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The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkeley

Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 09:44 AM
Leadfingers 11 Oct 06 - 09:53 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 06 - 11:39 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 12:14 PM
Big Mick 11 Oct 06 - 12:23 PM
Amos 11 Oct 06 - 12:35 PM
MissouriMud 11 Oct 06 - 12:37 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 12:56 PM
C. Ham 11 Oct 06 - 01:10 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 01:15 PM
Cool Beans 11 Oct 06 - 02:50 PM
Greg B 11 Oct 06 - 02:57 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 07:18 PM
GUEST 11 Oct 06 - 07:20 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 07:25 PM
Maryrrf 11 Oct 06 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,Allan S, 11 Oct 06 - 07:52 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 07:54 PM
GUEST 11 Oct 06 - 08:07 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 12 Oct 06 - 08:23 AM
open mike 12 Oct 06 - 10:39 AM
Peter T. 12 Oct 06 - 10:53 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 06 - 11:00 AM
SINSULL 12 Oct 06 - 11:11 AM
MissouriMud 12 Oct 06 - 02:40 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 12 Oct 06 - 05:28 PM
Barry Finn 13 Oct 06 - 12:23 AM
Fossil 13 Oct 06 - 02:21 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Oct 06 - 12:34 PM
MissouriMud 13 Oct 06 - 01:57 PM
MissouriMud 13 Oct 06 - 01:58 PM
Barry Finn 13 Oct 06 - 01:59 PM
Cool Beans 13 Oct 06 - 02:01 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Oct 06 - 02:11 PM
MissouriMud 13 Oct 06 - 02:40 PM
Amos 13 Oct 06 - 03:13 PM
Barbara Shaw 13 Oct 06 - 03:55 PM
Barry Finn 13 Oct 06 - 05:47 PM
Barry Finn 13 Oct 06 - 05:48 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Oct 06 - 07:13 PM
Amos 13 Oct 06 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Max Reiner 13 Jun 12 - 09:30 PM
Beer 13 Jun 12 - 09:43 PM
GUEST,Max Reiner 13 Jun 12 - 10:33 PM
Mike in Brunswick 14 Jun 12 - 12:12 AM
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Subject: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:44 AM

From 1960-1964, I spent at least three or four nights a week in Greenwich Village in New York City. I heard an amazing amount of good (and bad) music in those days. The West Coast scene was different, and to some extent, so was the Boston area. I'll share some fo my remembrances of Greenwich Village during that time period and invite others to share theirs about Boston, Berkeley, or Cucamonga.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:53 AM

Ten years before I got there Jerry ! I was in New York march and April of 1974 , and spent a fair number of evenings in Greenwich Village , as well as seeing J J Walker and Nitty Gritty at Carnegie Hall !


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 11:39 AM

Sorry, Jerry. Nothing to add.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:14 PM

Thanks anyway, Guest:

I realize that you have to be realllllllllll old to remember those days.

I came to New York City in the fall of 1960 to go to Columbia University. In folk music terms, everything seems to be BD or AD (Before Dylan or after Dylan.) This was 1960BD. My exposure to folk music had been the popularized, homogenized stuff (which I enjoyed a great deal): The Kingston Trio, Harry Belefonte and Burl Ives. Peter was still Noel Stookey and doing comic acts at the Gaslight Cafe, Wavy Gravy was Hugh Romney, and Dylan was still Zimmerman. Greenwich Village was very small town, in an exotic, off-beat way. Coffee houses were more often "pass-the-hat," and none of the places had a cover charge or minimum, and the guy or girl on stage was often the same person who was sitting on the edge of the fountain in Washington Square the previous Sunday, playing for whoever stopped by. It was a community, as much as anything because there wasn't any money to make playing folk music. When you'd walk down McDougal street at night, you looked out of place if you weren't carrying a guitar case. And nobody had nothin'. BD.

to be continued:

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:23 PM

I am very hopeful that your thread starts to blossom, Jerry. I think the topic, and the comparisons you seek will provide a fascinating look at how the 60's evolved into one of the most fascinating times in our history. These were evolutionary times in our society, with music, moral views, patriotism, all these things changing in huge ways. The cities you have chosen were the crucibles in which these changes were forged, and the music carried the message as it always had.

I sure hope those of you that were young performers in these days contribute. You were the ones that were shaping a young boy in Michigan to love and appreciate how music could shape popular views on a number of levels.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Amos
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:35 PM

The streets of Greenwish Village, in those days, were dirty. I looked back at some photos taken back then and was surprised at how much I had forgotten. It was almost depressing, except in the most beautiful Spring weather, to walk the dtreets. For one thing, the vast majority of adults smoked anywhere they were. I think, too, industrial pollution must have been much less controlled then. There was a certain amount of public desperation visible, too , mostly in the faces of thoe older adults, who had survived the losses and traumas of the war, but who often seemed unsure of where they were bound, and not too happy with what they had or where they had arrived. For the most part, those of us who were young (say, 17-25) did not have a lot of understanding or compassion for how these older folks had arrived where they were, what made them sad or grumpy. We were full of promise, and better ideas.

When you made the transition from a cold and dirty sidewalk to a warm, smoky, somewhat crowded "in-scene" in one of the well known coffee places on MacDougall or thereabouts, it was a relief. But there were odd undercurrents of tension even within those hip, laid-back places. Even then there was a sense that some poeple would become movers in the arena, some would fail, and there was plenty of judgement around for those who cared for it. :>)

My favorite scene there was Washington Square on a Saturday or Sunday. Anyone might be out and up and playing, and anyone could play. The tension of the performance and pass-the-basket venues dissipated in sunlight and the wonderful randomness of mixing circles from every point of the compass. You could trip over Ritchie Havens or Bruce Murdoch, or spend the next hour listening to high-schoolers figuring out a banjo song. The undercurrent of happy agreement that this was our music, and that it was a Great Thing, cured many ills.

Looking back, it has to be acknowledged that such a scene was possible because of an enormous economy, able to support the vagaries of so many young, irresponsible people indulging themselves. ALthough parents and middle-class lives (which most of us had connections to one way or another) were not "hip", they were a lot more hip than starving to death, which was really square, and would often be called upon in times of need to make the difference. Interestingly, this dependence was perfectly justified because we were the future, and we knew where it was at.

A


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: MissouriMud
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:37 PM

Jerry you're asking us old timers to go back a ways, which gets harder and harder to do, but as I had a chance (at a tender age) to catch pieces of several of the venues you mentioned I'll give it a shot:

As a teenager living an hour outside of NYC I was able to get into the Village once every few weeks in the early 60s particularly in the summer. Favorite memories involved sunday busking in Washington Square. Although the police had cracked down on the large group sessions in 1961 or so you could still get a way with it if you were a small group, off to one side (ie not in the central fountain) and prepared to run.   We'd get a group playing around an open guitar case, and when we had collected $1.50, we'd find someone who was 18 (legal age in New York at the time) to go buy a bottle of Thunderbird and pass it around. We thought we were too cool to be true. I doubt big names were playing the Park any more at that time and I was pretty young (15-17) to be hanging with them any way, but we had a ball with our little anonymous groups. Since we hardly ever introduced ourselves to our fellow pick up musicians I frankly have no clue who they were. You'd just see a guy sitting on a bench with a guitar case (I played banjo at the time) and ask if he wanted to play. I normally had to be take the train home by night so I didnt get to see as much of the club music which was huge and varied- but I did get to see a few highlights - Buffy Sainte Marie at the Village Gate knocked me out with Universal Soldier and Now that the Buffalo's Gone - I had never heard such passion and anger in a performer - made me understand what it meant to really believe in your music.

Cambridge/Boston (where I also visited several times a year in the laet 50s and early 60s) was a different situation as it seemed to me that most of the music in the core area was concentrated around Club 47 in Cambridge where Joan Baez started - I didnt see her there but I do recall seeing Jackie Washington and Tom Rush (his dad was my math teacher). However, more than in the New York area, the performers (perhaps out of necessity) would also regularly hit the surrounding suburban bars, restaurants and coffee shops - I vividly recall hearing Tom Paxton doing Rambling Boy at some little coffee shop out near Wenham.

By age 18 in 1965 I was in the Bay Area going to college close to but not in Berkeley, but I had plenty of opportunities to get over there. Joan Baez had moved to the area and much of the "new folk" music out there was very political- what with the increasing unpopularity of the war and the increasing demands of various interest groups, culminating in Peoples Park, the Black Panthers, and various student and other rebellions toward the end of the decade. The music was also transitioning into folk rock (Byrds and Lovin Spoonful), pop (Sonny and Cher), and psychedelic (Country Joe, Jefferson Airplane) all of whom I saw - so there seemed to be less acoustic folk than there had been earlier back east. Unfortunately my memory of that period is strangely "hazy".   Besides seeing Baez I do recall a great Simon and Garfunkle concert where I was close enough to Paul to see his fingers (I had shifted to guitar by then). In terms of smaller venues I ran into Eric Anderson at a house concert and saw the John Fahey do amazing things with his guitar (including bits of Bach as I recall) at an impromptu free concert in the Greek Amphitheater.   I never got to see Jerry Garcia in any of his musical phases but he sort of exemplified the variety and transitions that were going on in the music out there. The real highlight for me, while not at all representative of the local music scene, was catching Doc Watson down at Stanford in 1967 in a room that held about 20 people. We were all finger pickers and had never heard or seen anything like his flatpicking before - we were plenty close but his fingers were flying too fast to see. Been trying to play like that ever since with little success.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:56 PM

Thanks for that, Missouri Mud: And yes, Amos, Greenwich Village was dirty. New York City was dirty. If you lived there, you tuned that out, real quick. I still remember a wonderful New Yorker cartoon of a woman standing by an elegantly set table in an outdoor terrace of a penthouse calling to her husband , "Hurry up and eat your soup before it gets dirty." Same with derelicts and down-and-outers. I din't find them any more or less prevalent in Greenwich Village. Certainly, they were less ubiguitous than in Times Square or Houston Street. One of the reasons I decided that I wanted to get out of New York City was because you almost have to become oblivious to the suffering around you in order to survive, emotionally. Like a nurse in a health care center. You can't live if you are constantly upset by the suffering of others. At the same time, I felt at home the first time I walked the streets of the Village. It did feel human-scaled to me. Heck, you could even dawdle in the Village. Try doing that on Park Avenue and you'll be run over. I also found the Village very welcoming to the confidence-impaired. And I was the poster child for that. There was a sense of comaraderie (sp?) that was mostly real. When the first rumblings of the Folk Boom strated running through the Village, most people were genuinely happy when a friend was offered a recording contract.

Like most places and times, Greenwich Village in the early 60's encompassed the best and worst of people. It was all part of what made those days special.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: C. Ham
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 01:10 PM

Peter was still Noel Stookey and doing comic acts at the Gaslight Cafe

That was Paul, not Peter. BTW, he's still "Noel" outside of the Peter, Paul & Mary context.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 01:15 PM

Thanks, C: Dumb typo. For several years, I was getting a Christmas card from Noel. I never figured out why, or how he got my address. I can't say that I knew him. Just sat by myself at a postage-stamp table directly in front of the stage at the Gaslight Cafe many times when he was performing.

Jerry.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Cool Beans
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 02:50 PM

Jerry,
    I get a lot of Christmas cards that say Noel on 'em. You think it's him?
    But seriously, at Columbia in the early 60s, did you know Roy Berkley? A folkie, he was a friend of a friend, Richard Blaustein. The two of them did some old-timey concerts together at place called Kossuth Hall.
Marty


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Greg B
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 02:57 PM

>Just sat by myself at a postage-stamp table directly in front of the >stage at the Gaslight Cafe many times when he was performing.

Sometimes people like that make all the difference...


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:18 PM

Hey, Marty:

Yes, I knew Roy Berkley. As a matter of fact, when groups were materializing out of thin air, Roy got me and Maria Muldaur together one evening to see if we could play together. It sounds more like a weird dream to me now, looking back on it. It certainly didn't take very long to find out that we would make a horrible combination.
Roy went on after that and formed a string band ... was it the Old Reliable String Band, that cut one album for Folkways? (I think.)

The ghosts of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland on a drug-induced trip hung over the Village in the early 60's with a variant of "Let's put on a show," being "Let's form a group!"

The thing about Greenwich Village that attracted me as much as the music, was the willingness to accept people (for the most part) as they were. Like a large Mister Rogers Neighborhood. I'd always felt a little foreign to the planet in those days. When I first "Discovered" the Village, I felt immediately at home, even though I was a clean machine and not into drugs or hopping into the sack with every 14 year old runaway girl from Tenafly. Somehow, it didn't seem to make a difference. The only other time in my life where I felt immediately at home in a new environment was the first time I went to a black Baptist Church. Go figure. I guess that in both instances, I felt comfortable being who I was, with no pretences. I think that the folk community has always been very giving in that way, and despite some sniping that goes on here, I think it's true of the Cat, as well. That's nothing to take for granted.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:20 PM

I agree about the Village and some church congregations. Not about Mudcat. Just an opinion.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:25 PM

Yeah, Mudcat is probably pushing it, Guest. There is still that same spirit among many of us, but it too often gets squelched by the back-biting.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Maryrrf
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:39 PM

Thanks to those who shared their recollections. I would love to have experienced the village in those days. By the early 80's, when I lived in the New York area and went to the Greenwich Village sometimes, everything had changed.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: GUEST,Allan S,
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:52 PM

Hi Jerry some how I remember you from the Yale hoots or the Enormas room at Yale I am still trying to find out what happened to Anne Byrd/Bird Margaret Wagner Anne lived in NYC and rode a motorcycle in to New Haven for the Hoots Margaret/Maggie Was a Grad student at Yale and later moved to NY   Do you have any idea what became of them We still have a yearly reunion of the old Yalies
Allan


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:54 PM

Hey, Mary:

Things changed very rapidly in the mid and late 60's. When I moved out of New York City, I was still just a 50 minute train ride into New York, and I continued to go in to the Village. But, everything changed radically over a short period of time. Where I could sit for a whole evening, nursing a cup or two of coffee at the Gaslight Cafe and listen to two or three long sets by a performer, they instituted a cover charge and emptied the place between "Shows." Shows? Yep. The Village was increasingly heavily hyped as a tourist attraction, and the people I knew couldn't afford to go to hear the music in many of the places we'd hung out. If I'd been wiser, I would have started a "Rent-A-Hippie" service and cleaned up.
The Village sprang back to life a little in the 70's and 80's with Fast Folk, and there still is a loyal group in NYC who keep the music alive. But, it will most likely never be the same. Or, if if ever comes back, it will be in another low-rent district. They tried to shift much of the Village atmosphere to the East Village in the 80's, but it was mostly upscale art galleries and restaurants.

A good example of the change is that I'd hear Tom Paxton all the time for the price of a couple of cups of coffee at the Gaslight (where he recorded his first album on the Gaslight label... which I still have.) In the 70's I went down to hear him and had to buy rather expensive tickets that afternoon, and heard a 45 minute "show." Tom hadn't changed, but the atmopshere was very different.

Someone used the term "star" in one of these threads recently. I'd have to go back and see if it was in this one. There were no "stars"
in the Village in the early sixties. BD, that is. Actually, the whole concept of a folk "Star" is rather humorous. Folk "Stars" sell fewer albums than a rock group does as a test pressing. Stardom isn't what it's all about, and Paxton, Van Ronk, LeFarge. Sky and the rest would have laughed at the concept. One of the jokes going around back in those days, when the Prestige label started recording folk music, through the efforts of Ken Goldstein was "I record for Prestige, but I'd rather record for money."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 08:07 PM

You'll know who this is, Jerry.

My first writing contract--I hit the BIG TIME, with rent covered and enough food to get by on every month--was for $70 per month. Rent was $8 a week on 14th Street and 8th Avenue, cockroaches included. Food was the other $38 a month. The basket houses were for extras, like clothes and smokes.

I too recall when Sam had to make the Gaslight go to three sets a night with a cover for each set. Sad times. But the club changed ownership shortly after that. I recall one performer (won't mention him by name) who was then pulling down $1000 per concert. Sam asked him to play the club. The fellow knew that Sam and the club were hurtin', so when he said all he could pay was about $500 for the three days, the performer replied, "Either pay me what I want or don't pay me at all." He did the gig for free, just to thank Sam who'd given him his first BIG club spotlight.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 08:23 AM

My experience with the Boston folk music scene was very limited during the Club 47 era. We heard a lot about some of the musicians there: I bought Jackie Washington's and Joan Baez's first album even though I never saw any notice that they were playing in New York in the early 60's. Jim Kweskin came to the Gaslight once, and I really enjoyed him, and when he started his jugband, even though I had moved out of the City, I came down to hear him with his band, once.
It's not that there weren't a lot of folk singers coming into the city. Even though I was on a peanut butter diet (all I could afford half the time) I did get to see the New Lost City Ramblers, Doc Watson, Jesse Fuller, Mississippi John Hurt, Lightning Hopkins, Reverend Gary Davis and one or two others. There just wasn't a lot of polination between Boston and New York. Probably money involved, as very few people had cars as the coffee house circuit paid next to nothing.

The wonderful thing about those days though, was that you were likely to stumble across the most unexpected music at any time. Once, someone brought Arlo Guthrie to the Gaslight (when he was probably fifteen or sixteen) and he did a short guest set. He hadn't found his own voice at that time... was much more Peter, Paul and Mary than Woody. Johnny Cash dropped by one time, either stinking drunk or high (or maybe both) and did a couple of songs. Barely. Dylan was too big for the Gaslight, before he was too big, but he did drop by once. Cisco Houston even came by to listen, although he was too ill to sing by then, and Jack Elliott dropped in at a hootenanny and came over and sat with me after I'd done a couple of numbers: which was a very great honor for me, as I expected I would empty the place when I got up to sing. Richie Havens and Tiny Tim were performing in pass the plate coffee houses like the Fat Black Pussy Cat where you could get a burger and fries for one set. Peter Stampfel and Pete Weber were everywhere, before they were the Holy Modal Rounders, and walking down Bleeker Street, it was no surprise to look through the window of one of the small coffee houses to see Reverend Gary Davis playing for what he could pick up from tips. The regulars at the Monday night Hoots at the Gaslight were another story... a crazy mix of people who got up, scared to death and introduced each song with "I will now attempt to play": as if they were attempting to do a triple somersault on the trapeze without a net (and they were,) to Tom Paxton, Dave Van Ronk, and a slew of up and coming comedians, including Bill Cosby and Hugh Romney .At that time, even though some people were well known (but not stars,) everyone seemed pretty accessible and friendly.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: open mike
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:39 AM

Does anyone have any interesting anecdotes (or anti-dotes) regarding the New Lost City Ramblers? Tom Paley is touring the west coast right now and some of the other band members are also having reunion concerts.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:53 AM

I can remember in 1965 going on a choir tour (those were the days) of New England, and daringly spending an evening (in my school blazer, which got me commented on by a very nice whore, I wince to think of it) in clubs in Greenwich Village and the next week going to see people in the burgeoning Toronto Village (Yorkville). I felt that was some sort of crossborder triumph.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 11:00 AM

I wasn't old enough to catch the village in its heyday, but as Jerry mentioned there was a bit of a renaissance in the late 70's and early 80's with Fast Folk. That scene flourished without a lot of interference from commercial influences - but once Suzanne Vega and Shawn Colvin were signed, you could feel the change.   I rarely go back to the Village these days, it has changed - but that is to be expected. Nothing stays the same.

A lot of "the scene" has actually shifted to places like Brooklyn and Hoboken. Some great music and opportunites to perform exist there.

I once had a conversation with Rod MacDonald about those Village days. In retrospect, he felt that they were existing in a "white ghetto" of sorts.   Basically middle class kids sharing the same interests. In recent years we are hearing more and more artists who are from different parts of the country, and the diversity and experience is creating some great music and regional styles that are not homogenized through one specific "scene".

In a way, the internet has replaced the Village. Mudcat sounds like those basket houses, except we each hear our own music.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: SINSULL
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 11:11 AM

I was all of 13 when I discovered Joan Baez and Greenwich Village. I had forgotten those "forbidden" hours spent hoping to spot Bob Dylan. Dad would have had a fit. We did actually follow him down the street once from an adoring distance.
On the outside looking in. Adolescence is a bitch.
By the time I was in college, it was a perfect cheap date - hot mulled cider and pitchers of beer with poetry readings and music. But I was still on the outside looking in.
SINS


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: MissouriMud
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 02:40 PM

Jerry

You mention that there were no "stars" in the Village in the early 60s - and that may have been the way it was from the perspective of the locals.   However to a folk bitten 16 year old from the burbs,anyone who was good enough to perform in a club and get paid, let alone cut a record, was a star.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 05:28 PM

Dang, MissouriMud: That makes me a star!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:-)

Not as big a star as Barbra Streisand or Mel Gibson, though.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 12:23 AM

Hi Jerry
I was a bit young for the Boston scene but old enough to catch the end of it's early stages (I sort of divide it by early = Club 47 era or pre Passim's & late = the rebirth of it as Passim's or post Club 47 era), though that was around the timing of my intro into folk, I was really into blues before that, so). I never made it over to Cambridge much (the other/far side of Boston for a local teen aged boy) except for the "Music/Love-In's" but I did manage to hit the Club 47 once (maybe twice) before it changed over to Passim's but I can't remember who it was I caught, maybe Jim Kweskin & his troupe of juggers, I don't know if I ever caught Mel in the company though, I did hear him Jim & co. often later. I think that the protest music from the war, the blues & folk scenes, psychedelic music & the blending or overlapping of these types of music at the same circuits or venues helped push at least the blues & folk music genres & helped with their growth & exposure at least in the Boston/Cambridge area along with them both being College burdened area (that's not a bad thing).

I did get into the Plough (at 16, 1st place I was ever severed) on Mass ave a few times & caught Spider John & alot later when I became of age. I often thought that I was too young to have caught the best part of the Cambridge/Harvard Sq era. Mostly I stayed on my side or the river. I mostly went in for the blues during that time it had quite a following back then which eventually lead me into folk. There were plenty of venues for blues. I remember catching John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters, Sonny & Brownie, John Hurt & a host of others then the next weekend hearing the likes of Gracie Slick, Janis Joplin, Country Joe & others at the same venues. It just happens that hearing Dave Van Ronk, (because of his association with the blues) probably at 17, in the cellar of a church at/near the corner of Mass Av & Boylston St is what 1st really drew me into folk & eventually away from the blues. I eventually fell away from Blues & folk around the end of high school (1968-9), though I did manage to hit the last 2 or 3 Newport Folk Festivals (again I divide these by pre 70's & post 80's-90's fests.??) but stayed with the likes of psychedelic music & drugs until the mid 70's. I almost always traveled alone, almost all my friends weren't into any of this music except the psychedelic stuff. But there were really many places for a teen like me to go to. After that & the drugs I renewed my love affair around the later 70's with folk but not the blues nor the drugs. Mostly by then it was Passim's & a couple of other coffeehouses, concerts & some festivals put on by the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston (& other events by them), the Joy of Movement Center & the one man dynamo, Peter Johnston, who still once & a while produces a concert. Well, there you go, not that much but thanks for reminding me of the memories. Today there's a tremendous amount of venues within a 100 mile radius of Boston that you could go on for ages going out every night & never hear the same act twice yearly & I believe it's directly linked to its past history & those days.

Barry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Fossil
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 02:21 AM

Good thread, guys and a potentially important one. Keep it up!


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 12:34 PM

Hey, Barry:

Peter Johnson! Egads!!! I hadn't thought about him in years. I did a concert for him in Boston back in the late 60's, or thereabouts. It was one of the stranger experiences of my life. For starters, anyone who wanted to do a guest set was invited to perform at the start of the concert. Without any exageration, there must have been at least eight or ten performers before me (one of whom did at least a twenty minute "set.") I had a couple of friends who came to hear me who finally had to leave before I even got a chance to sing. I had to cut my set down to a single half-hour in order to get out in time. I shoulda opened for myself, and I would have had almost as much time, and the friends who came to hear me wouldn't have had to leave before I sang.

But that wasn't the strangest part. It was the organic carrot salesman. I crashed that night at Peter's, as did another guy who was very friendly, if a little spaced out. He had just gotten a terrific deal on a couple of bushels of organic carrots and was expecting to make a killing. Unfortunately, the bottom had just fallen out of the organic carrot market, and he was stuck with two bushels of flaccid carrots. Nobody wants to eat a carrot that folds over when you pick it up, even if it is organic. But, it had been a strange and frustrating night, haven driven a couple of hundred miles to be almost an after thought at my own concert, so I found consolation in munching on a flaccid carrot or two.

We all seek comfort where we can find it.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: MissouriMud
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 01:57 PM


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: MissouriMud
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 01:58 PM

Ahh - so thats what happens when you press the submit button before you write anything......

Jerry - you are definitely a star!

As to Club 47 and the Boston scene - I only went to the club 2 or 3 times.   My most vivid memories are actually of a guitar shop on the same or a nearby block of Mount Auburn Street, where I got my first banjo in November 1960. I was 13 and visiting my brother at Harvard, and had decided I wanted to be available when the Kingston Trio needed to replace Dave Guard. The club was advertising a benefit concert to bail out one of their regular performers (possibly Jackie Washington) who had been charged with some sort of crime that I dont now recall.   There were posters all over the shop and nearby kiosks. At the time I didnt know who most of the performers were but it was a really cool concert. The club seemed very small for what I was expecting, perhaps because it was so crowded.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 01:59 PM

Hi Jerry
Yup, many experiences with Peter were strange back then but always memorable &enjoyable, at least when you look back on them. I still get to see & talk with him from time to time & he still promotes a concert one & a while. Nothing strange though, time has mellowed him out. Here's a few threads on Peter if you want to back & see "what a long strange trip it's been".

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=14725#145657

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=27252#334472

If a clone could do a blue clicky, that'd be nice.

Thanks

Barry

Your wish is my command, Barry. Mudelf


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Cool Beans
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 02:01 PM

The Flaccid Carrot? Wasn't that a coffeehouse in Schenectady?


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 02:11 PM

Very, cool, Beans! LOL

My favorite was an actual, fine coffee house called The Closing Circle. I could never remember the name, so I jokingly started refering to it as The Tightening Sphincter, No offense meant... :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: MissouriMud
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 02:40 PM

Regarding Berkeley - I havent heard much on the thread about the folk scene there.   I know that San Francisco had places like the Hungry I and Purple Onion where the Kingston Trio and Smothers Brothers started in the late 1950s   - but I dont have much feel for whether the Bay Area really had many forums (fora?)for the same type of music and on the same scale as the Village/Cambridge.   When I got out there in 1965 the music was changing a lot. While there were coffee shops where people played folk I cant say that I was ever aware of any of them at the time having the same hallowed status as some of the places back east mentioned in the thread - Club 47, Gaslight, etc.   The only specific spot I remember with that type of "name" was Ferlinghetti's City Lights Book Store in San Francisco which occasionally had singer/songwriters (like Leonard Cohen).   I'm not sure if the Hungry I and Purple Onion were still doing folk music (or were even open) then - I never went there as if they were doing folk it was on a pretty commercialized basis. I know from hearsay that Berkeley did have coffee shops with folk music in the early 60s but I just dont know any details - other than something about the alcohol ban near campus lent the area to foster coffee chops rather than "clubs".   I went to some of them in the later 60s but I dont rememeber any names - the places I played at were farther south. Telegraph Avenue was a sight to behold but I remember more music being played outdoors than anywhere else   - as I said before my memory of the Bay Area in the mid and late sixties is a bit impaired.

Can any one fill in on this?


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Amos
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 03:13 PM

There were two coffee shops across the way from City Lights where you could get an occasional gig; it was there I first heard Tom Paxton, IIRC, and learned "My Ramblin' Boy". But I can't recall their names.

There were others where you could sing for a free beer along the area of Buchanan, not properly in North Beach.

The only experience I had with Berkeley in those days (Autumn 1963)was to kidnap a Saint Bernard from a football fraternity over there one evening. Long story. We gave him back though.

A


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkely
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 03:55 PM

This thread is fascinating to read. I don't really have anything much to add about the Village or Berkeley or Cambridge, but I have a brief note about Hartford, CT c.1968. I was into rock & roll, but had one buddy at work who was a folkie --that strange type creature who didn't do drugs, ate health food, played a guitar, smoked lettuce cigarettes and went to coffeehouses where they served muffins and herb tea. He and his wife (who didn't shave her legs) took me to a coffeehouse on Main Street in Hartford.

A succession of young women performed up front, prefacing each song with a long, loving monologue about their Martin or Gibson guitar. I do remember one singing Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne." Most of the females in the audience were knitting in the dark.

After the coffeehouse, we went back to Bill's apartment where he played "Codeine" on his guitar and tried to show me how to do a few fingerpicking patterns.

None of this converted me to folkdom (yet), and granted, this was Hartford, not the epicenter of the scene like Greenwich Village. My only experience in GV was eating at some outdoor cafe and having a guy walk by and grab a piece of chicken off my plate and keep on walking! Sheesh. No wonder I turned to bluegrass...


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkeley
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 05:47 PM

Hi Barbara

"My only experience in GV was eating at some outdoor cafe and having a guy walk by and grab a piece of chicken off my plate and keep on walking!"

When I 1st got to Hawaii in 78 I think, maybe 79, I sat at an outdoor cafe to eat, turned my back & the pigeons attacked my meal & flew off with it. I must've looked like a maniac trying to get my food back.

Barry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkeley
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 05:48 PM

Thank you mudelf


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkeley
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 07:13 PM

And the pigeons in Montmarte, Paris must watch Alfred Hitchcok's The Birds in their spare time: when they aren't harassing you while you eat at the quaint outdoor cafes. Eat hearty and carry a big stick.

Sorry for the thread drift, but it's my thread and I'll drift if I want to.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkeley
From: Amos
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 07:18 PM

LOL!!! Usually when a seagull grabs your bagel here in California, you let it go and say "He must have needed itmore than I did". But a guy walking off with a chicken wing? Bloody hell!!!! LOL


A


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkeley
From: GUEST,Max Reiner
Date: 13 Jun 12 - 09:30 PM

My first visit to Greenwich Village was when I was stationed at Governors Island Fort Jay New York. That was from November 1961 through November 1963. As a draftee, I was quite lucky to get New York as a wish. Usually it was chance, not choice. So I was assigned to the medics because I indicated I'd like the Army to send me through medical school, even though my heart was in that rung of show biz called broadcasting. And that broadcaster from the Midwest wanted New York. It was an 8 to 5 job being assigned at Fort Jay Dental Clinic with weekends off, unless there was some other Army biz. So it was that I struck out of my own my first weekend free. I walked from South Ferry up to Times Square. Then by chance I took a subway to Bleecker Street and wandered up to a bar called The Dugout. To my surprise there were several members of my medical unit there. At that time, it was a rather low key bar with very few hippies. The small theater across the street was showing "Shoot the Piano Player." About a year later, I got a call from my girl friend back home who wanted to come to New York. She did. Got a job in a printing company. And we had quite a time. Other places our gang went included Emilio's, which was just a block off Broadway. Then there was The Ninth Circle, a regular straight bar where you threw peanut shells on the floor. The tables were large and circular. You got your peanuts from a huge barrel.


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkeley
From: Beer
Date: 13 Jun 12 - 09:43 PM

As Big Mick said back on 11 Oct 06 that this thread should flourish, I hope it does as well. Thanks for finding it Guest max.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkeley
From: GUEST,Max Reiner
Date: 13 Jun 12 - 10:33 PM

Need to correct some errors in my just posted post. That was "We had quite a time." And the bar was "The Ninth Circle."

--corrections made. Keep up the reminiscences! --mudelf


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Subject: RE: The 60's in Greenwich Village & Berkeley
From: Mike in Brunswick
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 12:12 AM

Berkeley in the early 60's, was still mostly acoustic. Pacifica Radio's KPFA used to have jams (or hoots or whatever they called them) every Friday night. I don't remember hearing anyone there who later became famous, but that's not to say that such people didn't come. They were the highlight of my week. Jesse Fuller played regularly at a local club. The University provided lots of free concerts and I heard Joan Baez, Theodore Bikel, Mance Lipscomb, and Mainer's Mountaineers (as well as Duke Ellington, Glen Gould and Mort Sahl. The Berkeley Folk Festival's first year was, I believe, 1962 or 1963. AS a poor student, I couldn't afford most of the concerts, but Peter Paul and Mary did provide a freebie.

Mike


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