Monday, December 30, 2013

How Izzy Young Helped Launch Musical Careers of Reb Shlomo & Bob Dylan

How Izzy Young Helped Launch Musical Careers of Reb Shlomo & Bob Dylan:

On March 16, 1958, a week after Purim, T.S.G.G., Shlomo’s outreach program, organized a concert in Manhattan at Hotel Diplomat on West 43rd Street, a hotel known for its musical events. The event was labeled “Purim Song Festival” and featured Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach as “Folk Singer and Guitarist”. Tickets were available from the Folklore Center 110 MacDougal St. in Greenwich Village, a store for books and records that served as a focal point for the American folk music scene. It had been founded the year before by Izzy G. Young whose birth name was Israel Goodman Young and whose parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland who spoke to Izzy in Yiddish. His father Philip started his own bakery, the Borough Park Shomer Shabbos Bakery. By opening up Folklore Center, Young became a noted figure in the world of folk music. This was “ground zero” for the West Village folk scene, and it was here that the young Bob Dylan spent much time playing instruments, listening to albums, meeting other musicians, and writing songs on Young's typewriter. It was Young who produced Dylan's first concert at Carnegie Chapter Hall in 1961. So it would seem that Izzy Young was one of the original people who helped launch Shlomo’s musical career.[1]

Robert Shelton notes that Shlomo tried to influence Dylan "to consider his obligations as a Jew". See Robert Shelton, No Direction Home: The Life And Music Of Bob Dylan (New York: 1986), 413.

[1] Scott Barretta, The Conscience of the Folk Revival: The Writings of Israel "Izzy" Young (American Folk Music and Musicians Series), Lanham Maryland, 2013.

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