Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation

We continue with the theme of Greenwich Village, Folk Music, the 60’s, Suze Rotolo, Bob Dylan, and Dave Van Ronk.

Tomorrow, November 12th is the release date for the documentary, Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a GenerationDirected by Laura Archibald.

In April of 1961, more than 500 musicians gathered in Greenwich Village’s Washington Square to sing folk songs to promote peace and harmony. The result was what would become a symbol of these tumultuous times, police riot squads attacking singers and civilians with billy clubs, arrests and lines drawn in the sand.

The clash became known as the Washington Square Folk Riot and put down in the history books as the first ‘freedom of speech’ revolt, and only strengthened the drawing power of Greenwich Village as the place of change for a generation.

The movie’s structural binding ingredient is the voice of Susan Sarandon reading excerpts from “A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village,” a 2008 recollection by Mr. Dylan’s onetime girlfriend Suze Rotolo, who met him in 1961, when she was 17 and he was 20. (Movie Review, When They Hammered Out Justice in the ’60s ‘Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation’ by Stephen Holden, NY Times, January 17, 2013)

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Freewheelin on Jones Street in Greenwich Village

My son took me on a revelatory side-excursion in Greenwich Village yesterday as he turned me on to a “new” vinyl record store, Record Runner. Matthew loves to shop there and I became an immediate fan. As an avid music collector these past 50+ years I savor the moments spent browsing vinyl stacks in well-organized and managed record stores.

Record Runner is located on 5 Jones Street, New York City, NY. I was taken with the store owner’s interaction with customers as Matt and I flipped through the bins. It was fun to see him assume the role of tourist guide with Japanese customers as he explained the significance of Jones Street in record album photographic history.  Bob Dylan is a favorite son when it comes to the Village. Many of the local record stores feature Dylan’s music recordings lining their walls.

The famous photograph of Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo was taken in February 1963 by Don Hunstein. Dylan lived a short ways away at 161 West 4th Street at the time. It is a beautiful romantic moment held in time by the camera lens as the couple traverses slush filled Jones Street.

The late Suze Rotolo wrote about her life in Greenwich Village in the book, A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties.

Here is a picture of Jones Street from the Bleecker Street end, note Record Runner in the lower right corner of the picture.

I have every intention of going back to Record Runner soon with Matt to purchase Bob Dylan’s “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” remastered on 180 grade vinyl. 😉