The records keep spinning at Blue Note

Blue Note's Biff Pock

Blue Note's Biff Pock

By Jessica Pasko

Vinyl aficionados and amateurs alike have long known that Central Avenue's Blue Note Record Shop is where it's at when it comes to finding elusive albums. It's also the spot to find rare genres like American Indian music or hidden gems like the soundtrack to CHiPs.

And don't think this is scratchy old LPs - everything here is new. Yep, we mean mint condition. Few places today have character like Blue Note, which is filled to the brim with records interspersed with hand-written lists of each year's top hits.

Biff Pock has helped run the venerable Albany shop his father started in 1948 for over 25 years. The shop recently celebrated its 60th birthday. AOA stopped in this week to chat with Pock about Blue Note.

How many titles do you have in the store right now?

Well in excess of a 100,000 titles - and we can order most anything you're seeking.

What's the clientele like? Who buys your records?

It's a real mix - from high school kids to senior citizens. Everyone's discovering the joy of listening to music on vinyl.

What are some of the most commonly requested albums?

We get a lot of calls for Elvis, Sinatra and the Beatles, but we're also known for having the unusual and the hard-to-find.

Is there anything you don't have?

We don't have modern rap or hip hop really. If we wouldn't play it in our own home, we're probably not going to sell it to play in yours.

What's your favorite record of all time?

I don't have a particular favorite because there are too many, but Mama Cass' "Dream a Little Dream of Me" is really wonderful.

Even though Central Avenue has changed so much since the store's founding, you're still here. Have you ever thought about moving somewhere else?

This is our home. We've always been here. Yes, there's been a lot of change (one the street,) but I think it's starting to change for the better. I think city life is making a comeback. It's also more fun. Malls, for instance, have an endless sameness to them.
__

Blue Note interior

Blue Note is like a trip back in time -- in the best way possible. They don't do online business because it proved to be too tedious, but they will do phone orders and they accept most major credit cards.

And if you're not sure whether the needle on your turntable is broken or not, feel free to bring the whole thing on in. The store will gladly check it out for you -- free of charge -- and then help find you the replacement needle you need to purchase. They stock a pretty big selection of needles for sale, too.

But don't go looking for a Web site. This is the kind of place you can only truly get the full experience of by visiting it in person.

Find It

Blue Note Records
156 Central Ave
Albany, NY 12206

(518) 462-0221

Comments

"We don't have modern rap or hip hop really. If we wouldn't play it in our own home, we're probably not going to sell it to play in yours."

I have been there many times and love it but it sounds like maybe someone is trying to keep a certain type of people out of their store? How can you carry Dr. Demento (!) and "Frug" but not one of today's main music genres?

the shop owners don't feel okay about selling music with lots of explicit lyrics and such. they do carry some hiphop and rap, but it's mainly some of the earlier stuff. also, their selection is based on what people want on vinyl. they'd gladly order anything available if someone's interested.

I love this shop! The Pocks have always seemed an interesting family, to run such a unique business, and to run it so long and so well. It's a classy operation. I haven't bought vinyl lately, but was pleased to acquire several Moody Blues' 45s from them some time ago. And, where else in town can you find a replacement needle or cartridge for an old-fashioned record player?

What coincidence that Blue Note is as old as the first 45!! (See the following article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7750581.stm) I hope they will endure.

Nancy D
Albany

I bought my very first 45 records from this place when I was a kid back in the late 60's/early 70's. Now I am looking for any 45's by a 60's band called the Sundowners, and I know just where to call. If they're not available in stock, Biff will most definitely be able to hook me up.

I've had a long-standing relationship with both Avram Pock and Biff Pock at Blue Note. I recall purchasing my first 45 that didn't have the word "Disney" on it (Bohemian Rhapsody), and from there I added maybe about 150 other 45's to my collection.

Hi, Do you buy 45's and albums ?
Thanks, Linda

I shopped at this store in the 1960's....& I have great memories
there - as they alway had what I wanted & much more....I highly
recommend this store!!!!!

can you get cassette tapes?

I was actually the buyer for this store for a couple of years in the late 1960s and early 70's. So glad to see it still exists. This is pure Americana!

The first record I purchased was "Shop Around" by The Miracles. The Pock's are great people and can usually figure out the title if you can hum a few bars of it. Now that is talent.
DJ's rarely backsold a record if is was in the middle of a stop set or at the end of 3 records in a row. One of the reasons shop keepers are so important is their knowledge of the music.

I visited Blue Note often as a teenager. They always had
the 45/LP I was looking for!!! Great selection of music,
very organized and very clean. I have very fond memories
of Blue Note and I will visit the store should I ever get
the chance to visit the Albany area again......may the store
live on forever and forever!!!!!!!!!!

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