No offense to the other Bob, but he's been known to tell tall tales.
Was he a carnie in New Mexico? A hobo? Does his driver's license say Jack Frost, Elston Gunn or Robert Zimmerman? Only the shadow knows.
I finally had the opportunity to talk to the sweetest woman living in Riverdale, New York, Delores Dixon. We had promised ourselves a visit with each other back when we met in May of this year. Somehow, that engagement stretched out all the way until today, a sunny and blustery Bronx day in November.
It's not everyday you get to have pizza and chat with a Greenwich Village Folk pioneer. Her name may not be known in every household, but she played an important role in the propagation of American Folk songs in the early 1960s with her trio, and sometime quartet, the New World Singers.
Gil Turner, Bob Cohen, Happy Traum and a young lady named Dee Dixon joined forces to create a band that would go on to be the very first to record the most replicated and re-recorded song of all time, Bob Dylan's 'Blowin' in the Wind.'
It was on a record called Broadsides and legend has it that a young Bobby Dylan showed up at Gerde's one day with the song when he was finally satisfied with the final product. He 'wowed' Gil Turner with the historic song in the basement, and Dylan let Gil be the first to perform it for an audience upstairs at Folk City.
But the song had to come from somewhere. Of course, the melody had been 'borrowed,' in the folk process form of the word, from a song called 'No more auction block for me.' Delores Dixon became an accomplished singer and pianist playing such Gospels for her church amongst other numerous engagements and concerts. She was pals with 'Robert' and one day in East Harlem, they were tooling around with melodies and arrangements…Jamming, as it were, verbally.
"I watched him as he wrote the lyrics at my mother's house. He had a journal full of lyrics. He could put lyrics together in minutes. He liked the melody I had come up with.''
The other Bob is a little too busy confirm, clarify or to wax poetic about the past. But Dee Dixon just spilled some beans on film for me. Mr. Dylan also said in ''Chronicles'' that Delores was a dancer, journalist and from Alabama, neither of which are true. Make of it what you will.
I will be continuing to make the definitive documentary on the legendary Folk cabaret, Gerde's Folk City. It's called POSITIVELY PORCO. It's a story made by braiding together all the first person accounts from all the originals on the 'scene.' Delores was there. Robert was there. Gil Turner. Mike Porco. Arlo Guthrie. Odetta. Oscar Brand. John Lee Hooker. Suze Rotolo. Ratso. Stoner. Hammond. Feliciano. The club was truly home to American music history.
I'm happy to become witness to the most interesting collection of memories and tales I could think of. And I'm more than happy to call Delores a friend, too. She doesn't want me to set the record straight or make a fuss. She speaks matter-of-fact about her past. And you can't change the past. She was part of the first group to record 'Blowin.' Case closed. Robert was at the recording session and was happy to share it with his friends. I think Dylan said it best in that Super Bowl commercial: You can't fake original.