Sunday, 10 July 2011


I haven't got any photos of Chalmers & Joy, but not wanting to leave them off Retro Dundee, I'll do what I usually do under these circumstances, and use local adverts.
The top ad is one I found in the small ads of a 1972 Telegraph.
However, I don't actually recall visiting either of the 2 shops mentioned in the ad - a place in the Hilltown and a shop up Albert Street.
By 1974, the Hilltown shop had disappeared and their city centre shop on the corner of Seagate/Gellatly Street had opened up, and that's the one I used to go to.
It was an upstairs/downstairs job but us teenagers need not have bothered too much about what was on offer downstairs as, apart from the singles, it was a mix of Scottish traditional and easy listening. The youthful goodies were upstairs - where all my dosh went!
The staircase walls were covered in posters and when you reached upstairs, these walls too were taken over by poster racks. The room itself was quite spacious and they had a sizable vinyl selection, even if they didn't really keep up with the times as energetically as Bruces did.
I think the shop went through a couple of interior changes over the years but the layout I've described is the one that sticks in my mind most.
The other ad is from this very period too, dated March 1977.
Oh by the way, you see the Status Quo "Live" double album in the ad, well technically, I'm on that one! I went through to Glasgow for their gig at the Apollo where the album was recorded, so I was part of the audience.
Anyway, underneath that ad is a reminder of the shop's carrier bags.
The striped one being the Hilltown & Albert Street bag, and the pink one coming from their Seagate shop.
So, were you part of the Chalmers & Joy hoi polloi?


  1. Used to get my Alastair Macdonald records there.

  2. .
    In 1969, I had discovered the C&J shop in Hilltown so, after seeing a hitherto unknown (to me) band at the New Dines at the Uni - "The John Dummer Blues Band" - I headed to C&J on Hilltown at the next opportunity to see what they had by the band. Was pleasantly surprised to find their first two albums, "Cabal" and "The John Dummer Band" in stock so they were duly purchased.
    The first album featured Tony MacPhee (Groundhogs), Joanne Kelly, and her brother Dave Kelly (Blues Band). By the time of the second album, MacPhee had left for pastures new. Dummer and Thumper Thompson (bass) went on to be founder members of Darts in '77.
    I believe the Seagate shop replaced the other two shops. John Whalley was the manager, assisted by his sister, Margaret. They had been in charge of the Hilltown and Albert Street shops respectively. They looked after the downstairs department while Sheila (Masson?) was in charge upstairs. I remember roundabout the late 70s, Angie was the assistant upstairs.
    C&J was owned by an Aberdeen guy called John Chalmers. There was also, as far as I can remember, a shop in Aberdeen. I think the shops closed down when ol' man Chalmers retired.
    The handy thing about C&J was that, right through the 80s and into the 90s, it was a 'chart return' shop, whose data contributed to the UK Top 40/75 every week. This meant that C&J got any limited editions of singles and albums that were released to push sales.
    A sad loss when the shop closed. John had a phenomenal knowledge of the trade. I used to go in and toss him a record number and, usually after a few seconds, he would tell me the label, title and artiste.
    (There have been a number of mentions of C&J on the "Foreigners Reunion" Facebook page.)

  3. That's the layout I remember. Loved Chalmers and Joy.
    Don't know her name but I vividly remember the nice woman with very long, jet black hair.

  4. Brian,

    I thought Cathie McCabe was the chart return shop?

  5. got some great finds at Chalmers and Joy. This is where I bought my Factory releases! I always imagined behind the counter in their shelves of 7"'s was a copy of the Pistols Anarchy on A&M. I'll never know.

  6. .
    Hi Bridie.

    That was Margaret.


  7. Loved C&J, I used to buy all my hip-hop in there, and I remember the woman with the black hair too. If you asked when a particular release was due out, she'd pull out what seemed to be a big clump of magazine pages, held together by string!

  8. Hi Eddie G.

    I think that would have been the 'new releases' pages from the weekly trade mag, "Music Week", originally called "Record Retailer".

  9. I loved Chalmers and Joy through the 80s and 90s up to its closure. That was the end of my vinyl days as the shop got in the latest LPs.
    When exactly did it close? I remember going there in 1998 to pick up He Got Game by Public Enemy.

  10. It was my mum (Angie) who was the assisstant to Sheila upstairs! Fantastic shop...

  11. Margaret (the shop lady with the long black hair) went to work in the Office of the School of Psychology at Dundee University where she worked for a good few years until retirement recently. I knew Margaret well, and indeed she sold me my 1st bit of vinyl all those years ago (Police - Message in a bottle!)


  12. In the early 80s downstairs was Margaret and John selling singles, traditional Scottish music and classical, upstairs there were several different girls over the years and one who was always there and I'm kicking myself for forgetting her name. I spent a lot of time and money upstairs in Chalmers & Joy back then.

  13. Great shop..good old days of music and rumage for a gem

    1. I was too young to enjoy such shops!! Boohoo!!!!! Lol!

  14. I was a C&J customer in the mid to late sixties. Jazz was my thing, and C&J would order up albums I had seen reviewed, and get them in quickly and with less fuss than the other shops in town such as Largs.