Good morning Terry, it's David at Retrosellers. How are you today?
Hello David. Iím pretty good thanks.
Please tell us about your background and the background
to Vintage Music.
My background is sport. Iíve always loved sport, rugby
Iíve never seen you but I can visualise you as a rugby
player. What was your position?
I bet you loved the recent victory against England?
Yes. But Iíve gone off rugby a little bit recently because
it seems a bit stale compared to what it used to be
years ago, to be honest.
Thereís a lot of stoppages.
Yes, a lot of stoppages and the back play isnít as
exciting as it used to be. Thereís too much defence
and it stops things, you know?
I suppose they try to inject pace and they obviously
know that tries are the thing that people want to see.
But you donít get a lot of matches with a good number
of tries, do you?
No, the defence is so better organised now. Although they
are a lot fitter than when I used to play! And itís a
lot more physical.
There also seem to be a lot of stupid and unnecessary
Terry: Yes, itís ridiculous really, isnít it?
Almost as though theyíre not thinking it through. They
must go through this a lot in training?
Some of it is coached into them to stop things happening
but other things are just a spur of the moment loss of
So you were playing rugbyÖ
I also worked for a brewery and got a back problem which
meant I couldnít work for them anymore, nor play
rugby. So I had to finish them both. Thatís when I
started the music business on a market stall.
In what year?
1998. I worked on the outside market for a year
or so and then it became too difficult with my spine. So
I came into an indoor market stall and itís where
Iíve been for the last fourteen years. We have now spread
onto three stalls and itís ticking over nicely with
the CDs for the older generation.
Iím the same as them. I like to get something for my money and
when I download I feel cheated because thereís nothing
tangible. No artwork or sleeve notes. I prefer CDs.
Yes, theyíre starting to re-issue a lot of the CDs
from the sixties and seventies. I notice on your site
youíve got Salvo Music and people like that. We sell a
lot of their stuff. Thereís a lot of small specialist record companies
starting up at the moment, so itís pretty good really.
Yes, there seems to be a bigger thing in Retro now even
than when I started this in 2001.
Itís good for us. I do stock the latest chart stuff
but find it difficult to sell. You can order three and
only sell one. I prefer to stock sixties, seventies and
eighties and even right back to the forties really.
Is this for youngsters too?
You do get a lot of youngsters coming in for things like
Pink Floyd and The Beatles. Obviously theyíve heard it
from their parents.
I was looking at the top selling artists of all time and
the list made interesting reading. The Beatles, Elvis
and Michael Jackson were at one, two and three, followed
by Madonna, Mariah Carey, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd,
Queen, The Rolling Stones and The Bee Gees. No surprises
The Beatles donít sell that much here really. They had a
resurgence over Christmas.
The Beatles catalogue has been re-issued in so many
formats now and theyíve also recently been included on
Thatís it. With the catalogue that EMI have got they
should be pushing it all a lot more. For example, with
Dorothy Squires they used to do a Say it With Flowers CD
and a Live At The Palladium CD but if you look at their
website now all theyíve got is a 'Best of'. When we get
people coming to the stall they ask for My Way or Say It
With Flowers and you canít get them on the 'Best of' CD.
Why put out a 'Best of' and exclude the rarer tracks when
most people who would buy a Dorothy Squires album would
already have the more common tracks anyway? They should
be releasing the rarer stuff.
Thatís true. I know that JSP records have just
produced a nice box set of her material. Itís a
good-priced box set with about 60-odd songs on there.
I just noticed something you can do as a sideline, Terry, is a Tom
Jones voice impersonator! Thereís a strong resemblance
and that Welsh accent is musical. Itís superb.
Is it? (Laughs)
You have a very broad range of products and nostalgia
titles. What are the most popular lines?
Although Iím in Pontypridd, youíd think Tom Jones
would be the biggest artist, but heís not really. I
sell a bit of Tom Jones but not a lot. The biggest
seller is a fellah called David Alexander. Heís a
ballad singer, like Tom Jones, and sounds quite a bit like
him. He died about sixteen years ago.
Digger: So like Eva Cassidy heís bigger when heís
He was quite big even when he was around. He used to do
all the local pubs and clubs. Blackpool and all the
northern clubs as well. His wife is a ventriloquist and
they had a place in Tenerife - they used to do a band
awards on the island.
I wasn't aware of him. Itís funny how you get these people who are locally
popular but not generally known. I thought I knew a lot
about music but youíre always learning.
Heís from Blackwood, which is about nine miles from
here. Heís a really nice singer.
Iíll have a listen. The personal touch and building a
relationship with customers is very important to you.
What other strengths have you got compared to the big
Itís an intimate relationship Iíve got with the
customers and we get a lot of old customers coming
through. And theyíve been listening to the radio on a Sunday
morning and thereís a lot of the older shows on a
Sunday morning. They say "I heard a song and Iím not
sure who sung it now but it went something like thisÖ"
and they start singing it to you or telling you some of
the words. And I might sometimes be able to pick up on a
line and then I can track the artist down and track a CD
down. Then I get it in for them. Thereís a lot of
searching involved. We used to have books that had the
song titles and which album it was on but I canít seem to
find anything like that now so itís a lot of searching
on Google to try and come up with it. But thatís part
of the enjoyment of the job, to be honest.
Thatís good because it could be quite labour-intensive
selling one or two CDs to an old person. But if youíre
enjoying the research side of it as well. So, what sort
of feedback do you get about your products from
I get good customer feedback normally. Occasionally I
sell them a CD and they say ďI didnít like thatĒ
or ďthere were some good tracks on it but not allĒ
but I get a lot of repeat customers. I try to
understand what they like and whatever I get in I get in
on sale or return from different companies. So I might
recommend to some clients when they come in.
Youíve got a very broad range there. Youíre in about
twenty categories in our directory so what are the
biggest sellers in terms of genre?
I think the biggest is probably the seventies era.
Is it a moving target? Do you think in fifteen or twenty
years time it might be nineties and noughties Retro?
The youngsters are picking up on the seventies at the
moment and the eighties have been making a comeback as
well with Duran Duran and people like that. So whether it will move along that line I
donít really know.
That obviously helps you in terms of marketing doesnít
it? You cover all these different decades, so you can
always pick up on a trend canít you?
Yes. What I find now is a lot of my senior customers are
going back to the forties and fifties Ė The Stan
Kenton Orchestra and people like that. There are labels
very good and doing that kind of stuff. I used to do
quite a bit of that.
What sort of music do you listen to on your days off?
James Taylor or more acoustic stuff.
I've been trying to get an interview with Graham Nash -
fingers crossed. I interviewed Bobby Elliott and they're
still mates, of course.
I really like acoustic guitar and I don't think people
realise but there's a lot of that stuff coming up all of
the time. 'Proper Music' do quite a lot of that genre and
there's a bit of a crossover between country and folk
and singer/songwriter. So you have to listen to it all
because you can't pigeon-hole where it's going to go.
What relationship have you got with all these small
Retro record labels? Do they send reps around to see
They email me the catalogue of upcoming issues and they
do a sale or return. I struggle to sell jazz or world
music so they omit that but they do send me country and
blues and folk.
Not a big demand for pan pipes in Pontypridd then?
We do get people asking for pan pipes but it's the same
as military bands - we do get them in but there are some
that are really cheap at £2.99 and £3.99 and the other
end at £10 or £12. A lot of people who've been in the
forces will come along and buy it. Of course, with the
Royal Wedding coming up we're getting a lot from The
Welsh Guards and The Coldstream Guards. They're bringing
a lot of wedding music out at the moment - church music
and brass bands and things.
You really need to keep an eye out with what you're
doing for the current trends and news and what's going
Yes. You can tell by what people are asking for and
decide whether or not it's going to be worth getting
some more in. Then you get two or three more people
coming in asking for it and creating a bit of a demand -
that's when you order a lot.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of what you do?
I suppose meeting people and the regulars in the market
who actually come two or three times a week - local
people and they'll have a chat with you. That's probably
the main aspect. And also people not able to get a hold
of a song or record and they've tried all around and
then I'm able to track it down. I'm sometimes lucky and
sometimes not - and if I'm able to import it from
America or via Proper Music or somebody then they're
over the moon. That then makes me feel good that I've
done something as well.
Digger: That's good. Do they pay extra if you import
from the States?
Sometimes it's cheaper from the States than it is here.
I get the price first before I tell them.
What impact does The Internet have on your business and
how much of a challenge is it to keep up with evolving
technology in the music field?
Downloading has had an impact and a youngster
said he doesn't know anyone who buys CDs anymore. So
they don't even look at it - they download straight
It's a generational thing.
Yes, so I don't know how long I'll be able to keep going
with CDs. But I am possibly going into vintage
instruments or something along those lines.
There's a few successful players on the vintage musical
instruments - drums and guitars circuit. They seem to be
doing very well actually.
Yes. On the stall I don't sell that many guitars over the
years compared to the Cardiff stores. I sell strings and
more bits and pieces.
If you had a specialist shop on The Internet you'd pick
business up from the UK, USA and Europe.
Yes. but with running the stall it's difficult to find
the time to do everything.
What plans do you have for the future of Vintage Music?
I'm concentrating on the shop for the near future and
see how things pick up. Which way music is going to go
and how we bounce back from the recession. I don't know
which way it's going to go.
And in the meantime you are always there to help people
find that rare or difficult to find item?
People can phone me and
email me anytime.