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.
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.
By REBECCA ROSMAN
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.
DAVID GAHR, VIA LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
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.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
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.
CASPER HEDBERG FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
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.