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Set up by John Abby ( Blues & Soul) (Action Records)was the place to get your soul imports. Frequented by Robert Elms and Loyd Bradley.
Leg it over the road to Hanway Street, a charismatic, piss-smelling dogleg alley, where up the stairs of an unmarked doorway was Contempo. Contempo Records was the epicentre of the London black music world in 1976, entirely contained in a room about eight feet square above a Spanish bar with an Irish name, in a forgotten street. On Friday afternoons it was the only place to buy the records the DJs had been spinning over the road at Crackers. So punters literally queued up the stairs, shouting out names of songs and artists, or listening intently to the sides which had arrived in crates from the States that day, deciding whether that was the one to invest in'. Robert Elms The Way We Wore
( March 18, 2016) It was like the stock exchange or an auction. Someone would spin the new singles and if you wanted one you waved and then either paid or that single was added to your pile and when people had stopped waving that disc came off and the new one went on and the process was repeated. My favourite bought from there - Timmy Thomas Why Can't We Live Together on Glades. Coincidentally a few days after purchasing this disc I saw Timmy Thomas and his manager in HMV Oxford Street. Small world. Comment: Truats Heytarl.

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So many great memories, being a young dj buying Blues & Soul magazine buying my import records James Brown on his label all the Imports (Which I still have) from the guys John Abby after he's and the guys would track and review them for the next month issues

Regards Craig
(2019)

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1973. early saturday morning we'd leave the south coast and drive up the A3 to get to Contempo for opening time, there was a bit of room up there first thing in the morning as people had really just go home from the friday night bash. ys I remember well hearing all the white labels coming from America, in fact it felt a bit like Harlem when it was full of the bro's. my friend was religeous and buying pretty much everything that played, fabulous days, such a high! of which Contempo was the shop at the summit! we went to Columbo's in Carnaby St, The Kilt in Dean street and some place with massive gas flames outside and tropical fish under the dance floor!
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keith Jenkins
(2020)
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A piss smelling alley indeed, Jack the ripper territory, use to be there in 1978 and spoke with kindly people from the "Blues & soul" magazine as John Abbey and David Nathan, used to be an avid reader for several years becoming a soulfan & radiodeejay in the 80's in Belgium.
I used to buy a lot of importrecords that year in small recordstores in London, what a time it was.....
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Claude Van Isterdael
(2020)

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I went into a very empty shop one morning as a box of imports was opened and as the first record was played thought to myself I'll have that, sounds like a winner. Car Wash by Rose Royce, how right I was. Happy memories indeed.
Name
Keith Brocks
(2020)


Comments

David Meikle
01 Jan 2022 at 12:00
I went back to the address about 12 years after my first visit, which had been c.1971. It was only 200 yards along the road from The 100 Club. Upstairs was locked as expected but the Spanish lady was still working the bar on the ground floor. She talked fondly of her former neighbour John Abbey.

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