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January 19, 2010


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Despite stories in many places (ultimately sourced to Chinese or Taiwanese publications), there are as yet no confirmed concert dates for Bob Dylan and his band in Asia other than the previously announced dozen or so shows in Japan in March. Bill Pagel... [Read More]


This book is going to be great. Can't wait. Did you ever come across references to Dylan performing at Cafe Lena in Saratoga Springs? When I lived nearby there were stories that he got his start there. I always wondered if there was anything to them.

Dylan did indeed perform at the Caffe Lena, but he was a failure there. Lena Spencer gave many new artists a chance, but in Dylan's case, it didn't much help his career. He wasn't invited back. While there, Dylan stayed at the home of a photographer who took an amazing variety of pictures which have begun to be published.

I have a previously untold story in the book of another Dylan performance around the same time in nearby Schenectady.

By the way, I went to Caffe Lena many times. The room was small, and we were always very close to the performers. I recall once I heard Dave Van Ronk there. A friend I knew invited Van Ronk to an apartment. I went, and a very drunk Van Ronk and a very sober me sat on the floor and talked.

Interesting about Lena. Maybe after Dylan became famous there was a bit of revisionist history going on. I went to Caffe Lena many times too, and remember Lena at the door. I wonder if we were ever there at the same time, Larry. Dinner at Hattie's Chicken Shack, dessert and music at Lena's.

I'm sure you're right, Stacey. Everyone wanted to take some credit after Dylan became famous. There were plenty of people who were shocked because they didn't think he could sing, and he was a strange kid. I tended to have pizza before heading over to Lena's!

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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Ringfinger was nervous
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