Rob Smith … Another Northern soul legend

I found this article about Rob Smith, the first record dealer I visited at his make shift office in the heart of Nottingham to buy records from his photo copied list that used to arrive in a brown paper envelope every month, thanks Rob you have made a fantastic difference to the scene ..


Starting with a copy of Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker in 1967, Rob Smith has been buying and selling records in Nottingham for four decades. His chaotic institution Rob’s Record Mart is still going strong on Hurt’s Yard, remaining pleasingly resilient to today’s internet-driven music era. Rob also manages a parallel career as a well-known DJ on the Northern Soul scene, putting even the hardiest of ravers to shame with a hectic travel schedule that takes in all-nighter venues nationwide.  After welcoming me with his habitually good-humoured “Oh, my dear sir!” greeting, Rob closed up for the day and kindly agreed to reveal some local vinyl-retail history to us…


What initially drove you to buy vinyl and soul music in particular?
I started collecting chart singles from the early sixties, going to second hand record shops and junk shops around Nottingham. I had a paper round at the time. My first craze was rock’n’roll. I started to hang out at Beeston Youth Centre, where I’m DJing this Friday by a strange coincidence! Although these rockers were congregating down there, the music playing was ‘60s club soul. Around the same time, I started working in the Co-Op across the road (Upper Parliament Street) on the record bar in the basement. It’s closed now and about to be knocked down, but my first job was running the record bar in the late sixties and early seventies. The soul thing was quite trendy, so I had a lot of it in the Co-Op, that combined with the Beeston Youth Centre and one or two other local clubs, got me into the soul thing.

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