Saturday, December 28, 2013

IZZY YOUNG AND THE FIFTH PEG- The first five months of Folk City

Back in early 1960, before Gerde's Folk City was 'Folk City' it was called 'The Fifth Peg,' a name given to the new venture/adventure between three relative strangers: Izzy Young, Tom Prendergast and Mike Porco. Mike owned the restaurant with the liquor license and Izzy and Tom were willing to book the musicians and take care of the door for evenings that Gerde's Restaurant would normally be closed.

Before 'the rest became HISTORY' there was the matter of Izzy and Tom trying to turn a profit. This happened very infrequently, if at all. Mike Porco made out just fine. Not only was he selling the booze, but Gerde's was a fine Italian restaurant, to boot. Whatever Izzy promised the musicians in pay wasn't coming from him. It would come from the gate, which Izzy (bless him) counted to the PENNY!

During our first physical meeting and discussion, Izzy G. Young could only recall in round numbers 'who and how much.' But between our first meeting and his most recent visit in June 2013, Izzy had found the actual ledger where he kept the most unbelievable record of the first 5 months of the club commonly known now as FOLK CITY.

Israel, a compulsive journal keeper, jotted down his intimate thoughts along with the daily on-goings of the night-life at Gerde's. For my purposes- that is- accurately telling the tale of the first ''honest-to-god-Folk-music-

cabaret'' in Greenwich Village, his journal (once thought lost) was a fabulous trip into the past. Looking through the pages, one can imagine what it was like watching the door with one eye and the show with the other.

Below, I've posted scanned images listing the unbelievable talent that was hired (AND PAID IN FULL BY IZZY REGARDLESS OF THE ATTENDANCE)  as well as the patrons and guest appearances that read like a Folk hall of fame roster. ENJOY, DAMMIT!

….and a lot of drunkards

Brownie and Sonny played 6 of Izzy's last 7 weeks

To the PENNY


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Interesting! Thanks for the wonderful scans. But I didn't see an actual year, just March and April of "the first five months." When was this?

  3. Thanks for sharing, nice post! Post really provice useful information!

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