BigBoppa Records -
Vinyl Records, UK and
US reproduction record sleeves and the famous Vinyl
Solution Record Cleaner
Doug at Big
Boppa Records has three distinct strands to his business that
was born from his love of Doo-wop music. Doug is buying and
selling vintage vinyl, selling the Vinyl Solution Record
Cleaner and producing reproduction record sleeves. There are
300 sleeve designs covering aprox. 370 labels.
This has turned
from a 'retirement hobby' into a busy and successful business,
with customers from all corners of the globe.
Digger talks to Doug about the history of the business and what's on offer.
Big Boppa offer authentic
reproductions of classic British and American
Can you please tell us a little bit about your background and
that of Big Boppa Doug?
business is split into three. Vinyl records, Vinyl Solution
Record Cleaner and the Record Sleeves.
Buying and selling traditional vinyl records?
I was doing fairs and it was all rock and roll. I specialised
in the rare stuff and Doo-wop. I had to stop doing the fair
for health reasons, so I worked harder on the website. At
that time I bought a warehouse of 48,000 records.
was a distribution place and so that's what is behind my
website. At the moment I've got about 10,000 records on the
site and something like 9,000 of them are unplayed mint
That's very good.
are not rock and roll, they cover things like the late sixties
and early seventies.
sort of stuff then, like psychedelic and Glam rock?
that sort of stuff. There is some earlier sixties but nothing
Digger: Tell us about the
record cleaner. You hear all sorts of claims for products.
What does it do? What should people expect?
worked with an industrial chemist to come up with this and I
asked him how I could do it. We finally came up with
this formula and the reason was that when I had this out first
20 years ago there was no other cleaner out on the market. Now
you look on The Internet and there's dozens there, all making
magnificent claims. But at that time there was one that was
available from someone in Wales who manufactured it but
you had to make a lot of it. You couldn't just clean one
people sometimes want to do. So if I have an album or single
and it's had a hard life and has scratches, dirt and dust
on it, then what can I expect after I've used Vinyl Solution?
going to do nothing for your scratches. But what the Vinyl
Solution does is - it's three different alcohols, polishes and
oils - it's got all sorts of ingredients that get right into
the groove and lift out all the rubbish. Once your record's
clean you can then spray and play at the same time - I do that
and let the stylus pick up the bits. At the end of the first
clean of a record you've had lying around for some time,
there's quite a blob as the needle lifts off all of the rubbish.
It's such a warm sound that you get from analogue and vinyl
compared to digital. I suppose the DJs have kept vinyl alive
in the last few years Doug? And that must be having a knock-on
effect on what you're doing with the records as well?
The cleaner it was often mentioned on the BBC record
collectors programme that went from Liverpool down to Bristol
and I had lots of mentions. The chap who ran it used it and he
always recommended it. So when I claim that it guarantees to
get all of the rubbish out from the grooves, I've never had
anybody say it doesn't work or they want their money back. I've
been doing it for twenty years. It's just a quality product
and all the ones that are coming up now, they're using the
same idea but only one of the chemicals I use as the bulk and
they're not putting the additives in that I do. So there's no
doubt I'm the biggest manufacturer and seller of record
Digger: They look fantastic - so what is the deal with these
been doing them for about eighteen years.
You're satisfying a need where the old sleeve is in bad
condition or was lost and people can match them up again.
That's right. It helps the collector to make his collection
I suppose it helps in the resale as well if they want to do
certainly does. When I was selling at the fairs, I put all my
records out in the repro record sleeves. I found that the
dealers liked them. When they were selling at the fairs they
had a lot of buyers,
and although it says that the record is in excellent condition,
they'll look at it and that's the one moment if you're going
to lose the sale that it will happen. The sleeve helps to sell
Excellence or mint is a very subjective thing.
The whole grading system's wrong really.
you said mint you would really mean never opened, touched or
That's right. I say on my website things are unplayed mint
where they've never been on a turntable and it's probably the
first time it's come out of the package when you buy it. Near
mint means - I think it's mint but I can't guarantee it.
Digger: Who are your typical customers and where are they coming
from these days?
The Vinyl Solution Record
Doug: I sell
worldwide on The Internet David.
Digger: It was supposed to be
a retirement business but has turned into more than that
really, hasn't it?
was a hobby that got extended!
Digger: It's good isn't it?
everyone can do their hobby and make a living out of it.
Digger: Your partner gets
Doug: Yes I
couldn't do it without her help.
Digger: That's good. And your
son does the technical side for you?
looks after the website. I don't know that much about it and
I'm forever phoning my lad up and asking him to do this or
Digger: What sort of feedback and comments have you been
getting from clients about the sleeves?
Doug: I get
phone calls saying they're absolutely fantastic. One of the
Sunday newspapers did a great review and the only feedback I
get which is not really positive is that the colours are
deeper than what they should be. Of course it isn't, it's just
that when they printed them out back in the day they printed
millions and when they tipped in the bucket of ink they would
start with a different mix to how it was towards the end of
Digger: I used to notice that
even back in the sixties and seventies when I was sorting my
singles out. And I suppose they also would weather if they
were left near a sunny window too. People's memories are
a bit suspect, Doug. I spoke to Mark who runs the Ace Cafe and
he says visitors come from Australia and tell him that the
jukebox he has now is not the one they remember. Well, of
course, there were numerous jukeboxes at the Ace over the
years and so they will probably only remember a specific one.
What sort of feedback and comments have you been getting from
clients about the record cleaner?
I get only positive comments about the cleaner.
Digger: When people buy the
sleeves do the tend to buy them in larger quantities?
Whenever I sell a record I put a sleeve in as a sample.
Digger: Good marketing.
usually get an order from that first sample.
What is this enduring fascination people have generally with
Retro and nostalgia in all its forms?
would say first because they can't get what they want. I
started doing the sleeves because I was a London label
collector and I just couldn't get decent sleeves. I was
actually buying records to get the sleeves. A lot of people
tell me they did the same - they would go around the car boots
buying the records for £1 just to buy the sleeves.
Digger: You see that with
Corgi collectors too where they have a mint condition car and
are looking for a box to put it in.
That's right. And once they've put a record in a record sleeve
it's so much more sharp and different. Then they go for the lot and
say "I might as well do the whole collection."
Digger: If they get kitted
out with all of your sleeves and clean all their records with
Vinyl Solution then basically they've got something that's as
good as the day they were bought?
The cleaner definitely makes the records sound and look
better. I once had someone send me a letter and it was to do
with the cleaner and it was a report really. They had hundreds
of lines of comments, with each line representing a note or a
pitch and what the improvement was before and after they'd
used the cleaner. There were only four lines out of several
hundred where there was no difference.
Digger: They were very
I've no idea why. I didn't ask for it.
Digger: What are the best things about what you do and what do
you most enjoy about running Big Boppa?
probably enjoy the sleeves more than the records. I like the
customers where I get a bit of chat going. I like a bit of
feedback and I like to get involved. People will phone me and
ask what sleeves they need for their records. Because of that, I've
now got on my site a place for more information
on sleeves and I'm really involved with that now. We have a
list of all the labels - I'm working with this guy to provide
as much information as possible for people.
Digger: The sleeves and the
record labels are very familiar to people and remind them of
particular times, just like the songs do. I can still remember
which groups were on what label.
as humans we can recall those sorts of details. Click on any label and it shows what the record looked
like and the sleeves with it.
Digger: That's a clever bit
on some of them it will give more information and this
being built up.
Digger: Do you still listen
Do-wop is still my thing. I've always liked it and always
What are your plans for the future for Big Boppa Doug? You're
obviously the biggest and the best at what you do.
just grows and grows. I've not had a year where it hasn't.
Digger: That's good in the
middle of a recession.
sell all over - to Japan, a lot to Australia, a really good
amount to the States, because the market there for sleeves is
just huge. I get emails and feedback from the States that is
Digger: You are an expert.
You've got the original vinyl and two things that really
complement that perfectly - the record sleeves and the record
cleaner so it's the perfect business model Doug.
when I send out leaflets I say we're a "Record Care Company."
Digger: The sleeves look
fantastic Doug. It's a great business.
BigBoppa Records - Vinyl Records, UK
US reproduction record sleeves and the famous Vinyl
Solution Record Cleaner
Buy rare vinyl records
and reproduction record sleeves that are out-of-print
and hard to find from other online record stores.
50s, 60s 70s & 80s Vinyl Records, UK & USA Record
Sleeves & Record Cleaner
The official website of BigBoppa Records, your
complete online store for records, UK reproduction
sleeves, USA reproduction sleeves and the famous Vinyl
Solution Record Cleaner.
We have a faultless record of fair dealing and great
prices for our vinyl. This has made it possible for us
to trade all over the world to thousands of satisfied
Contact us via email: