Sound it Out Records


As the subject of a documentary in 2010 and the winner of Record Shop of the year in 2018 Sound it Out Records in Stockton-on-Tees has a global attraction with vinyl lovers from around the world making pilgrimages to this unassuming off the beaten track gem.

The New York Times no less once described the shop “Like a mint pressing in the bargain bin Sound it Out is a rare find”

Tom Butchart took on ownership of the shop in 1998 and he is ably assisted by Stuart Willoughby and Chris Smith.

My first visit to the shop was in 2011 in search of the aforementioned documentary (directed by acclaimed local film-maker Jeanie Finlay) on DVD.

I had hardly got through the door when Stuart who had spotted my Neil Young t-shirt struck up a conversation and two hours later I left the shop with the DVD and more importantly a rekindling of my love for vinyl.

For me this place is more than a record store it’s more of a community centre for vinyl lovers. I can spend hours in the shop chatting to like minded regulars and I’ve got into more new music than this old fart would have ever considered due to recommendations from the store friends I’ve made over the years.

Today I am visiting with Neil who I’ve been wanting to take here for years. From the outside the shop is very distinctive with black and white circles around the door and windows giving the impression of a giant boom box.

The shop floor which was extended in 2013 houses thousands of second hand vinyl to the right and new vinyl to the left.

Stuart is on duty today standing behind the counter at the back of the shop with Technics deck, Denon amp and Kef speakers warmed up nicely.

I would describe Stuart as a bit of a local celebrity well known for his best selling book Minneapolis Reign charting his pilgrimage to Paisley Park a year after the death of his hero Prince.

Stuart will always have a good recommendation complimenting Tom and Chris with their varying music tastes.

The shop has a excellent reputation for in store performances involving local talent and notable performances from Razorlite, Self Esteem and Public Service Broadcasting.

The queue for record store day usually starts over 24 hours before the shop opens and Stuart could tell you within 3 guesses who will be at the front it’s great business but a lot of hard work.

Stuart Willoughby’s five vinyl records I couldn’t live without.

 1. A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Self Titled
 2. Henri Gorecki – Symphony
 3. Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair
 4. Nick Drake – Pink Moon
 5. Prince and the Revolution – Parade

 6. Prince – Sign O’ The Times
 7. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

I know that’s 7 selections but that’s Stuart for you.

Stuart Willoughby’s selection for the Press On collection A Winged Victory for the Sullen.

Steve’s selection – The Weather Station – How is it that I should look at the stars

Neil’s selection – Cigar Cigar – The edge of the conversation

If you have any interest in Vinyl get yourself to this store Neil is now hooked and will be back regularly. Also if want to check out the documentary it’s available on You Tube and well worth a viewing.

P.S. If my wife is reading this I haven’t spent very much in here …..Honestly

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