do have a fair few on my bookshelf, maybe about sixty all told, including books about the solo Beatles.

So here in ascending order, are my top six books about the Fab Four:


6. GET BACK - The Beatles Let It Be Disaster (Helter Skelter Publishing 1997) by Doug Sulphy & Ray Schweighardt. Not to be confused with the recent spate of "Get Back" related books, this 25 year old book lays out in forensic detail the sessions in January 1969 that resulted in the "Let It Be" album/film/rooftop concert, with an almost minute by minute account of proceedings, making it an invaluable reference for this period in the bands history. The book goes along with the then accepted narrative that the sessions were a miserable experience for all involved, reinforced by the now infamous picture of the band (+Yoko) sat looking dejected and bored listening back to a performance in the studio.

This angle has been somewhat usurped by Peter Jackson's almost breezy presentation of the same events, but despite this, the book is essential reading for any fan who wants a rounded account of the "Get Back" sessions.


5. THE BEATLE WHO VANISHED (Rock & Roll Detective Publishing 2013) by Jim Berkenstadt.

I picked this up cut-price at "The Works" book store, and had pretty low expectations. On the surface it looked to be one of those "cash-in" type books, focussing on a very brief chapter in the Beatles story, namely the two weeks (actually one day short of that) where jobbing drummer Jimmie Nicol found himself thrust into a whirlwind of fame when he deputised for a sick Ringo on part of their 1964 international tour. However, the book's scope is cast a lot wider, it aims to tell the reader what happened before his "15 minutes" of fame, and, more importantly, what happened afterwards, when the madness of touring with the band ended suddenly, and he was left to deal with the aftermath, and how he made sense of his life going forward. It turns into a detective story, with the author following leads, some of them going cold, as Nicol increasingly becomes a reclusive figure. It's a fascinating read.


4. THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY (Apple/Cassell & Co 2000) by The Beatles.

This is an obvious choice, it has the advantage of being told by the Beatles themselves, so one expects the narrative to be at least factually accurate, with, one assumes, many of the myths surrounding the well trodden story to be debunked and corrected as we go along. This view has been questioned by some, who point out that each band member frequently recalls the same incidents differently, leaving the reader occasionally perplexed as to what exactly happened. This is a minor point, and to have this substantial book in all it's glory is an essential addition to any fan's collection.


3. THE COMPLETE BEATLES RECORDING SESSIONS (Octopus Books 1988 (updated 2018)) by Mark Lewisohn.

There are various books that attempt to document aspects of the bands career, whether it be live gigs, films, lyrics etc. - but it is the time spent in the hot house of the recording studio that attracts the most attention. The band recorded most (thought not all) of their historic, magical music at Abbey Road (aka EMI) Studios in London, and Mark Lewisohn was certainly the right person for the job. It's a perfect book for dipping into and you soon become engrossed in the minutia of the recording process, particularly the ever increasing sophistication of the techniques used by the band alongside George Martin to create the music.


2. REVOLUTION IN THE HEAD (Vintage 1995 (updated 2005)) by Ian MacDonald.

This is many fans favourite book on The Beatles, and it's easy to see why. The Daily Telegraph noted: "MacDonalds analyses of the Fab Four's output, mixing anecdote with serious scholarship", and The Independent stated: "A pinnacle of popular musical criticism".

The author seamlessly blends facts with sometimes brutal criticism giving food for thought for the reader. There is no fawning, but it's clear that Macdonald was a huge fan (he passed in 2003), and where he feels it is deserved, he heaps praise, but he also points out where they could have done better.

The book starts with several essays on the general theme of the sixties, and The Beatles place in the wider world of music, politics and popular culture, these are a little hyperbolic, but the meat of the book is the 338 pages devoted to a chronological run through all the songs, and that is what makes this book essential reading.


1. ALL THESE YEARS VOL.1 - THE BEATLES TUNE-IN (Little Brown Book Co. 2013) by Mark Lewisohn.

Mark Lewisohn decided that there should be a "definitive" history of The Beatles, and who better to create one? Even though there's only been part one of a trilogy published so far (the latest release date for Vol.2 is 2023 - possibly) it is clear from the first volume that this is a serious book, that surely will become the supreme reference work about the band.

The first volume only takes the story up to the end of 1962, and goes into painstaking detail about every aspect of John, Paul, George and Ringo's history (and pre-history) going back several generations to put into context the kind of community in which the boys grew up. Obviously all the other characters in the story are given substantial space as well.

Many anecdotes that have been included in the many book that have gone before are one by one dismissed as half-truths and downright fiction, as the author attempts to correct the narrative once and for all.

There is even an expanded box set that offers TWO hardback volumes in a slipcase - it is this that I would advise you seek out, even though the price at the time of writing was around £85 - it is worth ever penny.



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While the major topic of conversation in recent weeks has been if the Covid pandemic has peaked, another phenomenon of recent times is also coming under scrutiny, namely, has the vinyl revival peaked?

Looking at the raw figures, it looks like the demand for vinyl is still on the up, according to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), sales in 2021 rose above 5 million, up 8% from 2020, and the 14th year in a row that sales have increased.

But I have detected signs that there may be trouble ahead. Demand from record labels on pressing plants mean that lead time on delivery can be up to 12 months at the moment, led by major labels block booking large quantities of their "prestige" new releases, and in doing so, squeezing out many smaller labels, who traditionally request smaller runs of around 1000 copies per title - the temptation for pressing plants to please major labels, giving them priority is understandable - as they said in Spinal Tap: Money talks, and bullshit walks.


But I understand that this strategy is revealing worrying trends in the market. I have heard from an insider that Parlophone pressed up 90,000 copies of the recently released Coldplay album "Music Of The Spheres", and that a mere 3000 have been sold to the public, with the rest gathering dust. The precious capacity of the pressing plant seems to have been used up on a title that had limited appeal to the vinyl buying public.

Coldpay are not alone, up to half a million copies of Adele's "30" are filling the racks and warehouses up and down the land, which will surely result in future new releases being scaled back to more realistic levels.

I of course rely on sales on "new sealed" vinyl to keep sales at Vinylshrine ticking over - but the vast majority of my sales are for so-called classic albums from the likes of Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Jethro Tull, The Doors and David Bowie, and budget repackaged titles from labels such as Not Now Music featuring legendary jazz, blues and R&B artists.

My prediction for 2022 and beyond is that due to fast rising costs, the retail prices of vinyl LP's will increase dramatically which will result in more cautious sales - I am hoping that major labels will ease back on their quantities, thus freeing up capacity at the pressing plants and making life easier for everyone.

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NO WAY - Live @ The Beeb - limited edition 23 track CD for sale on my own Opportunes label - limited to 500 copies, only £4.99 (This CD features 11 bonus tracks exclusive to this release)