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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.
11 West 4th Street, Greenwich Village, New York, NY
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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
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.
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"
transcribed by Manfred Helfert.
- WATCH (Real
Media, 86 KB)
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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