Record Store Day – 22nd April 2023

Sound It Out Records


During the course of our odyssey Steve and I have met some wonderful people, Record Store owners, shop assistants and customers who have shown great knowledge and friendliness towards us.

One person to whom the above attributes apply to and more is Tom Butchart. Just prior to our scheduled posting of this blog we heard the shocking and tragic news that Tom had passed away we therefore delayed posting as a mark of respect to Tom and his family.

It was only a few months ago that Tom came down to the pressing plant for a tour and his enthusiasm for the project was evident as soon as he entered the factory indeed the term “kid in a sweet shop” comes to mind.

We are posting this blog exactly as it was written before we heard the sad news and my co-blogger Steve’s tribute to Tom is at the end of this write up.

It’s 0530 on Record Store Day and Steve and I are heading the 5 or so miles to Stockton to join the queue at Sound it out Records.

This is my first RSD but Steve is a veteran having queued at this store many times, sometimes overnight. Any thoughts we had of an overnighter were quickly squashed having seen the weather forecast rain, rain and more rain.

When we arrived at around 0600 we were surprised to see the length of the queue considering the conditions and we took our place with about 30 in front of us.


As Steve kept our place I wandered to the front to chat to the real RSD fanatics.

At the front of the queue I find Shane Healey who is a bit of a legend around these parts. Shane is featured in the Sound it Out documentary so I already knew he was a massive Status Quo fan.

Shane had been there for 27 hours but was keeping dry in his pop up tent. Although there was no Status Quo on offer this year he said he wanted the Taylor Swift release.

Second in line was Shay who had been there 19 hours and being a Self Esteem fan was looking forward to picking up the RSD release.

The third person in the queue was fast asleep in his tent so I thought it best not to wake him but fourth was Mark Singleton who was keeping relatively dry with his umbrella.

He told me that during the night the few in the queue had been mistaken for homeless and offered money for coffee. Mark’s favourite band is Carter USM but was hoping to pick up The Pogues offering this year.

Tom Butchart the owner of Sound it Out had graciously given me permission to go into the store prior to opening to get a taste of what goes on behind the scenes. On duty inside were Tom, Stuart and Chris they had 180 titles and around 450 records in stock.

Stuart said he would be going outside to give the first five in the queue a stock list to fill in and would collect it just before opening time then they would bag the selections and let the customers in one by one to collect and pay.

Once the first five are moving the process is repeated for the next five and so on. As the titles are sold out Stuart who has the loudest voice would go outside and announce it.

It was intriguing to go inside and see the guys in action but also good for me to get out of the rain for a warm.

The store opened at 0800 and the queue started moving and we reached the doors at around 0900 looking like two drowned rats.

We both managed to get the Taylor Swift and 1975 releases I also picked up Paul McCartney & Wings Red Rose Speedway and Steve bagged Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco.

We missed out on The Delines release which was announced as sold out just before we got to the front but that’s the way RSD works.

The Sound It Out system worked really well and despite the weather it was a great experience, big thanks to Tom, Stuart and Chris for making it all run smoothly.

I asked Tom to pick out a RSD selection for the Press On Vinyl collection and he picked out Holy Church of the Ecstatic Soul – a compilation of Gospel, Funk and Soul 1971-1983.

Steve’s tribute to Tom

The main reason that I am writing this in a room surrounded by kallax units crammed full of vinyl is Tom Butchart who over the last decade has helped to cultivate a passion that was ignited by a certain Mr. Alan Fearnley way back in the seventies.

In 2011 upon reading several excellent reviews of Jeanie Finlay’s social documentary centred around the last record shop in Teesside I travelled the short distance to Stockton to pick a DVD of the film which also resulted in buying my first record in over two decades and welcoming back a vinyl ‘habit’ like an old friend.

Through the next two years I became a regular customer of the shop and after years of buying CD’s from soulless HMV branches it took some getting used to walk into the shop and to be greeted by name and then to be recommended music based on your own personal tastes by bands that were totally new to you.

In this age of computer algorithms and artificial intelligence, Tom was the living embodiment of technology can never replace a human being.

He has left a huge legacy with ‘Sound it Out Records’ because it is far more than just a record store, it is a large community of music lovers that expands out from Teesside to the far corner of this globe all of whom Tom has connected with and influenced through his work.

Over the last decade I have not missed one single Record Store Day and have indeed queued overnight on several occasions with my good friend John and got to know fellow customers (Shane, Marks 1 & 2, Simon, Alison etc,) all of which came about through this wonderful store.

I think a lot of people have visions of a Heaven not necessarily linked to any personal religious beliefs and mine has always involved living in a terraced house on a cobbled village street set among rolling hills on the Yorkshire coast and now at the end of this street is a record store curated by Tom.

RIP Tom Butchart you will be greatly missed.

Check out more Vinyl Odyssey here

Copyright © Press On Vinyl Ltd 2022

Login to your account