Record Buying Guide

Check out these shops for the best in new, classic and hard-to-find music

It’s impossible to buy a terrible Van Morrison album, especially his early releases. The legendary Astral Weeks has numerous references to his hometown and often turns up in the all-time great lists.

Other Van records to seek out include St Dominic’s’ Preview, Moondance and Veedon Fleece. In a collaboration with the Chieftains, Irish Heartbeat, you can hear Van with the late harpist Derek Bell, another valued citizen.

David Holmes cut his reputation as a Belfast DJ and has worked on several Hollywood soundtracks, including Out Of Sight, Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve. His solo records, including Let’s Get Killed and Bow Down To The Exit Sign are also recommended.

Gary Moore and Eric Bell are two Belfast guitarists who played with Thin Lizzy. Listen to a Lizzy compilation such as Wild One to hear their work on tracks such as ‘Whisky In The Jar’, ‘Parisienne Walkways’ and ‘The Rocker’.

For a punk version of history, try Stiff Little Fingers' debut Inflammable Material for raw anger. That energy has translated into other Ulster acts such as Ash and Therapy?.

Brian Kennedy was supported in his early career by Van Morrison and appears on the album A Night In San Francisco. Since then he has represented Ireland at the Eurovision Song contest and sang at George Best’s memorial service alongside another Belfast singer of note, Peter Corry.

In the meantime Brian’s brother, Bap Kennedy, has developed into a roots singer, aided by American artist Steve Earle. Check out the albums Domestic Blues and The Big Picture.

Other songwriters on the rise include Duke Special and Brian Houston, while alternative music is well represented by the likes of Oppenheimer, Tracer AMC and Desert Hearts. Belfast has its share of virtuoso guitarists, including Colin Reid, Paul McMordie and Ken Haddock, who have all put out fine records.

Record Shops in Belfast

Unit 16, Haymarket Arcade, off Royal Avenue, Tel. 028 9033 3131.
Reggae, soul, alternative, dance, hip hop. New and second hand.

Basement NI
381 Newtownards Road, Tel: 028 9046 0484.
Range of second hand CDs.

31 Queen St, Tel 028 9043 9159.
Specialist dance shop with a large collection of vinyl.

Good Vibes
13 Winetavern St.
CDs, LPs & DVDs at this indie shop run by the legendary Terri Hooley, godfather of Northern Irish punk.

Units 3, 4, 6, Donegall Arcade, Tel 028 9023 8494.
Chain store with a wide range of stock.

HMV Belfast
Unit 11 Retail Park, Boucher Road, Tel: 028 9068 8560.
Chain store with a wide range of stock.