Our History“Sister Ray has a long and chequered history. Probably best known for being a great store, populated by unbelievably enthusiastic staff and full of top tunes.”
Let’s go back to the beginning and try and make some sense of it. Neil Brown kicked the whole thing off back in 1989. Neil had been selling vinyl from a market stall in Camden and took the next step by taking over 94 Berwick Street.
Sister Ray, named after the Velvet Underground song, quickly became a fixture in the record shop scene of Soho. Berwick Street was at the heart of a thriving hub of independent music stores. Daddy Kool, Shades, Red, Tag, Black Dog, Ambient Soho, Black Market, Kubla, Liberty, Vinyl Junkies – just a few of the legendary shops (sadly no longer with us) that catered for all of London’s scenes and tribes.
By 2003 Brian Selby the owner of Selectadisc at 34 Berwick Street decided he wanted to retire from the scene and Sister Ray teamed up with Phil Barton who also owned Rounder Records in Brighton, to merge the two shops.
Then came the tough years when the internet turned the world upside down and retail died a slow death. It took a while and a commitment to vinyl that brought around a slow but steady revival. Sister Ray became a major force behind Record Store Day too and Phil became a spokesman for both RSD and the vinyl revival. The shop moved again across the road to 75 Berwick Street.
Oh, and that Oasis album cover? It features Selectadisc on the left and the current shop on the right. The shot was taken very early in the morning to avoid the London traffic. DJ Sean Rowley, Brian Cannon the art designer and Owen Morris the album producer feature in the shot.
That just leaves us with the future. Joe Strummer always said “The future is unwritten” and as he fronted the only band that ever really mattered then we should take that as our mantra.
We hope you enjoy your online experience with us. Let us know if you don’t, it’s only fair.