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The chain of record shops referred to as Andy's Records all started in the 60's, when one Mr. Andrew Gray set up his own stall on the market of sleepy Bury St Edmunds, a town in the heart of west Suffolk, where nothing much ever happens, but that's another story. Now, back to Mr Gray, yes he set up his stall and soon he was doing so well flogging his vinyl discs to the hippy generation that he opened his own shop, then another, then another. Soon his shops were spread far across the land, and Andy was happy, for what he had brought with him was a chain of independent record shops that had not sold out and that prided themselves on their friendly and knowledgeable staff. But as the chain grew the basic principles of Andy Gray were lost, and this leads us to the present day.
I have not been in too many of the Andy's chain because I find that the other, bigger stores, such as HMV and Virgin are far better. The two that I have been in the most are the ones in Bury and Cambridge, and I write my review mainly based on my experiences in them, so if all the others are wicked and I'm missing out please let me know.
Both the Andy's stores I have been in are quite small, they have the usual chart displays and often have quite a lot of space allocated to their special offers, such as 3 CD's for £20 etc.. Generally I have found that it is always the same CD's in all the offers, so once you've taken advantage of it once you probably won't again. The rest of the CD back catalogue is kept in their 'quirky' manner of filing by the artist?s first name. I don't know anywhere else that does this and I have had problems with it, what with me being a bit 'special' in the head department and all. Anyway, their back stock range is generally quite good and they seem to have quite a lot of imports so you can pick up some rarities if that's your thang. You can also listen before you buy on one of their listening posts, so you know exactly what you are getting. The prices are generally quite steep and most of the common cd's can be picked up cheaper nearly anywhere, so it's only for you music addicts out there.
Onto the main department, well in my view anyway, the vinyl, what did you expect? It is a record shop. Well you wouldn't have guessed it from their vinyl range. To be fair they do get quite a few good imports and promos, but if it's general releases your after then hard cheese. If it came out on Monday I would bet they would not have it. This is a major flaw and has put me off Andy's for good. Also, the new releases, if they do somehow have them, are ridiculously over priced, sometimes double what you would pay in HMV, another major downside. AND, there always seems to be some fool on the one listening deck with a massive pile of records, all of which they just have to listen to from start to finish, and the b-sides, and then practice for the DMC scratch championships, or maybe practice adjusting the pitch or their imaginary mix, oh yeah that's me. Mmmm...
So, maybe they could make up for their lack of new records with great staff. Sadly this does not seem to be the case. There never seems to be enough people serving and you nearly always need to wait a few minutes. Also in my experience they are all rather special when it comes to finding records. I've lost track of the amount of times I've waited the obligatory few minutes, handed over the sleeves, waited another 5-10 minutes, only for them to come back and report that they are having a little trouble finding the record and maybe they might of sold it. What? Without the sleeve??? I ask you, I just don't know how they do it.
So, overall I would say that Andy's records leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it's the only record shop for miles around, like in Bury. The vinyl section needs a re-think and the staff need some training on how not to lose 12" of black plastic, I ask you, you'd think in this day and age...
that's a good review and I would have (despite the fact my experience with them is different) rated it VH apart from the fact you didn't fill in the last part regarding the questions.
moose 07.12.2001 13:42
I didn't know they came from Suffolk!!! Yep, I can confirm that nothing much happens around here (I originate from Suffolk)!!! I tend to prefer online music retailers as the high street ones are either too expensive, or like Andy's, have the casings out, but don't have the stock!!!
paule23 26.10.2001 23:56
Personally I quite like Andy's records, certainly a refreshing change from stores such as HMV and Virgin.