Jumbo Records – Leeds

Live at Leeds in the City Festival

After our long day in Leeds, which produced our last 3 blogs by a quirk of fate a couple of weeks later we find ourselves back in the city. It’s almost our second home although we still struggle with the traffic system. We have been invited to the Live at Leeds in the city festival.

We arrived at the base hub/venue of ‘Leeds Live’ a very busy Leeds Wardrobe to obtain our access wristbands kindly provided by Futuresound. We had hardly had time to take a sip from our Drambuie & cherryade when Neil was confronted by a very eager mother who insisted that we had to see her daughter’s imminent set downstairs.

The artist in question was Lizzie Esau and while we had really only hurried downstairs to appease her mother within a matter of minutes it was obvious that Lizzie was more than capable of living up to her mum’s high praise.

Lizzie is a very confident artist who put me in mind of Tanya Donnelly & Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses and Belly) though a tad more mainstream. Lizzie’s band were very punchy and gave her a strong platform from which to perform the songs.

To award Lizzie a rare accolade Neil and I were in total agreement in our positive assessment, and we will certainly be keeping tabs on her in 2023.

Taking a break from Leeds Live we crossed town to conduct a review of Jumbo Records (established 1971) located in the Leeds Merrion Centre.

I had previously visited this store several years back when it was located on the upper floor of this mall before relocating to its current location on the ground floor, which is much larger and more suitable for the in-store performances which are regularly held here not to mention the coffee station.

The business was established by Hunter & Lornette Smith in 1971 who retired and sold on the business in 2014 to Nick and Justinia who were previously both committed customers and who continued with much the same business model and staff.

On entering the shop my first impressions very much mirror the feelings that I had seven years back, that this is a muso’s paradise stacked with vinyl, CDs and books from every conceivable genre concerning mainstream & obscure artists.

An unusual aspect of the store was the number of CDs that the shop stocked (a high number of the more obscure niche music is simply not available on vinyl), almost a 50/50 ratio in relation to the vinyl though apparently this is not reciprocated in sales with vinyl sales significantly higher.

Our host today is Matt Bradshaw who has worked within this store for a total of nineteen years and is very much a muso himself (check out his never-ending list of recommendations on Jumbo Records online site, a man after my own heart).

The several interruptions that we were witness to during our interview (Matt was working after all) showed how this store thrives on the staff engaging with the customer both in an advising and listening capacity.

I requested newly released albums by Miles Davis and Vieux Farka Toure that had not even been placed in the shop’s racks but there were quickly found and provided.

When we conduct these reviews of music stores Neil always endeavours to give an outline of the Press On Vinyl and FairSound set up and future goals and how this can contribute to both their business and the development of new artists which I think was of great interest to Matt as this shop clearly has a deep connection with music past, present & future.

Matt himself revealed he has had many conversations through the years with people from within the music industry about the benefits of investing in a vinyl pressing plant here in the UK borne of the amount of vinyl pressing that has to pressed overseas due to the lack of options presently available in this country (prior to the opening of Press On obviously).

Matt Bradshaw’s Five Vinyl Records I Can’t Live Without

  1. Eugene McDaniels – Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse
 2. DJ Shadow – Entroducing
 3. Doug Paisley – Constant Companion
 4. LoneLady – Hinterland
 5. Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs – Three Day Week

Matt’s Selection for the Press On Vinyl Collection
Kevin Morby – This Is A Photograph

Steve’s selection – Ali – Vieux Farks Toure & Khruangbin

Neil’s selection – Billie Eilish –When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go

This is the third Leeds record store that we have reviewed in the last few months, and I can only conclude that anyone that lives in Leeds (as legendary group The Who do, Neil may have to explain this) is absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to buying music providing you can navigate the Dagobah system of course.

Our day / night at the festival continues so after a bus ride and a visit to the Vinyl Whistle (we couldn’t resist) we find ourselves at the Brudenell Social Club. The club has 2 rooms so no delay between bands.

We dipped in and out of several sets including The Dinner Party, Baby Dave, Fake Turins and Melin Melyn all great by the way.

Our final band and the one we wanted to see were Opus Kink who put on an amazing energy filled show and the crowd loved it. We both agreed that if they don’t make it big it will be a real travesty.

Now for the journey home with Lizzie Esau and Opus Kink streaming and loud.

P.S. The pies at the Brudenell are amazing.

P.P.S. Our next blog will be a review of the year we’ll review all the shop recommendations and give you our top 10 new music of the year (if I can get Steve down to 10).

Check out more Vinyl Odyssey here

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