Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Bleeker Bob's

I made a tip to New York City a few years back, when still building up my set of Holzman-era Elektra albums. I'd been buying off eBay, which was generally a good experience, but trying to collect a US label from here in the UK was always something to benefit the US Postal Service as much as anybody.

So ... off to New York. We stayed with a delightful eccentric lady in the basement of a house just off Bleeker and I did a trawl of record stores. Some were great with nice guys who were helpful, especially one on 4th Street (positively) and a rabbit warren of a place up in the low 100s where there was a shelf full of 10-inch folk, but no Elektra that I needed. Oh yes, and one store that was a real pain where the guy wouldn't let me browse, insisted on me telling him what I wanted, didn't think in labels, only artists and was generally very unhelpful. That one almost put me off New York record stores for life!

I did visit Bleeker Bob's. I was a bit in awe of it and didn't get in conversation with the guy behind the counter, who looked a bit like Andy Warhol, because he was in deep discussion with a Japanese-looking gent who was buying British Rolling Stones albums. The stock was great, mostly in very good condition ... but I couldn't find anything I needed.

It looks like Bleeker Bob's is closing, and there's a nice little documentary about it that you can watch online on the Capital New York web site.

Jac Holzman's Record Loft at 189 West 10th is long gone and now another will be joining it. I'll admit I don't buy many records now: I've sold a lot however! But I always enjoy a good browse.

A couple of good stores I've come across: Flesch Books and Records in Amsterdam, by the Noordkerk, and one in Brussels next to the Bourse ... can't remember the name. Also The Collectors Record Centre in Guildford (UK) where you'll find the stuff I sold on. Don't worry, I've still got thousands left ... and I kept all the core Elektra archive. Any to add?

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