Honest Jon’s records, the label behind the legendary London based record shop. The Honest Jons label is a creative partnership between the London record shop of the same name and Blur frontman Damon Albarn.
Honest Jon's is an independent record shop based on Portobello Road in Ladbroke Grove, London, operating since 1974. The shop is owned and run by Mark Ainley and Alan Scholefield, who took over from one of the original proprietors, "Honest" Jon Clare. Their record label of the same name is run in conjunction with Damon Albarn, who has been quoted as saying: "I don't really like the term world music. Wherever it comes from, it's all just music, isn't it? Hopefully that's what Honest Jon's is about - to open a few minds to what's out there."
Honest Jon’s originally opened on Golborne Road in London's Ladbroke Grove, moving around the corner five years later onto the famous Portobello Road, where it has built up a reputation over the years as a stomping ground for record collectors, music lovers, producers, and musicians from all around the world.
In 2001 storeowners Mark Ainley and Alan Scholefield, founded together with Damon Albarn from Blur and Gorillaz Honest Jon’s records. The label is a kind of musical mirror of all those sounds that have always been available at the shop. In a “blinkers-off” approach, their release list covers lost Reggae, old and new Afro, variations of Jazz, Calypso, and Folk that have long been forgotten by popular culture, as well as contemporary Folk, dance, and the new electronic avant-garde. For Carhartt Radio, Honest Jon's co-owner Alan Scholefield selected some music from this profuse catalogue, which staffer Budgie then mixed into a special multidimensional narrative, in which every track tells a story of its own, spanning a time period from the fifties to the present.
The label has released compilation albums such as its London Is The Place For Me series, excavating the music of young Black London, in the years after World War II; also collections of British folk, Port-of-Spain soca, Afro-Cuban jazz from the Bronx, Jamaican dancehall; and retrospectives of artists including Moondog, Maki Asakawa, Bettye Swann and Cedric "Im" Brooks & The Light of Saba. It has released original music by Candi Staton, Actress, T++, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Mark Ernestus, Trembling Bells, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Simone White, Shackleton, Michael Hurley, Terry Hall, and the Moritz Von Oswald Trio. It recorded the chaabi orchestra of Abdel Hadi Halo on location in Algiers; Lobi Traore and Kokanko Sata Doumbia in Bamako; and Tony Allen in Lagos.
Honest Jon’s has also branched out into many of the genres that for years relied on this very store for their samples: hip hop is especially well represented and even more peripheral dance genres like dubstep get a look in. The majority of the store’s CD and vinyl collection is reserved for luminaries such as Parliament, Prince and Burning Spear.