Cob Records | Just for the record

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Cob Records shop
Audrey Hepburn

There are some things that are reassuring. Take autumnal mornings for instance; a freshness in the air, mist floating over the fields punctuated by the shadows of the hedgerows and trees, the emergence of yellow and orange and red hues.

An enthralling backdrop as I roll out the Bonnie for an early morning ride, again that reassurance, the engine burbles into the enduring sound only a twin cylinder can deliver as it vibrates into life.

The reassurance of the Rukka jacket to keep the chilled air at bay, the AGV snuggly fitted along with the Alpinestars gauntlets.

All have seen better days, but they are still here, still functioning. The reassuring feel as you drop into first gear and head out on the twisting asphalt that sees the early morning sun and the waning moon dance from one side to the other as you plunge into the mist and occasional fog. Reassuring this time of year, unlike the capricious nature of the other seasons.

Where is this trip taking me, well 'Me, Mike and the Vinyl' spent a couple of hours recently at Cob Records during the unusually Indian summer weather experienced at the end of September at Porthmadog.

How reassuring is this record emporium, standing the test of time and still selling vinyl, recycled and new pressings, and some classic quality cuts there are too?

Cob Records has a well-documented history, reassuringly beginning in the sixties, 1967, selling ex-juke box singles and a living history reflective of the music industry highs and lows.

Firmly on the front line, you can feel it, smell it, really sense the warmth of a well respected 'institution'. Back in those days, LPs were only 32/6d. (for our younger audience this is 32 shillings and 6 pennies — go google!) equivalent to £1.62.

And back in those days they were still not affordable to many, so Cob Records offered a service of "any 3 of your old LPs for any 1 new of ours" and before long Cob had a large selection of used LPs.

The model was built inadvertently; true music enthusiasts were catering for true music enthusiasts through thick and thin, still there, still doing it, reassuring.

In real recognition, and very much the FatPigeon Live philosophy, the music spans the generations, forwards and backwards, sharing and learning across the generations, never to young or old for that.

Cob's staff reflect that ethos: it's for all ages and tastes, sharing the knowledge builds a top record shop, as the man at Cob say's "the main ingredient has to be knowledgeable staff, followed by carrying quality stocks and without the former, you don't have the latter;"

Just like the UK music industry in 1971 Cob Records business was booming, shifting around 7,500 LPs a week to some 25,000 customers in over 50 countries and employing about 25 staff.

As it was in that decade, the fame blossomed in the glow of all the media attention, many documentaries featuring the business were made for local and national television and radio.

This was the phenomena that such a relatively small record shop in a small town like Porthmadog was exporting in such volume to countries worldwide.

The UK and Cob were at the forefront of the music revolution on a global scale- a prosperous UK music scene, innovation and quality thriving well into the 80's.

What is reassuring is the fact that this gem of a record shop is still thriving in the face of global challenges, the music industry and availability of music, the resurgence in new vinyl pressings and the warmth of true music aficionados, and not just at the mature end of the customer scale.

Though there is not the volume today, there is an undefined quality in being a niche business these days, one that can recall the early days, revel in the glory days and reinvent itself to carry itself forward.

So, only right that we, Mike and myself, had a 'Me, Mike & The Vinyl' session at our country abode for the weekend at Abererch, just on the Criccieth side of Pwllheli, wind up the deck, sit back and revel.

'Me, Mike & The Vinyl' Sunday Mornings........coming soon.

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