If you are going to name a record shop, taking the Jesus & Mary Chain's debut single's title as your store's appellation is not a bad way to go. That's exactly what Philippe of Upside Down Records has done.
Opening back in November 2023, Upside Down is a treasure trove of vinyl and fully serviced second-hand Hi-Fi equipment and DJ gear. Just don't ask them for pie and mash...(the shop initially still had a sign for traditional pie & mash in its window and at least one person seems aggrieved they couldn't serve them).
I've made two trips so far, and they have a great, and ever changing, selection of good quality pre-loved vinyl. On my first trip, I picked up Peggy Suicide by Julian Cope and New York by Lou Reed. Both are in excellent condition and play perfectly. My copy of the former disappeared during a house move in 2005, along with all my remaining vinyl and I have wanted it back in my collection for ages. Safesurfer, Beautiful Love, Pristeen...it's a great record and the last I really loved by Julian, his later stuff is just too out there for me.
New York was one of those albums I never got around to buying. Lou's music has really grown on me in recent years, whereas previously I was pretty ambivalent to his songs. Last Great American Whale (which I saw him play at a concert Nelson Mandela's release and first visit to London) is still stunning.
My second trip a week later was equally successful. Before Xmas, I watched the Wham! documentary on Netflix, which is superb. I had also watched a couple of documentaries about George Michael. I failed Whamageddon early in December thanks to one of those irritating cycle rickshaws that seem to be everywhere on central London's streets. He was blasting Last Christmas out of huge speakers, precariously balanced on his contraption. Bastard.
I hated Wham! as a teenager, but in later life can appreciate the genius pop music George (and to a lesser extent Andrew) made. George's solo albums are impressive and on this visit I picked up Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 (was there ever a more pretentious album title?). Whilst the album title leaves something to be desired, and George's wish to be anonymous seems quite odd now, the album is chockerful of great songs. Praying For Time is luscious and massive. A grown up song from an "artist" rather than a "pop star".
There are pop songs (Freedom '90 is one of his best), but there are well chosen covers like Stevie Wonders' They Won't Go When I Go, the languid jazzy lollop of Cowboys And Angels and the Stonesey strum of Waiting For That Day. It's his finest moment and Sunday morning it soundtracks me and Mrs JO'B's chilled breakfast. Probably not the accolade he was looking for but it's a big deal here at Back In Black(heath) HQ.
I also picked up a copy of Ooh La La by Faces, Rod Stewart's band of rogues formed with the remaining Small Faces and Ronnie Wood back in 1969. I have loved Faces for years, but other than a compilation, I have never got round to picking up their albums. I have several of Rod's solo records - those early records are genius, a fact overshadowed by his wild and glamorous, super-model shenanigans.
I particularly wanted this as I heard Glad And Sorry recently on an episode of Minx. In my ignorance, I had always assumed the title track was sung by Ronnie Lane, but now realise it's Ronnie Wood - Glad And Sorry has Mr Lane's rather beautiful understated vocals, supported by Messrs Wood and McLagan. It baffles me how Rod missed out on both these songs, now my favourites from Faces' back catalogue.
Again, whilst the cover is a bit battered with age, the record plays perfectly and will be played with much love again for the next few years.
I'll wait until pay day for the next trip to Deptford, but it's heartwarming to see another record shop open on my doorstep and with such clear love for the music they are selling. I'll have to head to Goddard's in Greenwich though to get that elusive pie'n'mash...
Upside Down is at 203 Deptford High Street (SE8 3NT) and their website is www.upsidedownrecords.co.uk.
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