Bob Noguera has owned and occupied Strider Records at number 22 Jones Street for 28 years. Jones Street’s place in rock and roll notoriety is probably more attributable to a different Bob, one time neighbour Bob Dylan who’s 1963 “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” featured Jones Street and West 4th as it’s cover; as have we. At the start of the year Bob made the sad decision to close the shop, Deluxe spoke to him about the legacy of Strider Records.
Was running a record shop something that you’d always wanted to do or did you kind of fall into it?
Prior to 1979, I was a full-time college student but was working on weekends and summer vacations at another New York City record store which shall go unnamed. I always loved music and record collecting, but I had no realization that I would ever go into the business for myself.
Strider Records - is there a story behind the name?
My friend had chosen the name ‘Strider’ after the character of the same name in the film “Lord Of The Rings”. It just happened to be one of his favourite movies at the time.
How often do you see people stood in the middle of Jones street posing?
There were times when it seemed it was a daily occurrence. A conservative estimate would be that I was involved in at least 40 or 50 such photographs each year. Back quite a few years ago, I had a customer who was also a record supplier for me. He understood that I was always interested in anything rare or unusual, and he always searched every thrift shop in the area every weekend to see if anyone donated any records during the week. I received a call from him one Saturday, telling me he had just purchased an original copy of the ‘Freewheelin’’ album in one such shop for 25 cents! I said to him that he did very well, but then he told me he thought there was something unusual about it: the songs listed on the record labels didn’t match the song titles listed on the jacket! I told him to bring it to my shop so I could inspect it. It turned out to be what was, at the time, the only known STEREO copy of the album that included the 4 rare tracks that were later deleted. He auctioned it through my store, and the winning bid was over $12,000. Not a bad profit for a record he paid 25 cents for!!
Quite a few times I witnessed couples standing in the middle of the street with cameras and I assumed that they wanted to capture the Dylan “experience”. Most times, my assumption was correct. The problem was that a lot of these couples were not so familiar with the original photo. Some were walking in the wrong direction, some weren’t standing on the correct side of one another, and others had no idea where on the block their photo needed to be taken. I was always happy to provide some assistance for these folks when I could.
Any records you’ve had into the shop that you regret not taking home for your own collection?
Most of them were really obscure 45’s of the doo-wop vocal group variety, but there was one 45 in particular that I will always regret not keeping. It was an original stock copy of the record “My Bonnie” by Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers on the American Decca label. This, in effect, was the first record by the Beatles ever issued in the United States. Almost all known copies are promos. Very few stock copies are known to exist, and among those that have been accounted for, virtually none are in the practically new condition mine was in. I got some decent money for it based on the value of it back in the days when I owned it. However, if I had it now, current value of this record suggests up to $10, 000. I can tell you that I got far less than that amount when I sold mine.
You’re trading online now and still have an avid and strong customer base, do you miss opening up the store?
The internet has opened up a global marketplace for me. While I’ve maintained contact with many of my loyal customers, I’m receiving wants lists from a lot of new, first-time customers - especially from Europe and that tells me that there is no shortage of demand for our beloved old vinyl! Do I nonetheless miss opening up the store every day? The answer is a resounding YES!!! I always looked forward to a new day because I never knew who I was going to meet. I count John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Tom Petty, Susan Sarandon, Shel Silverstein, Johnny Cash and Patti Smith as past customers, just to name a few. I also miss seeing a lot of old friends from the neighborhood, not to mention the neighborhood and the Jones Street-Bob Dylan connection itself.