Featured Store: Vinyl Tap

Taken from the book ‘The Vinyl Revival and the Shops That Made it Happen’

Vinyl Tap is located opposite Huddersfield train station. The shop had long been off the media’s radar, but that all changed on the day before Record Store Day in 2017, when Lauren Laverne broadcast her BBC 6 Music radio show live from the shop.

Vinyl Tap was started on a Huddersfield market by Elliot Smaje who now sells second-hand vinyl in the basement of Crash Records in Leeds. The current owner of Vinyl Tap, Tony Boothroyd has taken it to the next level.

Upstairs it is a traditional record shop, selling new vinyl and CDs. The department is run by charismatic duo Matt Scholey and Marc Kershaw, the Ant and Dec of music retailing. Matt pestered his way into getting the job, calling in nearly every day to check if any vacancies had cropped up since he last asked 24 hours earlier. Marc already had a background of working in record retailing, having served at the defunct System Records, which originally traded at Hebden Bridge before moving to Bradford.

The highlight of Marc’s time working at System Records was when DJ John Peel came in. He bought lots of vinyl from African artists, along with an album by a Bradford-based brass band. Marc queried the latter selection, and John pointed out that the brass band came from where his wife Shelia was born. Marc left System to help set up a new branch of Andy’s Records in Halifax.
At that time, Andy’s was the largest independent record chain in the UK, with more than 40 branches. It had been started by Andy Gray, who sold records on Felixstowe Pier in 1969. Over the years, it changed its name to suit changing trends, becoming Andy’s Records & Video and then, during the CD boom, just Andy’s.

At the start of the new millennium, like hundreds of independent shops, Andy’s began to lose money and started closing shops. Eventually they called in the receivers and the final shops were closed on September 13, 2003. These days Andy Gray owns and runs the successful Beat Goes On reissue record label.

Like many ex-staff of Andy’s, Marc has happy memories of working there. Andy Gray’s brother Billy was the marketing director, and both came down to help open the new Halifax branch. Marc recalls them creating a strong team work ethic. Marc has always been keen on introducing the public to new music. When he started there, staff could play what they wanted in-store, but as time went on things changed. A new rule came in, dictating that between 11am and 2pm they had to play chart music and later the shops were sent playlists of titles they were required to play. For Marc, who was a big fan of funk, soul and jazz music – all of which the playlist lacked – it was time to move on.

Vinyl Tap - Upstairs

Downstairs at Vinyl Tap you will find one of the largest collections of second-hand vinyl anywhere in the UK. There are more than 30,000 7-inch singles alone, along with tens of thousands of LPs and dozens of collectable albums. Any vinyl fan could spend hours in the shop’s £1 vinyl room. You can even get your vinyl cleanedhere.The department is run by long-serving staff member JP. At the far end of the department is a full-size stage and the shop has put on free gigs featuring Hooton Tennis Club, Razorlight and many more.

Vinyl Tap has an impressive website where you can listen to all the new music the shop recommends. One thing the boys regret is creating such an iconic logo – a giant tap with vinyl records pouring out of it – for the shop’s signage. They have lost count of the number of people who have come in, walked past thousands of records, and asked for bathroom taps, kitchen taps or for plumbing to be done. Still not as bad, perhaps, as the person who came in and enquired “By any chance, do you stock records?”

Marc remembers the massive sale that never happened, back when he was working at System. One day near closing time a bunch of well-dressed, middle-aged men came in and started picking lots of stock out of the racks. One of them approached Marc at the counter and said, “You have got some cracking stuff here. Would you mind staying open a bit later and I will go and get a van?” Marc immediately asked the rest of the staff if they would work a bit longer, as they were expecting a mega-sale. These guys were going to buy so much that they needed a van to take it away. Ten minutes later, the man who had gone to get the van came back. Never has a team of record shop staff been so disappointed to see an international rock star walk through the doors.

It wasn’t a motor vehicle that the man had gone to get: it was Van Morrison. the men who had been looking through the stock were Van’s band. Although the staff never got the massive order they had hoped for, Van bought a lot of records and it gave them a great comic tale to tell people down the pub.

I have a lot of time for Van Morrison, about whom tales of visits to record shops abound. Barry at Record Collector in Sheffield recalled an occasion back in the late 1970s, when Van’s record label Warner’s threw a party in a posh London wine bar to celebrate the release of one of his albums. This was in the days before Van started wearing his distinctive hat, suit and shades, and he turned up wearing an old pair of jeans, a scruffy T-shirt and a jacket with patches on the elbows. The doorman stopped him from going in. “They’re expecting me,” Van said. “Just a minute then,” said the doorman, before going into the bar and shouting: “Did anyone order a minicab?”

I asked Vinyl Tap which releases distributed by Proper they are enjoying:

Razorlight – Olympus Sleeping
Razorlight return after a 10 year hiatus with their new album ‘Olympus Sleeping’. We are lucky enough to have them performing an intimate in store show for us to see in the release which has sparked huge interest in the town showing that even after 10 years without a release they are still a hugely popular band. Hard to believe the first album is now 14 years old! Making me feel quite old but there are great memories to be had from around the time that album came out and with it we are super excited to hear what their new stuff has to offer.

Open Mike Eagle – Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes
Open Mike Eagle’s delivery and sound is absolutely unique and you can spot it a mile off after here just a few bars. A super talented hip hop artist who maybe hasn’t seen quite the level of praise he deserves as his sound clearly has influenced the likes of the absolutely huge Childish Gambino! The content of his music is great too, both analytical and political, of which more is needed in modern music. This album was released back in 2014 and has been unavailable for quite some time so I’m super excited about the upcoming reissue coming out in November.

If you would like to be Proper’s Featured Store, contact Graham Jones.

Vinyl Tap

Tel: 01484 517 720

Vinyl, CDs, Pre-owned, In-stores

Opening Times:
Monday – Saturday: 9am – 6pm
Sunday: 11am – 4pm

Established 1984

Vinyl Tap
42 John William St,
West Yorkshire,