Monday, December 24, 2012

FRANK CHRISTIAN - A man with no equal




A word from Lisi's heart...


'RIP: Frank Christian, of sudden pneumonia, brilliant international singer-songwriter based in NYC, writer and singer of "Where Were You Last Night?", member of original creative renaissance of Folk City and Cornelia Street troubadours and bohemians of the late 70's through 80's and continuing now, a true friend, the consummate gentleman, a reliable and sardonic cheerer-upper even when his own spirits flagged. He always had a good word, a bon mot, a spontaneous joke, a sly wink and considered thought for each person. He was suave, sweet, had impeccable grace and manners and felt things deeply. What a talent. Played on Nanci Griffith's Grammy-winnning CD, backed Odetta and made his own series of incredible jazz-tinged, virtuoso CDs. Insightful thinker, serious when appropriate, man of conscience, smart as a hoot owl in the highest rafters of this barn-with-its-roof-blown-off of ours, this soulful and eternal collection of cosmopolitan chuckle-makers, visionaries and poets. Oh, Frank. We love you. You are the best and we miss you.'

Odetta, Frank Christian, Folk City (Photo Teddy Lee)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

DAVID AMRAM AT THE GASLIGHT 12.15.12


David Amram at the Folk City 50th Anniversary


There are few people who can say they've performed and collaborated with the best musicians and artists on Earth. If we were to narrow the list based on diversity alone, one man would stand alone: David Amram

As a young man, jam sessions hosted in his basement apartment have included Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He's rapped with writers from Kerouac to McCourt. He's played with everybody from Bob Dylan to Willie Nelson to Thelonious Monk. He's learned songs and beats from people of Native Nations to Tito Puente. 

NO PERSON can give firsthand accounts of their time spent within the multitude of cultures, musical genres and artistic movements like Mr. Amram can. 


Here are a couple of videos to prove it:

David Amram with Dizzy Gillespie:

David Amram on NY1:

David Amram at FarmAid:

Amram has also composed the score for such feature films as 'Splendor in The Grass,' 'The Manchurian Candidate' and he collaborated with Jack Kerouac on the landmark 1959 documentary 'Pull My Daisy.' He was the first composer-in-residence for the New York Philharmonic chosen by Leonard Bernstein, himself.

He's been around the world and back only to come back to Greenwich Village this Saturday!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

David is sure to be joined on stage by his son Adam on percussion. Two generations of Amrams will play together at the famous Gaslight, the same club where Jack Kerouac burst on to the scene beside the elder Amram. 
This is not your ordinary show because this is not your ordinary venue.


Originally a poetry café, The Gaslight was converted to an acoustic music venue as the 50s became the 60s.

Former Gaslight owner Sam Hood was quoted reminiscing about performances like…
"Ramblin' Jack Elliott…. and the night Johnny Cash stopped in to do a guest show and Joan Baez singing along with a Doc Watson hymn and then, seven years later, singing along from the audience with Kris Kristofferson. There were a thousand things like that. And the nights when Bob Dylan would come in to work out a new song, to try it out in front of an audience."

Those were the days, but those days are not entirely gone.

My grandfather, Mike Porco, owned Folk City, a club that hired many of the same acts that appeared at the Gaslight.

Clubs like Gerde's Folk City, Café Wha? and the Gaslight helped usher in the scene that became known as the Greenwich Village Folk and Blues Revival. 

And now, The Gaslight at 116 MacDougal Street has invited them all back down to the cellar to make those walls rattle again.

FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO Presents THE DAVID AMRAM QUARTET live at The Gaslight
116 MacDougal St, NYC
Saturday, December 15th
7PM

It's a euphoric drug of a show with HOT JAZZ, LATIN BEATS AND WIDE SMILES. The only necessary ingredient is your presence. The David Amram Quartet will handle the rest. 

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

AL ARONOWITZ remembers the Gaslight



Excerpt from COLUMN SIX, FEBRUARY 1, 1996, © 1996 The Blacklisted Journalist





Sam Hood left early. He took one of the slats of the swinging doors as a souvenir, climbed up the uneven stone steps to the sidewalk, went into the bar next door and proceeded to get drunk. The bar next door was the Kettle of Fish, once famous as a local Mafioso hangout but, by this particular night, it had long since been overrun by every guitar-picker who had ever migrated to Greenwich Village. This was the night of April 5, 1971, and Sam had left the Gaslight for the last time. The Village Gaslight. That was the club's official name. Some people liked to call it the Gaslight Cafe. For thirteen years, it had been one of America's leading folk music clubs, a Mecca for every kid who ever had picked up an acoustic guitar and tried to sing a Woody Guthrie tune.

"I didn't want to get maudlin or anything," Sam told me afterwards. "I didn't even stay for the second show. Not a whole lot happened. I didn't want to celebrate it."
The Gaslight was at 116 MacDougal Street, with its twin entrances at the bottom of a pair of deceptive stone stairways, located on either side of the flight of steps leading to the shops above. The past fades fast. Walk past that address today and there isn't a clue that 116 MacDougal Street was a landmark where music archaeologists ought to start digging. I had to go through some double-takes and I even had to ask people on the block if that was the right address. Hardly anyone knew. It was January 13, 1996, soon after the Blizzard of '96 and there was too much snow for me to tell if the stone steps were still uneven. In the old days, there were six stone steps down in the stairway at the building's right and nine stone steps down in the stairway at the building's left. At the building's left, the steps now lead down to what used to be a boozery called "The Scrap Bar." On the building's facade above those stone steps, the Scrap Bar had once hung a motorcycle as a decoration. Yes, the past fades fast. I still remember how John Mitchell had opened the Gaslight and how Sam Hood had closed it.John Mitchell was a celebrity on the MacDougal Street of the late '50s. Greenwich Village already was long established as America's Left Bank, where the rents were still cheap enough for starving artists and runaway kids and where Italian bars and restaurants shared the street with silversmiths and sandalmakers and dress designers. Picturesque MacDougal Street was turning into Boutique Row. It already had won fame as a hangout for America's avant-garde and its sidewalks were always full of suburban middle class hordes, arriving like sight-seeing tourists coming to behold the Grand Canyon. This was when the painters and poets and other arty types were still called Bohemians. This was when the Village became my beat for the New York Post.


The Scrap Bar, 116 MacDougal St 1996


By the late '50s, MacDougal Street was as bright and booming and fabled and flourishing as a carnival midway, and I would have to look in the New York Post files to remember all the ways in which John Mitchell manipulated me to get a story in the paper so he could effectuate some scam. He was a leader in the movement to keep the real estate interests at bay when they tried to chip away at the outre population's elbow room in the Village. I liked him because he was always so colorful and therefore always good for a story. He disappeared from the Greenwich Village landscape long ago, remaining a local legend only in the memories of survivors like myself. Somebody researching those days will keep coming across John Mitchell's name again and again. He still has a dynamo of a daughter, Christine, a mother of two and a 37-year-old college student majoring in English literature in upstate New York. The subject of an article about children of the Beats in the New York Sunday Times magazine section of last November 5, she was quoted as saying:

"I think the Beats were extremely dysfunctional people who basically had no business raising children."



Christine's mother was the late Alene Lee, a longtime friend of mine, who did her best to remain unsung as one of the great legendary figures of the Beat Generation. Although Jack Kerouac turned his interracial romance with Alene into a best-selling novel called The Subterraneans, she avoided attention by winning the hearts and the friendship of all the journalists best equipped to write about her (such as me or Lucian Carr, Jack Kerouac's good buddy, who ended up Alene's longtime lover). But Alene is a whole other story, which maybe I'll tell you some other time.As for John Mitchell, I remember him as a master carpenter, a star con man, a resourceful innovator, a proud individualist and a cagey entrepreneur who helped establish the coffee house as a Greenwich Village countercultural institution, a peculiarly '60s phenomenon, a hangout that catered to the sweet tooth rather than to the drunken or unruly. The coffee house proved to be just the place to attract a generation of peaceful potheads. For the middle class, it was either pastry and a hot chocolate with the arty types in the Village or TV and Sara Lee alone at home.

John used to say that he discovered the Village while driving to visit friends who lived on Elizabeth Street, on the other side of the Village. He never told me where he had started out from. When he got to Bleecker Street, with several blocks still to go, one of his tires blew. John told me that he never made it over to Elizabeth Street because he liked where he was. That's how Greenwich Village attracts a lot of people. John got to be buddies with a poet who became one of the Village's greatest legends. The poet's name was Maxwell Bodenheim, and Maxwell Bodenheim and John Mitchell became roommates, odd-couple style. John used to boast that he knew everything there was to know about construction. He also had a great way of persuading everybody he was telling the truth.


John's first major undertaking was the Figaro, a coffee house at the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal. The Figaro became a big-time hit overnight, allowing John to sell it quickly for what he claimed was a whopping profit. It was certainly enough of a score to prompt John to try it again. This was in 1958 and, after selling the Figaro, John immediately began scouting MacDougal Street in search of a location for another coffee house. He'd already decided to call it the Village Gaslight. At 116 MacDougal, John noticed that there were gratings in the sidewalk. That told him there was a cellar underneath, but when he went downstairs to take a look, he could hardly stand up. The ceiling was too low. John couldn't raise the ceiling, so he lowered the floor. It was all dirt, and he shoveled it out by hand. Except, the city refused him a building permit, and so he had to load the dirt in sacks and get rid of it as if he were tunneling his way out of prison. At night, he would carry the sacks out into MacDougal Street and dump a little dirt into each of the garbage pails on the block. The Gaslight had a hard time being born.

The Village Gaslight started out as one of the first of the Village's basket houses, so-called because the entertainers got paid by passing a basket through the audience. The basket houses represented a new twist to the coffee house concept by offering poetry along with the pastry. 

This was in the Beat Generation days, predating the folkie tidal wave which later rolled in with Joan Baez and Bob Dylan riding its crest. This was in the Beat Generation days when Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso read their poetry at the Gaslight. Hugh Romney also read his poetry there and then reappeared as another persona, Wavy Gravy, the legendary clown, comedian and founder of the communal Hog Farm. Len Chandler also started out as a poet at the Gaslight before he became the biggest folk music star MacDougal Street had ever seen until then. One of the Gaslight's MCs was Noel Stookey, who later became the Paul of Peter, Paul and Mary. Paul's first gig was at the Gaslight. This was in the days when every truck driver would holler, "Hey, beatnik!" at every man wearing a beard. This was when beer-drinkers from Jersey would look for Saturday night entertainment by driving into the Village to beat on beatniks. This was when MacDougal Street was still a Little Italy and the small kids, young hoods and old toughs on the block would drop water bombs from their upper tenement windows onto the clogged sidewalk traffic below. The cops kept trying to close down the Gaslight. They wrote summonses because there was no soap in the bathroom or because there were no lids on the garbage pails. When the neighbors complained about the noise in the Gaslight, the audience was asked to applaud by snapping its fingers.


John Mitchell sold the Village Gaslight and then helped build the Commons, another coffee house, just across the street. Later, he rebuilt the Commons, renamed it the Fat Black Pussycat and sold that, too. At first, he went looking on MacDougal Street for a site where he could build another coffee house but instead he left the country. As I said, the past fades fast. Years later, John Mitchell was living the life of an expatriate in Spain. Clarence Hood, meanwhile, had bought the Gaslight in 1961. Clarence knew what it was like to be a winner and he knew what it was like to be a loser. He had been a self-made millionaire three times and he had gone broke three times. The Beat Generation was about to be supplanted as the relevant expression of culture by The Great Folk Revival. Clarence's son, Sam, later told me that Clarence had no idea of what he had gotten into or what he was doing.

"All my father knew was the lumber business," remembered Sam Hood. "He had also been in citrus fruits. He was a Democratic committeeman in Mississippi in 1949, but he was involved in the fight for Truman's civil rights program. Things got a little uncomfortable, so we left Mississippi. When my father took over the Gaslight, the place just ran itself."
The night the Gaslight closed in 1971 was, for Sam, like a death in his family. Still, how could he mourn a place where the pipes always leaked? Sam said he'd spent a fortune on plumbers trying to find out where the water was coming from. One of the leaks was right over the spot on the stage where the performer was supposed to stand to remain in the exact aim of the prefocused battery of fixed spotlights. I, myself, remembered noticing that John Hammond Jr., for one, and James Taylor, for another, had gotten all but drenched in the middle of their sets. If they'd been playing electric guitars, they would've been electrocuted. The truth is that John Mitchell wasn't much of a master builder after all. Not only were the twin stone stairways up to the sidewalk grossly unalike, but each stone step seemed to be of a different height. I used to marvel that no one ever tripped, fell and sued.

At first, Sam got involved with his father in running the Gaslight but then went to Florida to open his own club. Without Sam to help him, Clarence decided to close the Gaslight in 1967, shutting the club's doors with a big, though premature, ceremony. A new owner, Ed Simon, reopened the Gaslight in 1968 and, before long, Sam, at first reappearing as Ed Simon's partner, eventually wrested control of the club back. Sam thought Ed was running the place too much like a tourist trap. Sam was so successful in reviving the Gaslight that, two years later, he decided to close it for the last time.
There were hot, sweaty nights when the air conditioning would break down. Even when the air conditioning worked, condensation would rain from the ceiling. The legal capacity was a hundred and ten persons, but Sam remembered that when James Taylor played the club, Sam packed two hundred and twenty customers into the Gaslight.

There was a time when Sam closed the Gaslight at its 116 MacDougal Street location and reopened the Gaslight two nights later at its new site on Bleecker Street where the old Cafe Au Go Go used to be. At its new location, the Gaslight seated 320. With that capacity, the transplanted Gaslight thrived for about a year, but Sam's personal life eventually forced him to close that place, too. As for 116 MacDougal Street, Sam remembered:

"At first, I wanted to have a big party. I thought we'd have a gigantic celebration and move the whole show over to the new place in the same night. But then, as the day got closer, I got kind of scared of any kind of things happening. In the last two months, the club had never done better. I had to move it because it was totally stifling us. To continue there meant we had to continue presenting performers limited by the confines of the place. I don't know what's going to happen to the old club. There's so much music in the walls there that somebody will have to do something with it."
Music in the walls? It was such a dirty, crumbly decaying place that at first Sam's image made me think of music infesting the walls of the old Gaslight like tuberculosis bacilli surviving in the walls of a slum tenement. But after a while, I began to like the romance of the phrase. Music in the walls? I began to think of music embedded in the walls the way music is embedded in a phonograph record. Were CDs invented at the time? How do you get to the music in the walls? How do you rediscover it? Do you dig like an archaeologist? "
I think Mississippi John Hurt put more music in the walls than anybody else," Sam mused. "I remember his second night in New York. He had just been rediscovered. He was right in the middle of a song and he walked off stage. The place was packed. I thought he was sick or something and I ran up to him. He said, 'I just had to take a pee!'And there was Ramblin' Jack Elliott and the night Johnny Cash stopped in to do a guest show and Joan Baez singing along with a Doc Watson hymn and then, seven years later, singing along from the audience with Kris Kristofferson. There were a thousand things like that. And the nights when Bob Dylan would come in to work out a new song, to try it out in front of an audience. He did Hard Rain and Masters of War for the first time in the Gaslight. Until 1965, whenever he got a new song worked out, he would stop into the Gaslight unannounced to try it out in front of an audience. I remember the night of the Cuban Missile Crisis. We closed early and sat around the big table. Dylan, Dave Van RonkTom Paxton and Luke Faust. We said it was all over, the end of the world. Everybody just played music for themselves, with no audience. Those were the best nights.
I guess everybody took his souvenir. It wasn't anything to celebrate. Nobody wanted to be there when it was over. It wasn't like going to Janis' funeral or Hendrix's funeral where somebody or something died prematurely. The Gaslight had lived its life and it was over. As a club, it was no longer workable. It had a great life and it was over."
There was music in its walls, but the Gaslight had died. The problem now was how do you bury a cellar?
116 MacDougal these days
BLOGGER'S COMMENT 16 years later:
You don't need to bury it. It's still alive and well.
Photo Jack Hirschorn


Sunday, November 18, 2012

DAVID AMRAM- 57 years in Greenwich Village


During a lush life filled with good fortune, David has done it all. He identifies himself as "a full-time composer who is also an improviser, a conductor, a free-association scat singer," but that hardly covers the range of his work.

As a young man, jam sessions hosted in his basement apartment have included Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He's befriended and performed with nearly every Greenwich Village artist during the Folk and Blues Revival from Bob Dylan to The Roches. 
He was the first composer-in-residence for the New York Philharmonic chosen by Leonard Bernstein, himself.

He's conducted symphonies in major cities around the world and plays instruments from over 3 dozen different countries. 

David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works and two operas. He's also written many scores for Broadway theater productions.

David composed the score for such films as 'Splendor in The Grass,' 'The Manchurian Candidate' and collaborated with Jack Kerouac on the landmark 1959 documentary 'Pull My Daisy.'
  
And he's still just warming up! An endless supply of goodwill and thirst for experience has driven Amram to do what he does: Inspire audiences worldwide. 

"Listening to the AM radio in the 1930s, they had jazz and symphony music coming out of the same machine," David quips. Perhaps that explains why it was natural for him to integrate his classical training with Jazz, Folk, ethnic, Native and Latin music. This blend has led him to become a common thread between a venerable tapestry of post WWII American poets, musicians and artists. 



Been there, done that. 

It's an old cliche but how can it not describe the career of David Amram?

Been there. Done that

No more room left to tell about David. Let a couple of friends sum it up:

"David Amram is a national treasure"
~Frank McCourt

"David Amram is full of terrific beatific tales!"
~Lawrence Ferlinghetti
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


On December 15th, the world famous Gaslight Cafe welcomes David Amram back to MacDougal Street. He's brought music to the far corners of the globe over the past 6 decades. He's traveled a million miles only to come back home to the Village. Join us on this special event as David performs with his quartet and special guests in the historic space that is 116 MacDougal.

Friday, November 16, 2012

TOMORROW and UPCOMING shows at the Gaslight

Tomorrow night!!!!!!!!!!!


Friends of Mike Porco LIVE at the GASLIGHT
UPCOMING EVENTS:

December 15-
DAVID AMRAM Quartet and Friends
57 years in the Village! Celebration of a man who brought music to the far corners of the globe. He traveled a million miles only to come back home.

January 19- The FOUR O'CLOCK FLOWERS
Jalopy Theater standouts play for all the marbles. You miss them, your loss. Like clockwork, the new Gaslight house band stuns the crowd every Monday with top shelf vocals and a world of talent. String master Ernie Vega and the scintillating Samoa Wilson cook up Roots, Gospel, Blue Salvation and standards.

February 16-    ALANA AMRAM and the ROUGH GEMS
Brooklyn Songstress brings the jam. Vince Martin can't be far behind!
BENEFIT SHOW

March 16-
World premiere of IN THE CAN. Musical actors to beat the band. Details later.

4.20- Special Guest st*r

May 18- Freewheelin Jam. Several artists performing live at the Gaslight to play the entire album.
50th year since the release of "The Freewheelin Bob Dylan." Should be a doozy.

June 16- TOM PACHECO
Headlined the first show in this series Feb '12. Few can touch his songwriting prowess.

******Other shows mixed in as they materialize

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NEW SHOW ANNOUNCED LIVE AT THE GASLIGHT


Folk Troubadors LIVE at the Gaslight Cafe, NYC

At a young age Cliff Eberhardt knew he was going to be a songwriter. His Dad introduced his children to music and Cliff quickly taught himself to play guitar. He also had the good fortune of living near a venue where James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Howlin' Wolf, Springsteen, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt and Mississippi John Hurt performed though out the year. At home, his parents exposed him to standards by Cole Porter and Ira Gershwin. As an adult, he learned how to blend all these influences to make his own unique sound. 

Cliff moved to NYC in 1978 and began playing in all the great Greenwich Village clubs. Time well spent at Gerde's Folk City, run by Mike and John Porco, proved how New York was an "ideal musician's boot camp." Gerde's was the legendary club where musicians had congregated for many years to create music together, promote each other to new heights and learn from the masters passing through. 

Eberhardt became a professional in a Village that had a vibrant and supportive music scene. Cliff and other luminaries like John Gorka, Suzanne Vega, Lucy Kaplansky, Julie Gold, Steve Forbert, Christine Lavin, and Shawn Colvin stood shoulder to shoulder and recorded music on a monthly basis. Later in his career, his voice was heard by millions by doing vocals for Coca-Cola, Miller Beer and Chevrolet commercial spots on TV and radio. His recording career has been committed to his original songs. It's a catalogue of sincere ballads and swaggering stories that draw sincere emotions from his audiences, attributed mostly to Cliff's sincere delivery and musicianship. 



Award winning Nashville artist, Louise Mosrie (pronounced "MAHZ-ree"), has also toured extensively since deciding to become a serious songwriter. 

Born in Delaware and moving to the South as a child, Louise began writing Pop/Folk songs in her early 20s while living in Knoxville where she's produced two independent albums. Her latest release, "Home,"  featured a #1 Song & was the #1 Album on the Folk DJ chart. Her original songs combine Americana, Bluegrass and Folk melodies that tell stories of the joy, love and struggle of the deep South. Through the use of vivid characters and scenery, she creates a world of Southern life in lush detail.

Mosrie has been named Rocky Mountain Folk Festival Showcase Artist in 2012, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist of 2011, winner of the Wildflower! Festival Performing Songwriter Contest in 2010 and winner of the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Songwriting Competition in 2009.

Louise is an emerging star building a National audience. You don't want to miss her! 

Please join us this month at the famed Gaslight Café as we welcome two Road Warriors to a club where their craft is king. At a time when New York needs to heal, music becomes more than entertainment. 

Advance tickets on sale:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

MIKE PORCO BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE AT THE GASLIGHT

Mike Porco, Bob Dylan, Eric Andersen, Joan Baez, Oct 23, 1975
The Dean of Folk City, MIKE PORCO, was born this date 98 years ago. When he came to America as an 18 year old kid from Italy, becoming one of the most important figures involved in reviving American Folk and Blues music was the farthest thing from his mind. But that's just what happened.

As owner of Gerde's Folk City, he hired nearly every established Folk, Roots and Blues star to come through Greenwich Village in the 60s and 70s. Of course, he hired many up and coming stars who would later go on to become household names.

So many would-be stars cut their teeth at Gerde's and so many other recording artists from a wide array of genres landed work at Folk City. Thousands of Folk City's patrons have witnessed some of the most historic shows the Village has ever seen.

It was this date in 1975 when Bob Dylan, arguably at the height of his storied career, brought his entourage back "home" where it all began. The location was different in 1961 for Dylan's first gig opening up for John Lee Hooker. Gerde's was on 4th and Mercer. By 1975, Folk City was at 130 West 3rd. One thing was the same: Mike Porco still had a stage full of stars playing every week.

On October 23rd 1975, there happened to be a triple bill of musicians playing. Dylan and company got wind that it was Mike Porco's birthday so they decided, 'what better place' to kick off the Rolling Thunder Revue. On top of that, they could all pay respects to Mike on his birthday. Dylan waited and listened and spent time at Gerde's for hours before it was his turn to play. The party, as you can imagine, went into the wee hours of the morning. To this day, all in attendance STILL share fond memories of "the time Dylan came back.".

THIS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27TH, the world famous Gaslight Cafe on MacDougal St will, again, host a birthday tribute to Mike Porco. Recording artist and SALLY SPRING and her husband TED LYONS will headline the main event. The incomparable FRANK CHRISTIAN will open in what is shaping up to be one of the more memorable shows in the FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO series live at the Gaslight.

The night will start out with stories and tales from the life and times of Mike Porco and Gerde's. A few of Mike's musician friends will stop in to play a song or two and then the wonderful show starts at 7pm.

Come down and join us for the first annual Mike Porco Tribute at the Gaslight!
For advance tickets:
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4396289420


Sunday, September 30, 2012

MIKE PORCO TRIBUTE SHOW AT THE GASLIGHT



Mike Porco made thousands of friends when he was owner of Gerde's Folk City from 1959-1980. Hundreds of those were the musicians who played on its stage. 

Tonight, two FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO will honor him by performing live at the Gaslight in the first annual Mike Porco Birthday Tribute show. 

Frank Christian is the guitar virtuoso heard on over 50 albums recorded by people like Suzanne Vega, John Gorka, Christine Lavin, The Smithereens, Dave Van Ronk and most notably, Nanci Griffith. Frank accompanied Griffith on tours around the US and UK playing to crowds at Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall. He has written and recorded a couple albums of his own and remains a much sought after studio musician and composer. 

Sally Spring burst onto the Greenwich Village scene right around the time Mike Porco was considering retirement. He has seen it all and simple words of encouragement to Sally inspired her as she continued on to tour the world. Her most recent release, 'Made of Stars,' held the #1 spot on the UK Americana charts. Sally may be considered one of the original artists to have helped establish the modern "Americana" sound.

Her husband Ted Lyons accompanies her on tour and in the studio on multiple instruments. The two make beautiful music together! 

Christian and Spring may have different styles, but their connection to Mike Porco and Gerde's during their "early days" in the Village make them perfect choices for this show. 

Ninety eight years after his birth, join us as a couple of surprise guest musicians who knew Mike best honor him and Folk City with a song or a story before the main event. 

Get advance tickets here:
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4396289420

PRESS ON SALLY SPRING:
The force that has driven her musical journeys and achievements is "that singular ability to touch people's souls with song, to bring the emotion rising from deep inside the listener," notes the Winston‐Salem Journal,
"She's a treasure." notes Gene Parsons (The Byrds). 

PRESS ON FRANK CHRISTIAN:
“An accomplished guitarist and singer, Mr. Christian commands a wide variety of styles...A distinctive stylist performing distinctive original material...Christian writes and sings languid, blues-flavored songs that conjure up the New York bohemian life with a dreamy, understated sensuality.."
-The New York Times

“One of Frank Christian's fortes is the ability to write new songs that sound like standards—instant classics...
One of New York's finest talents." 
-Boston Globe

“Outstanding-excellent singer/songwriter/guitarist”    -New York Post

Friday, September 21, 2012

DANNY KALB AND STEVE KATZ LIVE AT THE GASLIGHT

The Beatles came to New York in 1964 and electrified their original songs. Later that year, Elektra Records released an electric Blues compilation featuring two songs by a young guitarist named Danny Kalb. When Kalb switched gears from acoustic Folk and Blues to electric, Greenwich Village's finest Blues players followed suit. Yes, even Bob Dylan.

In May of 1965, the Gaslight Café on MacDougal Street hosted the second ever gig of the BLUES PROJECT, a band formed by Kalb and fellow guitarist and harmonica player Steve Katz. They would later play on TV regularly and perform coast-to-coast with the likes of Richie Havens, Stan Getz, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and a virtual who's-who of the Greenwich Village Folk and Blues scene. They forged a sound unlike any other combining Blues, R&B, Jazz, psychedelia and Folk Rock.

Music critics have said, "Liverpool had the Beatles, but New York had the Blues Project."

Steve Katz went on to be a founding member of Blood, Sweat and Tears soon earning three Grammys and recording three #1 hits. In his spare time, he produced music for Lou Reed and was the Vice President of Mercury Records. But playing the Blues is the name of the game for Steve.


After nearly 50 years of camaraderie and reunion shows, Danny Kalb and Steve Katz are finally coming back to 116 MacDougal Street, The Gaslight. This is hallowed ground to all the musicians from the 1960s. The FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO series at the Gaslight has hosted one show after another with musicians who called the Gaslight, Café Wha? and Gerde's Folk City home. My grandfather hired so many of them at Gerde's when they were young. Come see how they STILL deliver the goods.

Shows like this only happen once and then they're gone! Don't miss this one! SEATS ARE LIMITED.


Advance tickets here:
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4061626434


Sunday, August 19, 2012

LEGENDS OF THE FOLK AND BLUES REVIVAL RETURN TO THE GASLIGHT


The experimental mindset and talent that redefined musical genres and boundaries during the 1960's Folk and Blues Revival will be back on display at the SAME VENUE where it all began! 

DANNY KALB has long been recognized as one of America’s foremost guitarists. He is best known as the founding member of the legendary BLUES PROJECT along with STEVE KATZ and Al Kooper. They developed a strong national following and influenced untold numbers of aspiring young blues guitarists.

Kalb attended the University of Wisconsin but couldn’t resist the pull of Greenwich Village which was in the midst of a musical explosion boasting the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, Eric Anderson and Odetta. As a protege of the great Dave Van Ronk, Danny established himself on this seminal Folk and Blues revival scene, first as a solo performer and session player with Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins and Bob Dylan.

The BLUES PROJECT was founded in 1965. One of the classic bands of the period, their The Blues Project Live at Cafe Au Go-Go won great critical acclaim and won them their first gold record. On this album Danny’s signature tune “Alberta,” a soft ballad and “Down To Louisiana,” a rocking electric blues, established him as one of the preeminent blues players of his generation. Four albums followed that cemented their place in rock history.

The Blues Project became a casualty to personality conflicts, drugs and the 1960s lifestyle. STEVE KATZ and Al Kooper then left to form BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS.
Katz studied guitar with Dave Van Ronk and Reverend Gary Davis. It was at this time that he met and befriended guitarist Stefan Grossman. They would sometimes act as road managers for Reverend Davis and, in so doing, met many of the great “rediscovered” blues men of an earlier era, such as Son House, Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt.

Kooper left Blood, Sweat & Tears after only six months. Getting their record company to continue with the band without Kooper was difficult. Auditions were held and David Clayton-Thomas was hired as lead singer. Their next album sold six million copies worldwide and fostered three number one singles. Katz continued with Blood, Sweat & Tears for five years, during which time the group won three Grammy Awards.

Not only were they pioneers in electrifying all dimensions of the Blues guitar, these artists still have their chops to this day. From Folk to Blues to Jazz, Danny Kalb and Steve Katz are as influential to the new generation of artists as they were to their peers in the 1960s. 

You don't want to miss this triumphant return of DANNY KALB and STEVE KATZ to the original GASLIGHT CAFÉ!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SEATING IS EXTREMELY LIMITED FOR THIS EVENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reserve your spot and come witness history as FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO continue to parade through 116 MacDougal St.

Advance tickets can be found HERE



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About the FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO series at 116:

Mike Porco was the owner and operator of "New York's Center of Folk Music," Gerde's Folk City from 1960-1980

Everyone from Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan in the early 60s to Suzanne Vega and Lucinda Williams in the late 70s got their start at Folk City.

His grandson hosts shows at the world famous Gaslight Café with the very same artists who sparked and defined the 1960's Folk and Blues Revival in Greenwich Village. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

PHIL OCHS PLAYS GERDE'S 50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK


50 YEARS AGO this week, PHIL OCHS plays his first paying gig in New York's Greenwich Village for my grandfather, Mike Porco. Mike and Phil would have a special friendship throughout the rest of Phil's years. Musicians would report back to Mike that Phil boasted about his first gig at Gerde's Folk City as part of his stage banter. He was paid $90 for 5 days of work and within a week of his first booking, he was signed to begin recording for Elektra. Fellow Gerde's first-timer, John Hammond Jr told me that they were both signed to record contracts as a direct result of their Folk City gigs. Hammond signed with Vanguard Records.

In the 1970s, when many club owners in the Village banned Phil because of his erratic behavior, Mike Porco continued to treat him like family. Phil and Mike shared a drink at Gerde's 2 days before his untimely death.

My father, Bob Sr, was at Folk City for one of Phil's last appearances. An angry patron was unimpressed with Phil's stage presence and demanded his money back from Mike Porco saying, "I came to see Phil Ochs!" My grandfather retorted with, "You wanna see-a Phil Ochs? Look on the stage. He's right there." No refund given, you can bet.

In an interview given to radio personality Dan Behrman in 1979, Mike's emotional voice is heard saying, "I wish Phil lived 150 years."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

BLUES RETURNS TO THE OLD GASLIGHT ON MACDOUGAL ST


Once again, 116 MacDougal St, the site of the original Gaslight Café in NYC, plays host to the FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO series.

JONATHAN KALB has played his Blues for more than forty years as leader of the Jonathan Kalb Band and as a Solo performer in the US and throughout Europe. From Gospel churches to major festivals and clubs, he has played a lifetime of gigs. Along the way he's also backed such world renown bluesmen as Lightnin' Hopkins, Otis Rush, Johnny Copeland, Honeyboy Edwards, Sunnyland Slim, Steve Miller, Bo Diddley, Solomon Burke, Gary US Bonds and even The Fugs. Jimi Hendrix has been quoted saying that he got the idea for using fuzztone while watching Jonathan play one of his performances with the Fugs.

Later on, Kalb was leader of the band with Evelyn Champagne King, opening for the O'Jays and the Eisley Brothers on national TV. He has shared the same stage with Luther Allison, BB King and Dr. John to name a few. His music is Blues based, but he has a personal style that has elements of Country, Funk, Soul, and Jazz mixed together in a soulful potpouri of sound. Traditionally based in the Blues, he has a command of all the country and city based Blues styles and mixes them with an authentic ease.

Press Reviews of his live shows say it all: "It was clear from the beginning that the guy is the real deal."


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PAUL GEREMIA recorded his first album in 1968, having been significantly influenced by both the rural Blues tradition and the Folk Music revival of the 1960s. Geremia has never recorded with an electric guitar hewing steadfastly to a traditional ethic with his acoustic playing.

For over forty years, Paul Geremia has survived solely by the fruit of his musical labors. In the 60s, he left college and hit the road permanently. He found paying gigs (like Gerde's!) and played in "basket houses" (like the Gaslight Café!) in cities around the country. Having abandoned all other means of support in 1966, he's traveled far and wide throughout the US, Canada and Europe.

During these years, Geremia crossed paths with people whose influences were beneficial to his development and understanding of the tradition. He worked as an opening act for some of the early Blues "legends" gaining an immeasurable depth of knowledge from people like Babe Stovall, Yank Rachel, Son House, Skip James, Howlin' Wolf, and many others, most notably, Pink Anderson.

Geremia has built a reputation as a first rate bluesman, songwriter, a "scholar" of early Jazz and Blues, and is "one of the best country blues fingerpickers ever." Paul has recorded ten solo albums throughout his career and keeps traditional Blues fresh and alive with his performances.

Join us for a great night of authentic Blues performed by serious Bluesmen!

Buy tickets in advance here


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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO AT THE GASLIGHT


Voices of The People return to MacDougal St!


A true folk singer at heart, ROD MacDONALD's place in the Folk hall of fame is assured by his hymn-styled 'A Sailor's Prayer,' a tune mistaken for a traditional song. His one of a kind sound has hints of rock, pop, country, light jazz, and blues.

Honorably discharged from the service as a conscientious objector in August 1972, his calling to be a professional musician rang louder than a path practicing law…to our benefit!!

Rod is also a co-founder of the Greenwich Village Music Festival and an original member of the Fast Folk Co-op.

He's made 35 tours in Europe since 1985, nearly all of them with NYC bassist Mark Dann, an accompanist and engineer with hundreds of recording credits to his name.

MacDonald tours South Florida with the Bob Dylan cover band, Big Brass Bed, but his original classics can fill the night with song.

Veteran singer/songwriters BEV GRANT and INA MAY WOOL recently joined forces as WOOL&GRANT, a rousing new duo that celebrates both intimate and political themes with rocking, funny, poignant songs, featuring beautifully constructed, heartfelt lyrics. They love singing together and it shows.

Bev lead her band The Human Condition to national prominence in the early 1970s.She was one of the radical upstarts in Greenwich Village coffeehouses when the Village still felt bohemian and revolution was in the air.

Strains of rock, Latin music, R&B, pop and more easily fused with the essence of smoky folk clubs.Grant was on the bill of Ochs' 1973 festival, "An Evening With Salvador Allende" at NYC's Madison Square Garden.

New England native INA MAY WOOL has also spent years on the road with bands as well as in studios doing session work. She serves up an eclectic mix of the jazz, blues and country influences with a wry, unmistakably urban sensibility.

Since joining forces, WOOL&GRANT have earned an ever growing group of fans for their unique mix of two very distinct voices.

COME JOIN US for some mid-summer fun!!

Advance tickets on sale here



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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

THE WATER AROUND U.S HAS GROWN


FLOODWATERS ON SEPTEMBER ELEVENTH?

Uncle Bobby lets out
New words
and smoke signals
On his second 9/11
Release

Let's hope that nothing obstructs
September eleventh from coming
right on time this year

Maybe he raises his voice
Maybe not
Maybe he reclaims the date
back from the Masters of War



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Sunday, July 8, 2012

LADIES NIGHT AT THE GASLIGHT CAFE


TONIGHT three veteran Greenwich Village Folk artists bring their collective decades of songwriting and life experience to the stage at 116 MacDougal Street, the original Gaslight Cafe.

Their careers reach back into the glory days of the Greenwich Village Folk scene of the '70s. All three have graced the stage at Mike Porco's Center for Folk Music, Gerde's Folk City.

PEGGY ATWOOD's music caught the attention of an Aspen local named Jack Hardy. They both would eventually take their talents to New York and make historical recordings with the Fast Folk Co-op: A collective group bent on recording new songs every month. She keeps the Songwriter Movement alive by spearheading the well known "Northern Country Music" shows near Woodstock.

Recording artist, singer/songwriter, LYDIA ADAMS DAVIS weaves a beautiful voice with her captivating melodies for audiences of all ages. Called a "Splendid performer" by The New York Times, Peter Yarrow has also said “Lydia combines warmth and magic to bring the long history of folk music home to your heart.”

JUDY GORMAN's personality shines through in her bold-as-brass delivery. Yet she can sing in a quieter, more compassionate tone to express her original songs.
Pete Seeger praised Judy's music and spirited message by saying that she "Shoots the arrow straight to the heart; a wonderful singer & musician."

All three of these FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO cut their musical teeth on the streets of the Village and they're back on MacDougal for this heartfelt evening at 116!


ADVANCE TICKETS ON SALE!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

VAGABONDO! NYC premiere at the original Gaslight




VAGABONDO! is the documentary from Todd Kwait and Mark Sebastian about the Singer/Songwriter VINCE MARTIN.

An unlikely film arose depicting two folk music veterans revisiting the places where they lived and made music; Coney Island, Brooklyn and Greenwich Village.
Through their conversations, we see the importance of music and its positive impact on the human spirit.

To wander the streets of New York City with folk musician Vince Martin is to walk back in time to the buzz and holler of Greenwich Village in its beatnik heyday. From an unlikely beginning, Brooklyn-native Martin quickly rose up the charts with the 1957 hit "Cindy, Oh Cindy", backed by the Tarriers. This earned him both popularity and scorn in the strangely competitive world of the Village music scene. But then his songwriting collaborations with Fred Neil, culminating in the influential 1964 album Tear Down The Walls, laid down the sound that became ‘60s folk.The film is a show-biz romp with one of the last genuine New York characters. It gives the viewer a seat at the table as Sebastian explores music, women, morality and mortality with the tough-talking folkie senior. (READ: F-bombs)

With a song on his lips, the singer transmits his intense love affair with life as a vagabondo, his Italian grandfather’s unflattering word for a wandering minstrel.
"Singing, that’s the only way I know to go." To spend an hour with Martin in the film Vagabondo! is to have your own lust for life refreshed.

Join us for this very special evening with the man himself, Vince Martin, as we watch the film and open discussion with the filmmakers, Todd Kwait and Mark Sebastian. LIVE MUSIC to round out the night, as it should!!!!!

Special screening, Q&A and the power of song all for the price of admission. What's not to like??



Advance tickets on sale HERE




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Saturday, June 23, 2012

ODE TO THE DREAMERS

ODE TO THE DREAMERS

I came into this family
With no expectations
No Facebook ID
No fears
Just my last name
And that was good enough for all of them

I was welcomed with open arms
And wide eyes
And gaping mouths
Amazed that I existed
And I am still amazed

Telling stories to me
Unheard of
And untold for a dog's age
Held in for just the right pair of ears

And I made eye contact with those
From the street
From the time
From the golden years
And I saw the light
Of the past in their eyes
Searing through me
Searching for a sign from Mike
My stare receiving
One love
For my Grandpa
A man of few possessions
Other than a club
Called home
By all those who made the street shine
Up and down MacDougal and 3rd
And positively 4th and Mercer
And points far flung
Yet rooted in the Village
International troubadours
Neighborhood heroes

Folk City was the home of the dreamers
It was "our living room"
It was "the Mecca"
It was "the crown jewel"
Once

But not now
Just a memory to most
A fortuitous gig for thousands
A forgotten footnote to others
And still unknown to less fortunate generations
But don't worry
I'll take care of that
Because the love pours through
Like a river carved in bedrock
Like a canyon in my veins
It carves through space and time
Into the hours of today

Because it lives in them
And it lives in me
Injected and infused
With the love and power
Of song
Poured out from within
Always in tune
With those who surround the sound
The song is heard in their head
But felt in their hearts

Regardless of sales
Or accolades
Or acceptance or fame
They held on to their vision
No matter the cost
No matter the loss
They stayed honest to themselves
To their art. Their craft. Their heart

And they were grateful
For the opportunity to
Show their wares
And share the stage
Shared by so many other
Dreamers
And crazies
And lovers
And ranters
And ravers
And friends and kindred spirits

Timeless
Endless
Immortal
For the closure of
Gerde's Folk City
Cemented their names
Into a time capsule
Fo' Eva'

It's finite and divine
Definite and no more
No more

They can carry it to their graves
Brag
Swagger and stagger
Into the sunset
As the ones who made history
When history was still being made
And it mattered

And it still matters

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

FOLKS FROM LEFT OF CENTER AT THE GASLIGHT


Get your freak on!
Kazoos, banjoes, washboards, a Galvanized tub and other appliances.
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Since rolling into New York for good in 1959, PETER STAMPFEL has been widely credited as a pioneer in the Psycho-delic Folk genre. In fact, he and Steve Weber of the HOLY MODAL ROUNDERS, first coined the term "Psychedelic" and applied the vibe to their music. They were able to take Roots Folk songs and distort it into something very, very different! Psychedelic Folk soiled its oats in the Lower East Side and gave rise to the New York City Punk scene.

The Holy Modal Rounders were almost the very definition of a cult act. Their legend grew larger after having their songs appeared on the soundtrack for the cult classic movie, "Easy Rider."

Stampfel then moved on to become a founding member of the FUGS in 1965 and later, he formed the short-lived (1975–77) Unholy Modal Rounders; known around the Village as the Motherf*n Unholy Modal Rounders. The Bottlecaps were also a creation of Mr. Stampfel.

Stampfel has played with several different groups of musicians over the decades and records music to this day. He's recorded with Yo La Tengo, They Might Be Giants and is the only living man to ever perform with Bob Dylan, Buckminster Fuller and Mississippi John Hurt. Have Moicy!!

Tonight, Peter Stampfel is here with the Ether Frolic Mob...a collection of like minded musicians….what can go wrong!


THE DIRDY BIRDIES JUG BAND bills itself as the
World's Most Dangerous Jug Band

What more can one say about the 'World's Most Dangerous Jug Band'?

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Formed in the spring of 1965, on the campus of Montclair State College in New Jersey, THE DIRDY BIRDIES JUG BAND was originally intended to perform for only two appearances at the annual Spring Carnival Weekend. However, the response to the performances was so encouraging, and the members of the group found performing so enjoyable and invigorating, that they decided to continue performing throughout their college years and beyond.


THE DIRDY BIRDIES JUG BAND increased their repertoire, sharpened their stage performance, and expanded their circle of performing venues to include many of the more prestigious folk clubs in Greenwich Village: Gerde's Folk City; The Bitter End; The Village Barn; The Red Garter; and The Cafe Wha?

They're still together, and still working on their masterpiece. It won't be possible to keep from smiling!


It's A SUNNY SATURDAY at the original Gaslight Cafe

FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO present the wildest show at 116 MacDougal Street yet!

Join the fun with Peter Stampfel and the MOB and Jersey Jug Band....what could be mo' better?

Buy advance tickets to guarantee pure pleasure!



Thursday, May 24, 2012

THE WEEK I FELL UPON RAMBLIN' JACK AND JOSÉ FELICIANO





.....More like Ramblin' Jack stumbled upon me!
I was downtown on my bike last Wednesday to hang a couple of posters at 116 MacDougal Street to promote the Stefan and Roy show and I was delayed by a phone call and then by an issue with the glass case outside the venue...and just as I was about to leave, in walks, like a vision, Jack Elliott. This was 4:30 in the afternoon. No one was there but the bartender, Omar, and myself. But Jack, his friend Jack and his road manager, Rick were in the neighborhood having coffee. They decided to walk down the stairs to what they remembered was the Gaslight address. They were right, and I was astonished to see him! I was very happy that I was able to welcome him back. We hung at the bar, naturally, while Reggae Dub played on the PA system. And Jack and Rick, an old friend of Arlo's, told stories of Johnny Cash and Dylan and all the usual suspects. Jack was in town doing a show the night before at the Highline Ballroom to which he said was one of the best shows he'd ever done..ever! Mainly because the crowd was silent, he said. I hope to book Jack back on his home turf sometime soon.

Then, two days later, after walking around lower Manhattan with an out of town friend, I decided to end the afternoon with a drink at 130 W. 3rd. The Fat Black Pussycat is there now but that is where Gerde's Folk City stood for the last 16 years of operation. On the way, walking north on MacDougal, we spotted a small film crew interviewing a man having a cappuccino at the famous Caffe Reggio. As fate would have it, it was another friend of Mike Porco. And I'm proud to say, a friend of mine, as well. It was José Feliciano! Of course, he didn't see me approaching but I politely interrupted his chat to say hi.

"Hey José. It's me. Bob Porco."

"Oh wow! Hey how are you?! Do you know not a day goes by...and my wife Susan can back this up...where I don't say Mike Porco's name or mention Gerde's? I mention Gerde's on stage every time I'm up there. And your grandfather made the best lasagna!!"

WOW

I didn't want to bother him much more but he didn't want me to go. So I gladly stayed and talked with him about the things I've learned about he and Folk City and his contemporaries. We talked about John Hammond Jr., Buffy Sainte Marie, Pat Sky and John Porco. But also we talked about John Wynn and Orriel Smith and The Café Wha?.

What great fortune for me to know and see these folks! If I'm lucky, I'll be able to offer them a stage to perform on just as my grandfather did 50 years ago. Fingers crossed!!


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Monday, April 30, 2012

STEFAN GROSSMAN AND ROY BOOK BINDER AT THE GASLIGHT


BLUES KINGS FROM QUEENS!


Almost 40 years exactly since his passing, the music and style of Rev. Gary Davis will be honored by two of his former friends and students.
JOIN US for another historic event at the original Gaslight Cafe on MacDougal Street NYC hosted by FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO.

STEFAN GROSSMAN and ROY BOOK BINDER will commemorate the life and work of one of Greenwich Village's most influential Blues guitarists. REVEREND GARY DAVIS taught Blues guitar to many artists who would go on to become household names; Dave Van Ronk, David Bromberg and Bob Weir to name a few.

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Roy Book Binder bought his first guitar in Italy while serving in the Navy. Upon his return to New York, he met one of his lifelong friends, Dave Van Ronk. Binder later became a student of Reverend Davis and later his chauffeur and tour companion. Much of Binder's original material was based on his time on the road with Davis.

Book Binder has been described as a "guitar pickin' hillbilly bluesman," and has been touring the country since his first of 11 album releases in 1971.

Born in Brooklyn, and brought up in Queens, New York, Stefan Grossman began playing guitar at the age of nine. His interest in the Folk revival was sparked by attending the Washington Square Park "Hoots."

He took guitar lessons for several years from Rev. Gary Davis, whom he later described as "one of the greatest exponents of fingerstyle blues and gospel guitar playing" and "an incredible genius as a teacher." He spent countless hours learning and documenting Davis's music releasing the seminal 3 disc "Rev. Gary Davis Live at Gerde's Folk City" recorded in 1962.

In 1964, Grossman and a group of friends formed the Even Dozen Jug Band. Other members had successful musical careers including Steve Katz (Blood, Sweat & Tears), John Sebastian (The Lovin' Spoonful), Joshua Rifkin and Maria Muldour.

With his friend Rory Block and also Mike Cooper, he produced and released one of the earliest (if not the very first) guitar instructional LPs, How To Play Blues Guitar and began the publication of a five volume series of instructional books.

He returned to the road in 2006 and tonight, Stefan joins Roy in celebrating the life of a man with no peer- Reverend Gary Davis.
Please do yourself a favor and include yourself in the company of such devoted deciples of one of the revered and influential Blues geniuses ever to make New York his home.

Tickets are $25 here in advance. $30 at the door. SEATING IS LIMITED

Doors open at 5PM

Two-for-one drink specials 5PM to 7PM. Showtime is 7 sharp.

Buy advance tickets HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RARE EVENT. VERY RARE. TINY PLACE. BUY A TICKET.





Sunday, April 29, 2012

LEGENDS OF FOLK RETURN TO GREENWICH VILLAGE

Perhaps it would be best to allow someone else review last night's show with Randy Burns and David Massengill. What a night! They brought their A-game and it was fun to watch them pour it all out for us to enjoy. Here's Frank Beacham's fine blog. And should you ever want to get an idea of what you missed, here's the link for complete video of the event which streamed for all to see live. (Photos Frank Beacham)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

50 YEARS AGO...THIS DATE AT GERDE'S

A mere month after the release of his very first album, Bob Dylan begins a week's engagement at the place where it all began for him; Gerde's Folk City. (This is the Village Voice ad that ran that week...sorry for poor quality if pic)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DYLAN PLAYS FIRST GIG AT GERDE'S FOLK CITY




THIS DATE in Gerde's illustrious history, Bobby Dylan plays his first "real" gig in New York opening up for the great Blues man, John Lee Hooker. Just weeks before, Dylan né Zimmerman had to make his choice of a professional stage name. To this day, he is referred to as Bobby by those who know him, but back then, he decided for the more solid BOB. (Could it play a role in naming a future double album Blonde On Blonde...? Or perhaps why he has taken the stage with his Never Ending Band on his Never Ending Tour closer to 8:08 more often than not...? Let's ask him.)

BACK TO 1961

The first gig was set up by Bobby's first agent/manager, Terri Thal. The library is full of names that may have possibly arranged Dylan's first five day booking, but it was Terri. You read it here first. Ask Terri.

Now, she didn't do it all alone, mind you. She had a husband named Dave Van Ronk who had been poking and prodding my grandfather Mike Porco for weeks to give the kid a shot. Additionally, many of the other performers and newly found friends of the Dylan character had also been giving Mike encouragement to give him some time on the legendary stage. Van Ronk later recalled, "Terri signed Bobby early. Nobody wanted to touch him with a ten-foot pole. He was too raw."

Mike Porco was interviewed several times about the history of his cabaret, and often he would retell some parts of how the events of this week transpired. One of those stories was relayed to Robbie Woliver who bought Folk City from Porco in 1980. The following can be found in his book, Bringing it All Back Home (Pantheon 1986):

"He was a nice kid. He didn't look wild. He didn't argue with anybody. He would stand on the side like a little orphan. I sympathized with his manners, the way he handled himself. Then I heard the songs and I liked them.

"When he got through singing one night I called him into the kitchen, which was my office. I said, "You did a nice set, Bobby. Tell me, would you like to work a couple weeks?" He said "With who?" I said, "With John Lee Hooker." "Ooh yeah!" he said. "Ooh Mike," he said, "great, great oh man, great." So I told him, the only thing is you gotta join the Union. Otherwise the Union comes in and won't let you play. You come tomorrow and we'll go down to the Union. I know some people up there, so I'll go up there with you." "Oh," he said, "great, Mike."

"I called up my friend Mike, the head of the Local 802. "I have a young kid who one of these days you're gonna read about. He's gonna be a big star."

...The man says, "Robert, Mike told me you're gonna be a future star. You're gonna be great. Tell me the truth-what will you do when you become big?" So Bobby looked to him to say, "I don't know." Then he filled out the application. (The man) told him to come the next day with his mother because he was only twenty. Bobby said, "I ain't got no mother." The man said, "That's all right. Come with your father." Bobby said, "I ain't got no father either." The man looks on his application and looked at me and whispered, "What is he, a bastard?"

So the man said, "I can't give you the contract because you have to be twenty-one...unless some legal guardian wants to sign." He said to me, "Mike do you want to sign it as his guardian?" I said, "Bobby, do you want me to sign it?" Bobby said, "Oh sure, Mike. I would appreciate it." So I signed his contract as his guardian.

So he played that show. He did the same as anybody else. They didn't break the doors down to come in. John Lee Hooker was the headliner and Bobby didn't get the applause John Lee Hooker got. But he built up a following from that show.

I told Bob Shelton I was booking him again and Shelton told me to remind him so he can do an article. I almost forgot. I called him just the day before and told him Bobby was starting his gig the next day.

By the second show, people were telling other people, "You know, there's a good kid, Bob Dylan." So the word spread; but the write-up in the New York Times broke him through.


And in another treasure shared with me by the interviewer himself, radio personality Dan Behrman got Mike to reminisce the week of the Folk City 20 year anniversary week in December of 1979. Let Mike tell the story himself again:

Dan Behrman- How were they at the time? How was somebody like Bob Dylan or Phil Ochs? What kind of people were they? Were they shy…

Mike Porco - Well some they were. Some they were very forward. They were expecting more than they were deserving. But people like-a Dylan, he was a very, very shy type. He wouldn't say a word. He never asked me for the job, I had to ask him! A lot of people used to tell him, 'Why don't you ask Mike to give you a job. He can put you as an opening act?' But he never come in and tell me…

...I started listening to some of his songs. I used to pay a little attention to it. To my knowledge, I'm not an expert but it made-a sense. The words were-a pretty well put together. And I said, 'This guy may be able to draw great.' so finally I give him a job to open up for-a John Lee Hooker. That was April 1961.