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  • HISTORY IN SONG
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    HAPPY TRAUM:

    I distinctly remember listening to Bob at Gerde's one night -- when the New World Singers played Gerde's, Bob came in late at night and we'd let him play the last set. And when he finally came onstage and started to sing, half of the audience usually left the club.

    Well, I remember watching him, thinking "This boy's unbelievable, he's going to become another Woody Guthrie" -- you know, that only a few people would listen to him, but that he would continue to influence people for a long time... I also thought that he would not become known outside of Greenwich Village.

    Bernhard Hanneken, Happy Traum Interview, 1982, first printed (in German) in "Michel Folkzeitung", No. 32, Mar/Apr 1983; translated by Manfred Helfert.

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    GERDE'S FOLK CITY


    11 West 4th Street, Greenwich Village, New York, NY


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    MIKE PORCO:
    In 1952, my cousins bought a restaurant in The Village, an old place called Gerde's... One day, in late 1959, two guys walked in -- Izzy Young and Tom Prendergast. They told me they were folk fans. I said, 'what's folk music?' Izzy ran the Folklore Center and they kind of tried to explain to me the popularity of people like Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Odetta... So, the folk tradition at Gerde's -- which was renamed The Fifth Peg at Gerde's -- was begun...

    Mondays are always slow nights on the New York Club scene... I wanted to try out the idea of an amateur talent night... I talked the idea over with Charlie Rothschild and Bob Shelton and they suggested I try a "Hootenanny"... I figured it sounded better than "amateur" nights: so Gerde's "hoots" were born...

    The hoots went on all night and attracted many of the younger professionals who were still perfecting their craft -- Judy Collins, Tom Paxton, Jack Elliott, Dave Van Ronk, even a very young Arlo Guthrie...
    One day, this young boy came in asking to play. He said his name was Bob Dylan...

     

    Mike Porco, "Talkin' New York," in Elizabeth M. Thomson, Conclusions on the Wall, Manchester, 1980, pp. 70-71.


    LIAM CLANCY:
    On a hootenanny night, on a Monday night, he got up and sang, and he started playing the piano -- and I -- "By God, this fellow has a talent, there's more to this fellow than meets the eye."

    He had a presence, he'd something special.

     

    Liam Clancy Interview, Oct 16, 1992, "Highway 61 Interactive" CD ROM,
    transcribed by Manfred Helfert.

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    GIL TURNER:


    His night-club appearances at Gerde's Folk City in New York have attracted predominantly youthful and enthusiastic audiences while the elders in the crowd seemed puzzled at his style of singing. Several teenage imitations of Dylan, harmonica, Huck Finn cap and repertoire, have already made their appearance in the Greenwich Village folk song scene. Although he maintains his performance is not consciously tailored for the young, the largest portion of his growing following is made up of persons near his own age.

    Gil Turner, "Bob Dylan -- a new voice singing new songs," Sing Out!, Oct-Nov 1962; reprinted in Elizabeth M. Thomson & David Gutman, The Dylan Companion, London, 1990, p. 65.



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