Music mad family launch new record store

Relocating their record shop ' Just the Sound' from South Shields to Newbottle Street, Houghton are l-r James Smith and parents Susan and Stewart.
Relocating their record shop ' Just the Sound' from South Shields to Newbottle Street, Houghton are l-r James Smith and parents Susan and Stewart.
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A RECORD shop is charting a new start thanks to the music-mad family behind the business.

James Smith and his parents Susan and Stewart have launched Just the Sound a short distance away from their Houghton home.

While high street music chains such as HMV are struggling, vinyl is having a revival as a format – a big boost for independent retailers.

The Smiths have run Just the Sound in Westoe Road, South Shields, for three years but have now moved it closer to home.

It deals in vinyl, CDs, music DVDs and music-related books and memorabilia.

Items are bought, sold and exchanged by the store, with prices ranging from £1 up to £150-plus for rare copies.

James, 32, runs it in addition to his job at the petrol station at the Gilesgate branch of Tesco.

His 65-year-old dad Stewart also has a job as a psychiatric nurse, with 53-year-old Susan enjoying manning the store in a building better-suited to the record trade than its former South Tyneside base.

James’s passion for collecting began as a schoolboy at Dubmire Primary School. His first record was a seven-inch single by AC/DC.

His most prized vinyl is a Portuguese edition of Powerage, the band’s 1978 album, which features different coloured lettering to that on copies released elsewhere.

James owns 40,000 records, with his childhood spend scouring the racks of the Paul Jones record and video shop in the village.

He said: “I used to pass the shop every day, and I became diabetic when I was four or five, so while others were spending their money on sweets, I was buying records.

“My friend who lived a few doors down liked Queen and I liked AC/DC, so we got each other into those bands.

“I always used to go round flea markets as a boy, looking for records, and I know most of the record shops in the North East.”

While James and Stewart are both devotees of AC/DC, and Susan follows bands including Megadeath, their shop in Newbottle Street features music from all genres.

That includes Mákina, a form of techno which originates in Spain and has built up a cult following in the North East.

James added: “We’ve got a lot of customers from South Shields who have already been in, and lots of new people have been coming in. It’s been excellent so far.

“I’m 32 and I’ve never known a second-hand record store shop in the town in my life. There’s only been Paul Jones and Woolies, which sold new records.”

The shop, which also runs an online site, is open from Tuesday to Saturday.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham