The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55436 Message #864990
Posted By: GUEST
12-Jan-03 - 01:47 AM
Thread Name: Washington Square Memories
Subject: RE: Washington Square Memories
Well, as I told Mick in a short PM, I witnessed the scene in the Square a few times, but was always much too shy and much too intimidated by the instrumental skills displayed there to get any closer to the action than the outer edge of the listening crowd. This was in the mid 1950s. I was involved in a few off B'way (very far off) productions at a small theater called the 4th Street Theater. We did Shaw plays, just a few doors east of the great "Uncle Vanya" production that ran forever, seems like. Our "Man of Destiny" ran for eight months. Not bad for beginners.
I did hang out a bit at Izzy Young's Folklore Center before it moved to the upstairs location on 6th Avenue, mostly gathering books. Stayed briefly in a really neat apartment on Minetta Lane, vacated temporarily by a playwrite who was away in California trying to become famous. Compared to the loft on the Bowery where I was actually living, it was pure luxury, and I saw no cockroaches there, Art.
Didn't meet Jac Holzman until he was comfortably surrounded by walnut paneling on Bleecker Street (is that where Elektra was located in 1958?) . But Paul Clayton took me to meet Moe Ashe at Folkways in 1956. Not much of this relates to a Washington Square thread, but I did listen there a few times to the likes of Roger Sprung, Lionel Kilberg, and others. Wasn't it those two, along with Bob Carey, who made up the trio that first recorded "Tom Dooley" on a Stinson album, several years before the Kingston's recorded a remarkably similar take on the song?
I've seen Roger many times since, of course, and Dave Sear was at one of Jerry Rasmussen's Stamford Museum festivals, possibly in the 80s, and was still sounding so much like Pete Seeger that people did double takes when they heard him. That may have been his curse, rather than a blessing.
Oh, yes -- super photographer George Pickow took the cover shot for my Elektra album (1959), and Freddy Hellerman added some sophisticated guitar licks to some of the songs, far beyond anything I could play. I got to know Oscar Brand in 1960, but as Jean says, that's another story. My life took me to the west coast, then to England and Scotland, then to Colorado, then to Chicago, then to Vermont, so my memories are scattered elsewhere.