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Monday, 24 November 2008

Badly named shop comes good

If you know me personally, well enough for me to be buying you a Christmas present, then there's a good chance that you'll be getting a record of some sort from me this year. The reason for that is the newly revamped vinyl section in Zavvi, in the basement of the branch on the corner of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.

I wasn't alone in treating this rebranded Virgin Megastore with suspicion when it first opened, but recently I stumbled upon their record racks, and since then they've taken more than a few pounds from me.

Not only does it have all the new vinyl releases (TV On The Radio, Fleet Foxes, Kings Of Leon, Arctic Monkeys boxsets etc), it also gets the reissues in, such as all the Metallica vinyls, The Band's recent re-pressing of Music From Big Pink and the Universal Music series of re-releases called Back To Black, where they've brought out a lot of their classic rock albums on LP.

In addition though, the soul/jazz/funk selection is pretty darned good - they've got the long-awaited reissue of the Rodriguez album for £7 (see my notes for September's recommended songs here) and also the newly reissued Baby Huey album, also for £7, who I've blogged about before, here. And if you're missing some classic soul albums, such as Stevie Wonder's Innervisions, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On or Bobby Womack's soundtrack to the movie Across 110th Street, then you can pick them all up here for under a tenner.

Maybe the one thing that sets Zavvi's vinyl racks apart from the rest is the presence of some ordinary cardboard boxes on the floor with dozens of LPs in for £2 each. No, it's not quite the gold mine you'd wish for, and there are many records in there that you couldn't pay me to take home, but it's still fun to flick through and I've bagged some dubious titles such as a David Lee Roth record and the soundtracks to the 80s films Dudes and Footloose.

Now don't get me wrong - if you're buying vinyl then you've got to keep your small independent stores alive as well (which I can honestly say I do my bit towards), but if you fancy browsing around a central London record shop with nobody else hassling you (it seems that I'm the only customer every time I've been), then Zavvi's definitely worth a try.

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