Tuesday, January 5, 2010


It is with great sadness that I forward the news in regards to the passing of Jack Goldberg, owner of the amazing New Paltz, NY, record shop Jack's Rhythms. Mr. Goldberg died last night after a long and valiant battle with brain cancer.

I knew Jack for many years and considered him to be a good friend of mine. I spent the majority of my late high school and college years frequenting Jack's shops, both the one in New Paltz and the old Woodstock location back when I interned at WDST. I remember first going there to pick up "live imports" of Pearl Jam and U2 concerts, but then once I started thumbing through the rest of his inventory, I soon discovered a cornucopia of new and different types of music that would forever change the way I listened.

It was through my years shopping at Jack's stores and having endless hours of insightful conversation with Mr. Goldberg that I learned to appreciate music in all of its forms. It was shopping at Jack's Rhythms where I first discovered John Fahey, electric Miles Davis, Syd Barrett, Sun Ra, the Melvins, Yo La Tengo, Captain Beefheart, early Funkadelic and, of course, Jack's beloved John Coltrane to name but a few. Whenever I would stop into his store, even up until just recently, he would perenially greet me with a warm smile and some intriguing chats about what's in heavy rotation on our respective stereos.

Jack truly was the dean of my music education, and I hope he knew how much I appreciated his friendship and wisdom these last twenty years.

For anyone who ever visited Jack's Rhythms in New Paltz when Jack was behind the counter, the following YouTube video should not be much of a surprise, perfectly depicting the friendly and intellectually invigorating atmosphere that wafted through the air the minute you walked through that old wooden door. And now that his dear friend, longtime employee and occasional IRT contributor John Lefsky runs the store, we can be assured that the vibrant, communal spirit that exists in this legendary record shop on Main St. continues to course through its proverbial veins.

Rest in peace, my old friend. You will greatly be missed. -Ed.

For a touching and insightful piece on Jack's Rhythms, please check out Zan Strumfeld's wonderful feature originally published in the New Paltz Oracle on November 20, 2008.

Jack and some customers talking baseball in the summer of 2007:

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