Carolyn Hester & Bob Dylan, Sep 29, 1961 (Don Hunstein)

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When was the first time you met Bob Dylan?

I think it was probably down at Folk City on a hoot night when he got up and sang. I was playing there for a week... and I already had made two records, one for Coral and the second for the Clancy Brothers label, Tradition, was just out, so I was a featured performer at Folk City, but I stopped by on hoot night, which was my night off. to see what else was happening....

And Bob was really startingly different than most everyone. He hadn't started writing an awful lot, but just as a performer he was so outstanding and magnetic. Anf afterwards we started talking....

...we talked about Buddy Holly and I told him that Buddy had actually helped me get recorded originally and he enjoyed that. But of course, I had no idea that Bob would be a rock'n'roll musician eventually.

He surprised me by telling me that he had been to see Woody Guthrie, and I said, You've actually seen him? Isn't he very ill or something? And he told me that he had gone to the hospital to see him, which was really surprising. I had never even thought of trying to do that myself. There were so many things about Bob that struck me. He was really different in every way.

The Telegraph, No. 43, Autumn, 1992, pp. 50-52.

At Folk City, I had just met Bob Dylan and we all went up to Club 47 in Cambridge and Dylan played with us. We went to the beach the next day and we were sitting around and we said, "Gee, we had so much fun last night..." and one thing led to another and so Dylan came with us to the taping at Columbia...

Robbie Woliver, Hoot! A 25-Year History of the Greenwich Village Music Scene, St. Martin's Press, 1986, pp. 76-77.


...I wanted to choose very carefully the musicians that I was going to use.... So I decided to have Bruce Langhorne, who had been playing a few gigs with me, on guitar, and Bill Lee -- who was Spike Lee's father -- on bass, who I'd heard on several Odetta recordings.

My dad had played harmonica on my first recordings on Coral Records and so I decided to have a harmonica player too -- who would be Dylan. So we arranged a meeting...

Was this at Suze and Carla Rotolo's apartment?

Uh-huh. And it was there that he taught me "Come Back Baby"....

Did he suggest any other songs?

I mainly just remember that one. But look at what I had him do on the record -- he did "Swing and Turn Jubilee," a real hoe-down thing, and then "I'll Fly Away," religious, and then a blues....

The Telegraph, No. 43, Autumn, 1992, pp. 53-54.


Carolyn Hester & Bob Dylan, Sep 29, 1961 (Don Hunstein)

"CAROLYN HESTER" (Columbia BPG 62033;
CD re-issue on Columbia Legacy 0 7464-57310-2);
(BOB DYLAN, harmonica), Columbia Studios, New York, NY, Sep 29/30, 1961:

with BRUCE LANGHORNE, guitar and violin, William E. Lee, bass.


It is IMO very likely that Dylan's version of the traditional "Dink's Song" (also recorded without his participation), which becomes part of his repertoire around that time (Gerde's Folk City, late Sep 1961; "Minnesota Hotel Tape," Dec 22, 1961) was learned from Carolyn Hester at these sessions or during her performances at Club 47.
Manfred Helfert.


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