Joe sets out his stall to the sound of music

PUBLISHED: 14:31 27 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 11 May 2010

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Anyone who used to be a regular visitor to Royston market will remember the sound of country and western music floating through the air. It came from the stall of Meldreth s Joe Colquhoun, who is still very much in business, and has been selling his music

Anyone who used to be a regular visitor to Royston market will remember the sound of country and western music floating through the air.

It came from the stall of Meldreth's Joe Colquhoun, who is still very much in business, and has been selling his music on Hitchin market for nearly 30 years

Joe had his first stall at Royston, because it was nearest, and which he ran for 10 years, has seen the transition from records, through cassettes, to CDs.

But the music he sells has changed little.

"I don't have modern, boom bang-a-bang stuff, I concentrate on a large selection of middle-of-the-road, country and Irish," he said.

"Everybody knows where I am."

At the moment he says he is seeing an increase in trade because Woolworths, one of his biggest competitors, and other music shops have closed.

It means that Joe, who is approaching his 66th birthday, is busier than ever, even though he is now semi-retired and has cut his five days a week on markets around the area to just a couple.

But he has no intention of giving up yet.

He said: "I do it because I enjoy meeting people, and for the benefit of my customers.

"Some have been coming to my stall for 20 years.

"Most of the music I sell is specialist. They can't get it anywhere else."

Customers come from as far as Northampton, Peterborough, Luton, Romford, and Stevenage.

Joe also sells a lot of music DVDs, such as shows.

Most of the sales are CDs, but Joe still has a stock of cassettes, even though the manufacturers have stopped making them.

"Many people have cassette players in their cars, and lorry drivers will buy anything on cassette," he said.

"One of my biggest sellers is a country guy called Ollie Austin who has about 18 CDs out, but you will not find him in any of the shops.

"He is probably one of the best country and western singers England has produced. I also sell a lot of Daniel O'Donnell.

"Supermarkets and record shops now sell only their own top 100.

"You don't get a selection of middle of the road stuff."

Joe has been in the music business all his life and believes you should stick to what you do best.

He worked his way up from the bottom to sales director of Phonogram Records before being made redundant.

A customer recently told him his stall was "like being in a sweet shop" because he was so spoiled for choice - all things you don't see in other shops.

Joe said: "Another customer was astonished that when he asked for Jim Reeves I had four - and even more astounded when I was honest enough to tell him two of them were the same so he shouldn't buy them all.

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