Saturday, December 10, 2016

Let's trade Nobel for Nobility

Our man, Israel Goodman Young will attend tonight's Nobel prize banquet held in honor of the 2016 winners. 

As the story below says: Izzy is himself. Rrcognition in the New York Times in his 89th year is nice but reasons for the decades of praise heaped upon him by his famous friends cannot be summed up in even a lengthy article. His heart is gold. His selfless support for the artist of Greenwich Village can hardly be explained by a dying "newspaper" but at least they tried. More attention should be paid to his deeds. 

And more attention should be paid to Mr. Dylan's body of work. Yes. EVEN MORE. Awarding a prize 55 years too late does not excuse them and I'm eager to hear the "statement" Mr. Bob gives them tonight. I'm sure it will be graceful despite the fact that the Nobel committee has discredited themselves in recent years by rewarding warmongers and charlatins. Good for Bob Dylan that he shouldn't go outta his way. 

But I am enormously happy that Izzy will be there in tux and tails tonight. This prize can be partially claimed by him and he has lived to see the day. Viva Izzy!

I am fortunate to call Izzy my friend and have been lucky enough to read some of his journals before the Library of Congress aqcuired them. In time, the world will know that it is Izzy who deserves all awards and prizes in poetry and prose and all things Folk. 

~Bob P


Settled in Sweden, the Man Who First Booked Dylan
Israel Young, known as Izzy, at his store in Stockholm. Mr. Young arranged Bob Dylan’s first concert in New York City in 1961.

DECEMBER 7, 2016
STOCKHOLM — Bob Dylan won’t be visiting Sweden this week to accept the Nobel Prize in Literature, though he has sent a speech in his absence. The news of his no-show at the ceremony on Saturday disappointed fans — as well as one resident here who has old ties to rock’s poet laureate: Israel Goodman Young, the man who gave Mr. Dylan his first New York concert.
Mr. Young was the folk enthusiast who made possible the $2 tickets to Mr. Dylan’s Nov. 4, 1961, gig at Carnegie Chapter Hall; only about 50 people attended, but the event has earned its place in rock ’n’ roll history as Mr. Dylan’s first big break.
Mr. Young has lived in Sweden for more than 35 years and, at 88, takes a bus and a train every day to reach his Folklore Centrum in the Södermalm neighborhood of Stockholm. Part performance space, part treasure trove of memorabilia, this modest shop could be mistaken for an old living room, with dust blanketing the used hardcovers lining the shelves. This emporium is his second act; its first iteration on Macdougal Street was the epicenter of Greenwich Village’s 1960s folk music scene.
Mr. Young, known as Izzy, said that he didn’t regret being associated with that seminal show, but that he wished people’s memories of his career went beyond it.

Bob Dylan “is the only thing people remember me for,” he said with a shrug as he recounted their relationship one recent afternoon at his store.
Mr. Dylan was a regular customer at Mr. Young’s original Folklore Center, and his little-known song “Talking Folklore Center” described the lure of the place.
“His voice was like a bulldozer and always seemed too loud for the little room,” Mr. Dylan wrote of Mr. Young in his 2004 memoir, “Chronicles.” “Izzy was always a little rattled over something or other. He was sloppily good-natured. In reality, a romantic.”
Two years ago, when John Schulman, a book collector in Pittsburgh, sought rare archives documenting the 1960s New York folk scene, he contacted Mr. Young to see if he would sell some items he had collected — perhaps books, manuscripts, photographs or tape recordings — to the Library of Congress.
But then, a friend of Mr. Young’s intervened.
“I said, listen, that’s not what’s valuable here,” recalled Edward Bromberg, who first met Mr. Young in Stockholm more than 30 years ago. Mr. Bromberg told Mr. Schulman of Mr. Young’s diaries, which included details from that folk scene that are otherwise inaccessible. “He’s the Samuel Pepys of the Village,” Mr. Bromberg said.

Mr. Young, around 1960, at his Folklore Center at 110 Macdougal Street in Greenwich Village.

Mr. Young’s journals are a mix of poetry, anxiety, ramblings and notes on just about everyone who came through his store — and just about everyone did.
In one entry, Mr. Young describes traveling with the music manager Albert Grossman to Canada in 1962, where he heard Joni Mitchellsing for the first time and invited her to play in New York. In another, he writes of a young Tim Buckley humbly hesitating to accept payment after a performance at the Folklore Center, eventually taking the money, only to spend it on a cab ride home.
Mr. Young sold his archives to the Library of Congress for an undisclosed sum, and they are now being sorted and cataloged at the library’s American Folklife Center; eventually, they will be made at least partly available online. In addition to the diaries, they include tape recordings, including one of a 20-year-old Patti Smith reading poetry, as well as homemade posters Mr. Young drew.
Mr. Young, a native New Yorker, credits his lengthy career in music to a random encounter with dance. When he was in his 20s, he had planned to take a date stargazing. After the skies turned overcast, she suggested that they attend a square-dancing class. “Within three or four weeks, I was the best one in the room,” he recalled proudly.
From there, Mr. Young began reading folk poetry and hanging out in the like-minded circles then brewing around the Village. He built a small mail-order business selling folk books he collected.
The Folklore Center poster for Bob Dylan’s 1961 Carnegie Hall performance.

In 1957, a friend told him about a shop for rent; if he wanted to sell books, he might like his own store. But the owner wanted a $400 cash deposit immediately.
Mr. Young scraped together the money and ran to 110 Macdougal Street, where he signed the lease. He became known for his loud, brash persona, but also for his big heart and genuine interest in artists and their work.
Mr. Young sold books and music on everything folk, but he would let customers stay for hours without pressuring them. He would also organize small concerts at the back of the store.

“He was just very generous, which went along with the communal spirit of the neighborhood,” said Stephen Petrus, an author of “Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival.”
Mr. Young, Mr. Petrus said, was “happy to promote people, and he liked being the M.C. at a concert,” adding that “he wasn’t really looking for a profit.”
Images on a wall at Mr. Young’s Folklore Centrum in Stockholm.

Mr. Young estimates that he hosted around 1,000 concerts at or near the Folklore Center, including performances by Tom Paley, Mr. Buckley, Emmylou Harris and Ms. Mitchell.
Mr. Young has used the archive sale to keep his Stockholm center running. Brian Kramer, a friend who hosts a blues guitar course there, described him as “telepathically honest in a brutal but brilliant way.” He added, “But he’s exactly himself, and he loves music.”
His relatively quiet life in Sweden was interrupted in October, when the announcement of Mr. Dylan’s Nobel Prize had his phone ringing off the hook.
“People were calling Izzy’s, trying to see how they could get in touch with Dylan’s publicist,” Mr. Bromberg said.
At one point, Mr. Bromberg added, the Swedish Academy called Mr. Young for Mr. Dylan’s contact information — they were trying to notify him of his award.
Regrettably, Mr. Young said, he no longer had any.

Monday, November 21, 2016


My sincere THANKS to those who entered the contest. 

It was launched in August to encourage writers to pen a song of UNITY.

The rules were adjusted to allow ANY artist, not just duos or groups, to submit an entry.

I'm happy to announce the winner of the very first MIKE PORCO SONG INITIATIVE is:


Joe wins studio time to record his song and to make a VINYL pressing.

Stay tuned for more details on the release.
For now, here are Joe's lyrics.



Rod MacDonald, Joe Virga, Frank Christian, Guy Davis
at the Folk City at 50h Anniversary
June 7, 2010

Joe Virga

capo 2 = A
Intro: G Am D7 G
Let's light a candle for the old and insecure.
Let's light a candle for the homeless and the poor.
B7 C Em A
Let's light a candle for what we're living for.
Let's light a candle for love.

Let's light a candle for the children who were slain.
Let's light a candle for their parents who remain.
Let's light a candle for a world that's gone insane.
Let's light a candle for love.

G7 C
The simple act of lighting a candle.
Em D C
Shines a beacon in the dark.
Em B C C/G
There's not a sorrow we can't handle.
With faith burning in our hearts.

Let's light a candle for those who died in war.
Let's light a candle and lay down the sword.
Let's light a candle, peace is our reward.
And if there's a God above.
Then He would light a candle.
Bm C
I'm sure He would light a candle.
He would light a candle... with love.

Outro: G Am D7 G

Thursday, November 3, 2016

POSITIVELY PORCO teaser clip - Intro to PHIL OCHS

This is a small portion of rough cut 5.0 from the Folkumentary on Gerde's Folk City and my grandfather, Mike Porco. 
This is an audio teaser. The film, when complete, will certainly astound you and please the Folk gods. 
Thanks to Ratso Sloman, John P. Hammond, Sonny Ochs, Terre Roche, Alan Wasser and Dan Behrman (for providing Mike Porco's voice from 1979). Thanks to David Massengill and Elijah Wald (The Mayor of Macdougal Street)

go to:


Friday, October 28, 2016

Israel Goodman Young JOURNALIST


Eventually was converted into FOLK CITY after Izzy Young and Man-of-Mystery Tom Prendergast convinced MIKE PORCO to add a stage and a PA system to his humble red sauce Restaurant named Gerde's.

Below are some notes taken by Izzy between January and May 1960.

(NOTE the people showing up. Art and Paul AKA Tom and Jerry AKA Simon and Garfunkel) 

(Courtesy Dave Peller, Archivist)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


This past Sunday was the anniversary of Mike Porco's birth. He would have been 102.
Bob and I are still here on Earth, so I paid him a visit for my own sake.
I spent time at the Guthrie Center much of the weekend and made a 'deposit' which is a story for another day.
Afterwards, while I was taking in the sunshine outside across from the Guthrie Museum, a tour bus rolled by. 
A sign on the door said ''Closed today at 3:30 for private event'' which clearly meant Dylan was popping in. It was confirmed to me by Michael Chaiken of the DYLAN ARCHIVE fame that 'Bob' was coming over. 
So I waited. But…I got hungry and left. Sorry to have missed you, Bobby. 
I'm sure Dylan felt the PORCO energy lingering in the museum when he came through. I sure noticed him later that evening when we were in the same room at the Brady Theater. A lovely time was had by 4,200 eager listeners. 

Here's a sample of the sighting:

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Joan Baez FULL Concert Oct 13, 2016

Joan Baez

Here's Joan's show from October 13th
The day our friend Bob was declared winner of the
Nobel Prize.

Mike Porco would have a lot to say about it.

Ms. Baez was kind enough to
meet and greet outside the venue.

The footage and audio are raw. The show was
100% awesome but I sometimes let the camera
sit on my lap.
I hope you enjoy what you see.
If you want better, go see Joan Baez in person.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

NYC's Folk Music Director OSCAR BRAND

I was fortunate to meet and speak with Oscar on a few occasions. I was able to thank him for helping my Grandfather make Gerde's Folk City what it became. Oscar was the City's authority- quite literally- on Folk Music at the time of Gerde's Restaurant's conversion from Wine and sauce shop into ''New York's Center of Folk Music.'' Oscar helped Mike Porco weed out talent and create a crowd around the best acoustic entertainment Washington Square had to offer

Here's an excerpt from a radio broadcast from at Gerde's when Israel G. Young was booking the FIFTH PEG:

Ed Herlihy:….''We take you back to New York's first Folk Music cabaret Gerde's- G-E-R-D-E and our reporter at the club…''

Sean Fitzpatrick: This is Sean Fitzpatrick and I'm talking to Oscar Brand, an expert on Folk music….and Oscar we're wondering if this is the beginning, well, it looks like the beginning for Folk music's spreading to the general populace.

Oscar Brand: Well, I'm hoping so. I think that the best way to make people learn about Folk music is to let them hear Folk music….and if this club is successful in the way that other clubs around the country have been successful, I will be a very happy, grateful and fulfilled young man.

Reporter: Thank you, Oscar Brand.

Oscar: It's a pleasure to talk to you even if I don't know what I'm talking about! (laughter)

~ Recorded January 1960,
The Fifth Peg at Gerde's
11 W. 4th St.

Oscar Brand

MORE on Oscar Brand's incredible career here:

Saturday, September 3, 2016

JAKOB DYLAN and the Wallflowers in Bearsville

September 2, 2016

PORCO and DYLAN 2016

In the FLESH

Bob Porco, Jakob Dylan
(photo Susan Mayorga)

Mike Porco, Bob Dylan 1980
(photo Vanessa Galanti)

THE WALLFLOWERS rocked Bearsville Theater. 
Connections were made.
That is all.
Carry on.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

HASHTAG your way to freedom with a #SONGCONTEST

Sept 1 2016
HOMELAND SECURITY to …ahem, oversee the 2016 elections.
NOT a Nazi headline from 1933.
For those who fear the installment of EITHER presidential candidate, your worries are over!
Das Homeland will now count, or maybe NOT count our votes for us. Thank goodness I don't vote. Whew

must be seen to sense our mutual situation

Our RIGHT TO POSSESS opinions as citizens, however, is nearing extinction if we let them get away with much more of this shit.

#savefreespeech #FREESPEECH #notin2016 #diebold #dieboldmachines #stolenelections #censorship #disenfranchised #presidentialSelections #CFR 

The Protest of Homeland stealing the vote

If you trust them, I have a bridge nearby to show you.

Isreal Goodman Young saved free speech once
(photo Dave Peller)


A #SONGCONTEST I have running…?

Vinyl pressing of your song is the prize.

conceptualized for the purpose of promoting #UNITY and #FREESPEECH  

Unity for all people, not just the psychopaths running 'things.'

Mike was my grandfather and is well remembered by artists in #WashingtonSquare for supporting the talents of the best musicians to ever stroll through #GreenwichVillage. 

The rules for the contest are posted here:

Begun on August 7, the rules were limiting to bands or duos only.
NOW I'm calling out and including
ANY musician with a shred of human pride and dignity
to write an original song and inspire communication between the People. 

When the citizens talk, 'They' lose.
The day we come together is the day WE win.

A future of peace, love, unity and a whole lotta music sounds nice. Make it happen.

ALL musicians keen on saving and preserving #FREESPEECH in the USA are eligible to write a song about it.

Use it or lose it.

Song must be:
1. Original
2. About #UNITY

Send demo to
Winner announced at 
Winner gets to press their song onto

Get to work