Caffè Lena, a folk club in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie Ani DiFranco and many others have performed since it opened in 1960, is celebrated in a coffee-table book, CD boxed set and an audio archive destined for the Library of Congress, according to a story in today’s New York Times.
The club is important because it was one of the folk clubs outside the folk centers of New York, Boston, and San Francisco.
“Caffè Lena was one of those iconic places that were strategically placed around the country and actually made it possible for the folk-song revival to happen,” Peggy Bulger, the former director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, told the New York Times.
It also may have been the first club outside New York where Bob Dylan performed after he moved to New York City.
Other artists who played there include Pete Seeger, Dave Van Ronk, Don McLean, and Kate and Anna McGarrigle.
The book is “Caffè Lena: Inside America’s Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse” by Jocelyn Arem, who spent 11 years working on it.
There is a wonderful photo of Dylan and his girlfriend at the time, Suze Rotolo, and the club’s proprietor, Lena Spencer, taken in 1962, as part of a slide show at the New York Times website.
Read the story and see the photo at the New York Times.